Jamie Harris discusses Sergeant Dombey’s backstory in Carnival Row Season 2

Carnival Row -- Courtesy of Prime Video
Carnival Row -- Courtesy of Prime Video /

Jamie Harris was upped to series regular for Carnival Row Season 2. While he’s not in the first two episodes much, get ready for more of Sergeant Dombey.

The first two episodes of Carnival Row Season 2 are now available to stream on Prime Video. There are more episodes to come, and it means more time on some of the characters we’ve only just scratched the surface on.

Jamie Harris plays one of those characters. He’s certainly a racist when it comes to the fae folk, but there is a backstory to him. This is a man who is scared, and we all know fear leads to bigotry, racism, sexism, and more. That’s not an excuse. At no point am I giving Dombey a reason to be the way he is, but I am someone who loves psychology and understanding what makes people tick.

It turns out that Harris was worried that Dombey would be just the one note, and that’s something he didn’t really want to play.

"“On face value, he was rather one note, so I went to this wonderful acting coach…and I said to her ‘What do you think?’ And she said ‘there’s nothing more boring than playing a racist, but there’s nothing more interesting than finding out why he is what he is.’ And I ended up doing a lot of background work on Dombey.”"

Crafting a backstory for Dombey in Carnival Row Season 2

Jamie Harris created a backstory for his character. He wrote books about it (and I will say that I’d love to read them) but they were never guaranteed to be added into the series. There is a little more depth to the character.

"“It’s explored in much more detail, I think, in Season 2 than it was in Season 1. I actually ended up adoring that character. As cynical as he is…I found a lot of humor in him.”"

While that is the case, the backstory is needed on the screen. Would the writers agree?

"“What happened during COVID, there was a lot of downtime…what happened was Eric Oleson took over and called me up.”"

Olsen wanted to know if Harris had done the background and wanted the information that Harris thought was relevant for the storyline. That was then written into the show.

"“I’d done a whole family background on Dombey…and I sent him all this and he loved it and he put it into the show. I think it’s vital for the show to see the sins of your father coming down to the children.”"

The interactions between Philo and Dombey

There are many interactions between Harris’s Dombey and Orlando Bloom’s Rycroft Philostrate. They are certainly fun to watch, but were they fun to play out in the series?

"“That was one of the most fun scenes….It was great fun working with Orlando Bloom. I felt we’d done a lot of work on our characters, and that scene was very fun to explore. [It’s] very much a chess game between him and I in who can push whose buttons and who was in the right and who was in the wrong.”"

Harris did share that there are some changes in the relationship to come. After all, people grow and adapt. They see the world slightly differently after some events. Life experiences cause a change in perspective, and that’s something to come for everyone in the series. You can see it with Imogen as she sees The Pact for what it is now, and that plays out for everyone throughout Carnival Row Season 2.

Of course, acting alongside his brother, Jared Harris, came up in the interview. We also talked about upcoming projects, which also involved Jared and their other brother Damien. Damien wrote and directed one of the upcoming projects, so you’ll want to stay for the end of the interview to find out all about that.

Check out the full interview with Jamie Harris for Carnival Row Season 2 below:

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Carnival Row Season 2 airs Fridays on Prime Video.