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Russell Hornsby Explains Those Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone Collector Premiere Plot Twists

[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the series premiere of Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone Collector. Read at your own risk!]

Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty and Lincoln Rhyme has the Bone Collector as his nemesis in the new NBC procedural drama Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone Collector. The new series shares its source material with the 1999 thriller The Bone Collector, and both are based on Jeffrey Deaver’s 1997 novel, which shares the movie’s title. If you’ve seen the pilot, which premiered Friday night, you know Lincoln’s hubris helped to create and enrage this murderous villain.

“Oftentimes, when you consider yourself the most brilliant person in the room, you don’t suffer fools,” star Russell Hornsby told TV Guide in a recent phone interview regarding his title character. “Anybody with a lesser mind or an inferior mind is a burden to you. Lincoln, being this savant with a photographic memory and total recall in a lot of respects, looks at anybody who is lesser than him as unworthy of his time and of his presence. He looks at the man who will become the Bone Collector (played by actor Brian F. O’Byrne) and says, ‘You’re not worthy of a conversation because I solved the exercise before you did. So I’m superior to you.’ But that’s also his human frailty and is to his detriment.”

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In the first installment of Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, the former forensics expert is seen trying to leave the Bone Collector in his past, after becoming paralyzed when he falls into a trap set by the serial killer. Rhyme is no longer trying to find the infamous serial killer after the accident — until a transit cop named Amelia Sachs (Arielle Kebbel) discovers a corpse that is staged the same way the Bone Collector tended to stage his victims’ dead bodies. Lincoln leans on Amelia’s mental and physical resourcefulness as the two team up to find their man. Hornsby teased that Lincoln and Amelia will work together to solve more cases each week, and that their pursuit of the Bone Collector will sometimes drive episodes and other times, serve as the secondary story.

“We’re basket weaving in a lot of ways,” he said. “There will be case-of-the-week elements with the Bone Collector being the B story or the C story and sometimes he will be the A story. He has a looming and constant presence. In order for us to create a series that lasts three to five years, which is our hope, there have to be other cases for us to solve. Sometimes the Bone Collector comes out and shows himself and sometimes he runs and hides. While he’s hiding, we will pay notice to those other cases in those moments.”

Unlike the book and the movie, the television version of Lincoln has a secret family he’s hiding from the Bone Collector, which was also revealed in the pilot. Interestingly enough, the Lincoln character is white in the book. This changed when Academy-Award winning actor Denzel Washington played Lincoln on the big screen and Hornsby took the role on the show. At the end of the premiere episode, we also learned that the small-screen Lincoln will become more physically active, whereas the film character spent most of the movie confined to a hospital bed in his home.

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“The beautiful thing is from Episode 2 on, they put me in a wheelchair so I’ll be a lot more mobile for the rest of the series,” Hornsby revealed. “And that will make things a lot more dynamic. Obviously, looking at this story 20 years later, the technology is greater in terms of computers and gadgets. So we’re really using that to our advantage. I went to the acting conservatory at Boston University and part of our training was dealing with Shakespeare. And what they say when you’re working with Shakespeare, is let the words inform what you do. So what you’re really doing is practicing stillness and that’s what I’m doing as Lincoln. And I’m black man so I’m doing it with swag.”

Creating a wife and child (Jaidon Walls) for Lincoln and a sister (Courtney Grosbeck) for Amelia wasimportant too, Hornsby said.

“It was important for context to raise the stakes,” Hornsby said. “This man still has something that he is protecting and something to lose. The stakes are higher when you have something to lose and it makes the dynamics of the show much more interesting for the audience.”

Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector airs Fridays at 8/7c on NBC.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)

Roslyn Ruff as Claire and Russell Hornsby as Lincoln Rhyme.

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