NBC’s new fall drama The Player is all about taking risks and coming out on top – not unlike the Verizon IndyCar Series. A closer look at the show’s four main characters also reveals that they have a lot in common with some of IndyCar’s top drivers.
The Player focuses on Alex Kane, a former FBI agent turned Las Vegas security consultant who is drawn into a deadly game where the rich and powerful bet on his ability to stop crime. Alex is joined by the game’s representatives, the enigmatic Mr. Johnson and Cassandra, while also trying to keep his best friend and Vegas detective Cal Brown out of harm’s way.
It’s exactly the kind of show that IndyCar drivers would probably enjoy, and as you’ll see from our slideshow, they might feel like things are a bit familiar, too. Click through to see how The Player‘s characters match up with IndyCar’s finest.
The Player premieres Thursday, September 24 at 10 PM ET/PT on NBC.
For more on the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit the league’s website.
Alex Kane (Philip Winchester): Graham Rahal
The Player of “The Player,” Alex Kane (Philip Winchester, Strike Back) is an all-American guy who kicks a lot of ass, takes a lot of names, and does it all with a wisecrack and a winning smile. Cassandra might give him some clues, but he’s solving the problems all on his own. Graham Rahal has fought his own way to the top of the IndyCar championship standings as the only driver for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and also is never short of a pretty funny word or a good laugh. Both are guys you’d want to have a beer with, but not get in the way of, and both are in a position to win big.
Cal Brown (Damon Gupton): Sebastien Bourdais
Cal Brown (Damon Gupton, The Divide) is a dedicated LVPD detective who knows there’s something going on with his best friend Alex Kane. A down-to-earth guy, he just wants to put his head down and do his job well. That sounds a lot like KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who has ground out two wins this season while not making many headlines. And his teammate Stefano Coletti has spent his 2015 crashing into stuff, not unlike Alex Kane in The Player‘s pilot.
Cassandra (Charity Wakefield): Simon Pagenaud
As “The Dealer,” Cassandra’s (Charity Wakefield, Wolf Hall) works with Mr. Johnson to keep The Game moving, but also acts as Alex’s primary resource for every bet – and also has her own agenda. She’s calculating, unerringly calm and yet can be wickedly funny – not unlike Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud. Nicknamed “The Professor” for his brainy approach, Pagenaud always has his wheels turning and hardly ever seems to get ruffled. Now if only he could get a win.
Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes): Juan Pablo Montoya
Known as “The Pit Boss,” Mr. Johnson (Wesley Snipes, Blade) is half master of ceremonies and half enigma. Alex knows little about him except for that he’ll put you in your place when you step out of line. Johnson is a man of few words but they’re usually very on point, like current championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya. Neither Montoya nor Johnson mess around, and just as Montoya can drive almost anything, Johnson can appear as almost anyone. Both are working for the biggest organization in their worlds. And both only need to be referred to by their last names.