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'American Odyssey' star Jake Robinson takes on New York activist role

Jake Robinson stars as Harrison Walters in

Jake Robinson stars as Harrison Walters in "American Odyssey." Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Compared to the fast-paced interwoven thriller "Traffic," "American Odyssey," which premieres on Sunday, is an ambitious and riveting ride focusing on global politics, military secrets and corporate corruption.

Three strangers -- a sergeant, a disenfranchised lawyer and a political activist -- seemingly have nothing in common, except that they've been hovering around an international military conspiracy.

At the heart of the story is Harrison, a 20-something New York City activist who demands the truth from the powers that be.

amNewYork spoke with Jake Robinson, who plays Harrison, about the series.

When did you decide you were going to make a real go of acting as a profession?

Truthfully, there was a show my junior year of college. We did Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" and I think that show is when I actually understood a little bit. I didn't really realize I was going to do television until I interned at NBC casting.

Did New York give you any inspiration starting out as an actor?

Definitely. What's great about New York is the diversity of the city. You can do anything or meet anyone at any given time in New York City. For someone who came from a suburb of Cincinnati, it was a big shock. I'm so grateful to have lived here because I think I would be a very different person if I had grown up my whole life in Cincinnati.

New York is the center of important protests. It seems like our generation is bringing back social movements through power in numbers.

What the show really asks at its core is "What kind of power do we have as individuals?" I think you're seeing people that are doing that in movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. People are out there and active more so than ever before. It's great to be able to do that on the show too. I don't think we associate with any one movement but to me it's a reflection of where society is at now.

What kind of environment do you think New York brings to the show?

It brings an incredibly diverse environment. We shot all over the city. Whether you're shooting out in Bowling Green or Fort Greene -- you can make use of any environment you want to. You can drive 40 minutes and you've got woods, mansions and oceans.

On TV: "American Odyssey" premieres on Sunday at 10 p.m. on NBC/4.


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