Scott Ryan ‘Inbetween’ Good Guy and Bad Guy on FX

A new season of Mr Inbetween begins on FX Sept. 12. The dark comedy is set in Australia, and it’s a fun one to watch. Scott Ryan plays Ray Shoesmith. Ray “takes care of people,” in FX’s words--he collects debts, roughs people up, and is, at times, a hitman. He’s also the father of a young girl.

Season one had six episodes and season two has eleven. “Ray's work and personal life begin to collide and he finds himself struggling to keep both sides of his life from imploding,” said FX.

Ryan and I spoke about why people like Ray. He’s a goon, wrapped up in all sorts of shady business. But we root for him anyway. Ryan said we’ve all got some Ray in us--we all want to slap somebody sometime.

While it’s a vastly different series, I likened Mr Inbetween to Curb Your Enthusiasm. After all, we all can relate when Larry is calling someone out for their bad behavior. Exec producer/director Nash Edgerton called the comparison “a huge compliment.” He and Ryan said Curb, and Seinfeld, and Tarantino’s films, are a major influence. I saw a bit of Reservoir Dogs--Mr. Pink, Mr. Orange and the boys chatting in the diner--as Ray and a colleague discuss the actors who’ve played James Bond in episode three.

The guys said the series, which shoots in Australia, was initially going to shoot in the States. They said they may in the future shoot scenes in the U.S., but it’s an Aussie production for now.

Ryan directed the film The Magician, which was about a Melbourne hitman. It came out in 2005, and inspired the show.

Edgerton hinted at some back and forth early on as to who would play Ray in the series. Edgerton had one guy, and one guy only, in mind for the job. To him, it was a “deal-breaker” if Ryan didn’t play Ray.

Granted, he’s a relatively unproven actor, but Ryan is “very real in any scene you put him in,” said Edgerton.

Ryan promises a darker season this time around, with a deeper dive into what makes Ray tick. “It’s more of a character study,” he said. “It’s a look at why this guy is the way he is, more explanation of his character.”

Ryan and Edgerton will hardly be partying when the premiere episode airs Thursday. They’re still finishing up season two. “We won’t be celebrating,” said Ryan. “We’re still working.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.