I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to making it in this career. At the end of the day, it comes down to instinct.
If you’re not in the dark about, well, In the Dark, it only takes one name: Casey Deidrick. For the uninitiated, the series kicked off in 2019 with Murphy (Perry Mattfeld), a hard-drinking and hard-living blind woman in the throes personal woes, investigating crimes with her very own Scooby Gang, including her guide dog, Pretzel, and her ex, Max (Deidrick). Subsequent seasons unspooled with a long list of other hijinks, and now the fourth and final season is upon us. The CW’s “little series that could” has remained one of television’s under-appreciated gems, which also happened to spawn a great role for one of the most likable actors out there— the aforementioned Deidrick.
In the interest of getting to know the actor a whole lot better, we spent the day with Deidrick as he cruised around Mulholland Drive on his motorcycle. This is Second Nature: Anthem’s latest ongoing series that’s intended to help dispel feelings of distant unfamiliarity with our select interview subjects by burrowing deep into their lesser-known, second—not secondary—passions.
The final season of In the Dark launches on June 23rd on The CW.
How are you doing, Casey?
I’m doing great, man. It’s a beautiful day here in sunny California. It’s so good to be back home. I was in freezing Toronto for the last six months. It’s nice to catch my breath and be around friends.
I haven’t told you this yet, but Second Nature was actually inspired by you. I’d been following your motorcycling posts on Instagram, and then I read your interview for Vulkan magazine from some time ago. In that piece, you were about to get your license and wanting to get a bike of your own. You also said that doing solo cruises in Malibu was a fantasy of yours. How long had you been holding onto this fantasy for?
Motorcycles have always been an interest of mine. I always had friends that were into motocross as a child. It’s just that I never officially got onto a bike. Once the pandemic started, I had nothing but time on my hands, as we all did, so I signed up for a course. I took the test, which I failed the first time around. But I got it the second time. Then I ended up getting connected with Indian Motorcycle and they’ve been amazing to me. They’ve been giving me bikes for the last three years. I think getting a motorcycle has just been my way of connecting back to myself and doing something for me, you know? Especially with filming, being away from home, friends and family, you kind of lose yourself a little bit sometimes. It’s been a way for me to connect with friends, too, because I have a lot of friends out here that ride. Whenever I’m not riding by myself, I’ll ride with them. It’s something that I look forward to doing now as part of my daily thing.
It sounds effortless.
Yeah. When I was filming, especially in Toronto, I didn’t have my bike with me. But whenever I came back, I was always riding. I’m always looking for excuses to ride, even if I need to go to the grocery store to pick something up. I’ll bring my backpack and just hop on the bike. My really good friend, Brock [O’Hurn], and I like to ride in Malibu together. It’s one of those things I didn’t know was missing in my life. Now that I have it, I couldn’t imagine my life without riding bikes.
What do you find that gives you that most other things don’t?
I think the adrenaline. I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie. I grew up skateboarding and I’ve always been a daredevil when it comes to that kind of stuff. Motorcycling is dangerous, especially in California. You’re dancing a thin line between life and death on a bike so I do get a rush from it. I ride very safely, but even the safest riders are susceptible to accidents out here. I don’t ride recklessly, but I do still get that adrenaline rush.
I suppose getting a sidecar for Nanuk [Casey’s Siberian husky] is out of the question then.
[laughs] I think it’d be awesome to ride around town and have him in there. But he gets pretty freaked out in the car… I don’t know how he’d react to that. I’d be willing to try.
With a doggie helmet.
A little helmet with some Doggles. I mean, people do it.
We obviously didn’t quite make it out to Malibu for our photoshoot, but we did end up on Mulholland Drive, which has lore all its own. Do you normally like to ride up there?
I do go up in the hills because I live so close to it. Whenever Malibu feels far or if it’s getting late, I’ll do Mulholland Drive. I know it like the back of my hand now. It’s scenic. It is kind of iconic. I definitely get some old school vibes up there. I get to feel like James Dean for the day. [laughs]
Speaking of James Dean, I was in Vegas not too long ago and checked out Zak Bragan’s The Haunted Museum for the first time. Have you heard of this place?
No. What is that?
