Inside The Interrogation Room with The Blacklist’s Piter Marek
Liz shattered Dr. Nik‘s heart by straying from their relationship and falling in love with her hired spy and babysitter turned bogus husband, Tom Keen. The doctor clearly holds a grudge against Liz yet he loves her enough to betray a dangerous man who takes no issue with dolling out healthy doses of revenge at just the slightest hint of betrayal.
The good doc is handsome, intense, very vulnerable and overwhelmed. His lingering affection for Liz has come at a monetary and personal price. Like Liz, he was thrown into the lion’s den and forced to bite off more than he could chew. Let’s face it, it’s not easy living in the shadow of “The Concierge of Crime”.
Actor Piter Marek brought Dr. Nik to life during the sophomore season of The Blacklist. He re-emerged in season three as a much more complicated character who is under the careful watch of Raymond Reddington.
Who is Piter Marek?
Follow me Inside The Interrogation Room as we clear away the “red” tape and get to the heart of The Blacklist’s Dr. Nik.
SP: It’s a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
PM: I write, I cook, and I also walk a dog.
SP: When did the acting bug first bite you?
PM: I would say it still bites me today like it did the first time. Acting is endlessly fascinating for me. I’m covered in bite marks!
SP: Do you have formal training? Where have you studied?
PM: I went to City University of New York. I studied at William Esper, Maggie Flannigan Studios and a few others over the last twenty years. But there’s nothing like on set experience such as readings, workshops, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. I’ve also been coaching actors for a few years which has been a tremendous teacher for my own work.
SP: What was your first “real” acting gig?
PM: “Christopher Columbus” in a third grade play but only because I was the only one to raise my hand when the class was asked, “Who wants to play Christopher Columbus?” I consider that a valid audition. I got the part!
SP: How did The Blacklist come to you?
PM: I had just finished a Broadway show called “Disgraced” and put myself on tape through my agent.
SP: Were you sought out for the part or did you seek the part of “Dr. Nik”?
PM: I always pretend that the writers seek me out for every audition but my agent may have submitted a tape of myself for the part of Dr. Nik.
SP: Have you acted with any member of the cast before The Blacklist?
PM: Coming up as a New York actor, Susan Blommaert (Mr. Kaplan) and I recognized one another but neither of us could remember from where. But we both agreed we had a great time. I’ve also done readings with Amir Arison over the years.
SP: You entered the scene in season 2 as Elizabeth Keen’s ex-boyfriend. That seems like a heavy load for an actor. Please tell us a little about your experiences taking on the role in season 2.
PM: The writers did a great job of making it very easy. Michael Watkins, John Terlesky & Anton Crooper were tremendously helpful in direction. Liz dumped Nik, smashed his heart into a million pieces and then calls him three years later for an insane favor. Nik would come at a price. Nik still loves her, and does some pretty crazy things for her. However, there is also a side to Nik that Liz might not have known about. He can be pretty intense.
SP: Did you know in advance that you would be returning for season 3?
PM: I was given what felt like a subtle blessing by two of the main cast after my first episode.
SP: What has it been like to act with James Spader? Specifically, a grieving Raymond Reddington.
PM: Inspiring! Mr. Spader wears many fedoras on The Blacklist and it was enlightening to observe someone at his level handle it all. As far as acting with James, he is an actor’s actor. He will give you a lot as an actor.
SP: How about acting with Ryan Eggold…what was that experience like?
PM: Ryan is a solid guy and actor. He’s very generous and keeps it real. There are only actors working hard on “The Blacklist” set.
SP: Is it your understanding that Liz cheated on Dr. Nik with Tom Keen? If so, how did that effect your portrayal of the character?
PM: Yup, Liz cheated! Nik definitely does not like Tom Keen at first but he sees how much Liz loves Tom. Nik is a gentleman but he’s strong. He calls them both out on their shit while Red is behind them, waiting on the gurney. In spite, I wanted to give Nik a vulnerability.
SP: Your character is currently at the center of the “is Liz really dead?” mystery on the show. What has that experience been like for you as an actor?
PM: It’s been great. I was so caught up with the material and shooting that it took Amir Arison had to point it out to me.
SP: Did you have to study up on medical procedures to effectively play the role?
PM: The set doctor was a great help in getting me caught up. I’ve played doctors before but nothing could have prepared me for what we were heading into with Liz giving birth and her death.
SP: What was your favorite experience as Dr. Nik?
PM: There have truly been so many, but I would say shooting one on one with James Spader in the “kill room” was top on the list.
SP: Do you have a favorite character other than your own on the show.
PM: Sweet spot for Mr. Kaplan. She really puts up with a lot of heat.
SP: Were you in any other movies or television shows?
PM: I’ve done some film and TV over the years. I have worked with some great people on shows like “Pan Am”, “Ugly Betty” and “NCIS”. I really like NBC shows and what they’re all about.
SP: Can you tell us about any future projects?
PM: I have some fun TV stuff coming up and I’m currently taking some downtime to finish writing a pilot.