Galen Gering discusses what it’s like to play a daytime cop

You started out as an FBI agent, who transitioned to cop. Were you excited about playing a lawman? “The exciting thing about that, especially if you’re with the FBI, working undercover, and going up against some espionage, is that it’s got a James Bond kind of vibe. It’s very sexy, appealing and otherworldly. And maybe you’ve got some significant instruments and guns [to use]. So, sure, that’s exciting. At times, DAYS embraces that with different technology. Obviously, I quickly transitioned from the FBI to being part of the Salem police force. That’s great, too, because you’re in the middle of all the action. That’s one of the great things about being a cop.”

As a police detective, there’s no uniform involved. What are your thoughts on that? “Well, it’s, ‘Is it always a button-down [shirt] and a blazer? Can it just be a pullover?’ Sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s too casual.’ Or, ‘That’s too dressy.’ It depends on the storyline that you have. It’s definitely nice not to be in a polyester cop outfit and to have that flexibility.”

You wear a badge. Is your name on it? “It is. It’s an official Hernandez commissioner badge. It’s pretty legit, actually. It’s always funny when there’s a scene where somebody says, ‘What do you do?’ Then I’ll deftly whip my blazer back to reveal my badge.”

Did you do any research to play a cop believably? “I did, originally. One of my best friends was actually a detective in Long Beach. I would do ride-alongs with him. When I was on PASSIONS [as Luis], I was playing a cop, too. We had a bunch of specialists that would come in and teach us how to enter a room, how to hold a firearm, or how to cover another cop. There was definitely a bit I had to learn.”

Is it ever frustrating that soap cops rarely solve crimes? “It used to be something that bothered me more a long time ago. I’d think, ‘Oh, my God. We’re so inept. We can’t bring these people to justice.’ Then I had a simple realization. In theory, most of the people committing them, probably 99 out of 100 on the show, should be locked up or would be locked up in the real world. But we wouldn’t be able to have a show in that case. Once I had that realization, I was like, so much of it is about the chase and the drama of, ‘If I do catch this person, can I put them away?’ Often times there’s going to be a loophole; there’s frustration and drama in that. I think that maybe he could catch a few more people, but it seems like the department has been a little better of late. They’ve pursued some crimes, and they’ve caught some people. I’m happy about that.”

Have you had any mishaps with prop guns or handcuffs? “We don’t do as much firing of guns as we used to or handling of guns. The handcuffs that we use are real. They file the teeth all down on them, so when you [close them] they won’t hold. What ends up happening is you turn the perp around, put the handcuffs on him, and they completely undo. You have to keep going, because you don’t want to stop the scene. In most of the scenes, after I’ve handcuffed someone, they come undone, so I’m holding them by the wrists and trying to pretend they’re on and really tight.”
Do you have the Miranda rights memorized? “Oh yeah. ‘You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney …’ I’ve known them for a long time. I never have to worry about them.”

What criminal do you think Rafe most wanted to bring to justice? “Probably Clyde. Rafe had this emotional connection to Jordan. Knowing that Clyde was an awful person on top of all the crimes he committed and that he abused Jordan was troubling to Rafe for sure.”
What has been Rafe’s proudest moment as a cop? “Getting Gabi out of jail or working to get her out of jail, because she’s his sister. She’s his family.”
What has been Rafe’s most embarrassing/disappointing moment as a cop? “Billy Flynn [Chad] and I will talk about this one. It was when we were trying to save Abigail. Ben had her at a cabin, and there was a giant snowstorm. Rafe was like, ‘You can’t get through.’ But Chad said, ‘I’m going to just go myself.’ He stormed out, got there and was able to save the day. That was very disappointing to me. When you work on a case for a long time, you want to see it through.”

Have you ever heard from real-life officers about your portrayal? “When Rafe was with the FBI, there was a woman in Florida whose husband used to watch with her and he was in the FBI. That was pretty cool. They would say, ‘Your attitude and banter so reminds me of these guys.’ They said it was very lifelike.”

What do you like about working on the Salem PD set? “I like that it’s pretty big, and there are a couple of desks in it. You can perch on them. It’s got a coffeemaker, so there’s coffee there. The prop guys do a good job with that. There are files around, so you can make it look like you’re doing some sort of work. It’s a pretty cool set. I like it better than my office, which is so small. The desk takes up such a huge part of it.”

Is there anything cool on your desk or interesting in the drawers? “I’ve got my commissioner plate on it, which is pretty cool, and various stationery. There are old [floppy discs] and relics like old calculators that you would just never see anymore. That’s pretty funny. It’s a pretty antiquated setup. Our drawers are usually full of things like N95 masks, water bottles and old scripts. Those are the things that you’re most likely to find.”