It’s like a mausoleum for kooky artifacts, and I bring it up because they have the transaxle from James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder on display. The narrative is that the thing is cursed, right? They have some bonkers stuff in there, if you’re into that kind of spooky stuff…
Oh my god. I feel like I’m gonna be visited by James Dean’s ghost if I do that. That sounds crazy.
He famously named his car Little Bastard. What about you? Is that a thing riders do?
I think they do. But I don’t ever want to get too attached to my bike since I get new ones every year. Naming it, I think it will get me too attached. I just got their new one a week before we shot.
What’s the model?
The Scout Rouge.
It’s a beautiful bike.
It is. I’m really anxious to see how our photos turned out with this new bike.
So how did you get affiliated with Indian Motorcycle?
Mutual friends. I have a buddy named Pierson [Fodé] and he was already a part of their team. I was talking to him about bikes in general like, “What bikes do I go with? Do I go with the classic Harley or Indian?” Essentially, Indian came before Harley-Davidson. Indian is the OG. So he was telling me about his experience with them because he’s been riding with them. Then I ended up speaking with Sean MacDonald, who’s in charge of the distribution for influencers and talent. I told him I was very interested in riding and representing the company. I ended up getting a bike shortly after that. I fell in love with the company and the bikes. I don’t know if I could ever go with another company after this because I love Indian so much.
So let’s talk about In the Dark. This show has marked a big chapter in your career. Having spent so much time up in Toronto to shoot, did it become like a second home over the years?
Absolutely. I spent the last four years there. For season three, we were there for almost eight months due to Covid, and as I mentioned earlier, I was there for six months this last season. The last two years were definitely very challenging because Toronto is the city to have had the longest lockdown. Every time we would leave Toronto, we had to quarantine for two weeks coming back into the country. So I spent a good amount of my time there alone. The only time you would really leave the house would be to go to work or grocery shopping. Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse places I’ve ever been to. The food there is absolutely insane. When things are open in Toronto, it’s amazing! [laughs] It’s an insanely fun and cool place to be. We also shot the series at pretty miserable times in Toronto, which is during the winters. Their winters last six months, from December all the way to early May. It’s absolutely freezing. It’s snowing and raining all the time. You barely see the sun. Toronto will always have a special place in my heart and it is like a second home, but I will also say that the last couple of years have been very challenging living there. I just think that affects a person’s mental stability. It’s a relief being back home in LA to be honest, enjoying the sun and being able to ride again. We had a really good run on this show. I think four years is a great amount of time to be creative with a big team on something like that.
Was Nanuk there to keep you company at least?
I had him there with me for season three, but unfortunately, he got very sick before I left for season four. I did not feel safe traveling with him so I left him here.
Did he ever get to meet Levi [the golden retriever who plays Pretzel on the show]?
He has a few times. Sometimes I would bring Nanuk to set and they would have brief interactions. But when Levi is working on set, he’s very much in work mode.
How does it feel now that the show is coming to an end?
It’s a lot of mixed feelings. It’s a very bittersweet ending. We’ve become family, especially over the last two years because we couldn’t hang out with other people outside of the show [due to Covid protocol]. We grew as friends because we were all going through the same thing and it was something that we could relate to with one another. The relationships and memories are always going to stay with me. But at the same time, I feel like I’m ready to move on to other things I’d like to do in my career and in my life. That’s where the bittersweet part comes in. I’m really sad not to be able to see everyone on a daily basis like I have, but I’m also excited for the next chapter.
I think any creative person understands what it’s like to have a clean slate again. It’s joyous.
Absolutely. You’re always trying to grow, waiting for that next creative outlet that will fulfill you. We’re never satisfied. I’m always trying to better myself, trying to learn every day, and I’m just waiting for the next challenge that comes along in whatever role that may be. This role taught me so much about myself. I challenged myself so much in this role. I put so much of myself into it.
Previously, you’d described Max as a mysterious guy. What has come into focus for you?
I think Max had a very troubled childhood, especially with his mother. He was living out his childhood traumas through money laundering and toxic relationships, especially with Murphy. Over the course of these four seasons, we see him grow into a very strong-minded person, and it’s the result of the push and pull that these two characters have. He finally stands up to her in season three. He is tired of her shit, basically. And I think these characters are soulmates. The new season is about these two characters dealing with their baggage, yet still loving each other and finding a way to make it work. I think that’s something beautiful the show can teach all of us.
