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The Advocate talks to Jonathan Scarfe about his role as a gay law clerk on TNT’s “Raising the Bar”

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The second season of TNT’s Raising the Bar premieres on Monday and among the cast members returning is Jonathan Scarfe who plays conflicted law clerk Charlie Sagansky, a character who came out of the closet at the end of season.

The Advocate.com’s Brandon Voss chatted with Scarfe about what’s in store for his character and his feelings about playing a gay man on TV. Here are a few excerpts:

Advocate.com: For the benefit of those who missed season 1, why did Charlie stay in the closet for so long?
Jonathan Scarfe: Charlie’s career aspirations are to become a judge, and he was concerned that being out would slow down the process of getting on the bench. He got some encouragement from Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s character, who basically helped him see that he was lying to his friends and that he had to be true to himself. And he told him that there are gay judges out there, so being gay is not going to make it impossible for him to go down that path. When Charlie did come out, his peers were completely fine with it.

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As a straight actor, did you have any hesitations in taking the role for fear of getting typecast?
Oh, that doesn’t occur to me at all. I look pretty much like a leading man, but I play characters all the time. I’ve always struggled with the fact that I get brought in for the lead guy, but then I’m always a little too offbeat for them, so they want me to play the psycho, the weirdo, or Jesus — something outside the box. And I’m a second-generation actor, so it never occurred to me that playing a gay character would ever be a bad thing.

You played Greg Louganis’s boyfriend Keith in the 1997 TV movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, which starred Mario López as Louganis. What was it like to play Mario’s love interest?
It was hilarious. Yeah, how weird is that? Two times that I’ve played a gay character and it’s been opposite someone from Saved by the Bell? Mario’s a very, very sweet guy, but he always struck me as more of a jock than an actor. I don’t know what else to say, because I don’t want to say anything bad about the guy. [Laughs] Actually, the best part of that job was getting to meet Greg Louganis, because he was a lovely guy.

FILE UNDER: Television

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