No matter how many reboots of CSI, Law & Order and NCIS are produced, crime shows tend to take place in major cities. In the case of Amazon Prime Video’s new original series, Vindication, a team led by Detective Travis (Todd Terry) solves crimes and mysteries in the small town of East Bank, Texas.
The show was actually filmed in various North Texas cities, including Flower Mound, Waxahachie, Cedar Hill, Mansfield, Kennedale, Arlington and Burleson. Director Jarod O’Flaherty sought to tell stories and replicate scenarios that tend to take place away from larger urban areas.
“It’s a unique spin on crime genres,” he says. “It’s not based in Los Angeles or New York. You get different kinds of people and different kinds of stories.”
Before becoming a series, Vindication began as a short film. The original version received high praise at film festivals, and fans of the film began to demand more. O’Flaherty shopped the pitch to several networks and streaming outlets before eventually landing on Amazon, and then sought out Dallas-based creatives to help him bring his vision to life. One of these is Dallas-based actor Matt Holmes.
“When we were casting for our second episode, I looked on some social media sites that had listings of actors,” O’Flaherty recalls. “I saw (Holmes) on there, a head shot and a pose, and I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in auditioning for this role we have for episode 2?’ He sent an audition tape, and it was great, but for that particular role, we had someone else who was just a little notch above what we needed for the role.”
Although Holmes was not selected for the role O’Flaherty originally had in mind for him, O’Flaherty was still convinced that Holmes was a good fit for Vindication and decided to write a role specifically for him.
“I had Matt on tape. I had seen what he can do and I thought, ‘This guy is really good, I’d like to get him in this series if we get to do more episodes,’” O’Flaherty recalls. “Once we got the order for more episodes and sat down to do the writing, I came up with this idea for a character, Kevin, who works in the police department.”
“Kevin is very work-oriented,” says Holmes of his character. “He is shy and he is a crowd pleaser. He is good at what he does, but he doesn’t communicate very well. When he develops an interest in another character, then he begins to show more personality.”
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Production for the first season of Vindication took place over the course of 18 months. During that time, Holmes says the cast and crew became family to him.
“(O’Flaherty) is a great director,” Holmes says. “He has a good vision of what he wants and he can connect and communicate his ideas with his actors. The company was great and they were passionate about the project, which made it really fun.”
While Holmes has acted in some of Dallas’ Shakespeare in the Park events, as well as other internet skits and short films, Vindication is his first long-term project. He is proud to be part of the series, as he believes it has a different approach on crime shows.
“It touches on a little bit of everything,” Holmes says of the show. “Each episode deals with different types of crime. You’ve got the manhunt, you’ve got the missing person. And each character is able to let their personality shine through as they handle these cases. It’s not overly gory or aggressive. You can sit down in the family and not worry about curse words or really violent scenes, but we still get those stories out there.”