Did you know this would be the final season prior to shooting it?
I did not, no. But it’s a blessing any time a show gets another season. We didn’t know we were gonna get picked up for season two. We didn’t know we were gonna get picked up for season three. Then we got the early pick up for season four in the middle of shooting season three. I’m just happy I had the experience that I had. And I think the fans are gonna be in for a crazy ride this season. It’s going to hit people in the feels, it really is. It’s a very special season.
This is getting a bit more personal now, but you’ve spoken about having considered quitting acting in the past. I think it’s fairly common to have those peaks and valleys where the desire to continue is concerned. How have your feelings on that changed over the years?
I mean, I just found out last night that I didn’t get this new show I tested for. Of course I’m disappointed—I put a lot of time and effort into it. But that’s just the name of the game. That’s just how it is and it’s always been that way. I don’t think I could ever fully give up on acting because I need it. It’s my therapy. I’m sure a lot of actors feel the same way. I’m all about taking breaks, though. Right now, I’m enjoying myself. I’m enjoying the sunshine, riding, being with friends, being with my girlfriend, and enjoying the things I didn’t really get to have in the last six months when I was at the beck and call of the show, which is what I had signed up for and I was happy to do it. It’s just that I need a little bit of this down time to reset and reboot. Now I can take my time. I can read different scripts and see which characters I connect with, without taking jobs just for the paycheck. I want to create something that I’m really proud of and something that fulfills me.
There was another instance where you had remembered locking your younger self in your room for hours, watching the same movies over and over again. You can’t manufacture that kind of deep love for something. What you said felt so authentic. How old were you then?
I was probably doing that since I was seven, even younger maybe. I don’t know about you, but I know this about myself: I become very obsessive over things. If it’s a movie, I will watch it a hundred times until I know everything about it, until I know every line from the movie. And once I’m done with that obsessiveness, I will move on to the next thing, whether that be a song or a music video or whatever. I’ve just always been that way.
Do you think that might give you a leg-up in acting—that sort of obsessiveness?
It makes sense why I’m in the field I’m in. It makes a lot of sense to me why I’m doing this. I think you have to be obsessive in this career, if you’re gonna be told no on a daily basis, thousands and thousands of times a year, and still have the joy of walking into an audition or making self-tapes. I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have without it. I never had a plan b. I think I’ve always known this is what I wanted to do. I’m gonna obsess over this until I don’t wanna do it anymore. And when you have that mindset, I think you can make anything happen in this career—in any career. I’m not stopping anytime soon. I don’t know all the ingredients to being successful in this career, and a lot of actors out there probably think that I am successful. But I don’t consider myself successful because I’m not finished yet. I haven’t gotten that role yet where I’m like, “This is why I’ve given up everything—for this moment, for this character.” It’s crazy to me that I’m where I’m at and I’m very thankful to be working, but I’m still waiting for that role that will define why I’m doing this. And after that role, there’s gonna be another thing. It’s just a continuous cycle.
The next peak to scale.
I’m sure if there was math to any of this—to “making it”—there would be no mystery left, and you probably wouldn’t get the same adrenaline fix from it.
What’s the fun in knowing exactly how to do it? I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to making it in this career. At the end of the day, it comes down to instinct, it really does. It’s the tenacity to keep going and never giving up, as cliché as that sounds. It’s about not taking no for an answer because this is something I really love to do. And this is what I signed up for so there are certain things you just need to accept, which will make things go a little bit easier. That’s how it’s been for me. I’ve been pretty successful since I started on the soap opera [Days of Our Lives] and booking a show after that [Eye Candy]. And there were times when I didn’t work for six months to a year and it’s absolutely miserable. But those dark times are useful, too. I learned a lot about myself during those times and I wouldn’t be the actor I am today without those times.
There’s no end to this in the same way that you summit a mountain. Is that a comforting thought—that you’ll be in pursuit of something presumably forever—or a source of anxiety?
Why do you think Robert De Niro is still out there working? Al Pacino and the other greats? They’re not done learning. With every role that you take, you learn something new. You’re learning something new about yourself. You learn something that you didn’t know was possible within yourself. That’s one of the most amazing things about this career: you’re always surprising yourself. I’ve changed so much as an actor in these four years on In the Dark, it’s unreal. I’m a completely different actor—a different person. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s what I live for.