In A&E's gritty drama The Cleaner, Benjamin Bratt plays William Banks, a combination private eye and therapist who helps addicts get clean. Before the therapy begins, William and his team use surveillance methods to infiltrate the addicts' worlds to discover the truth about their addictions. From there, they "extract" the addicts, convincing them to leave their drug-infused lifestyles.
The incredible truth is that William is based on a real person. For nearly 20 years, Warren Boyd has used his own "whatever it takes" methods and intimate knowledge of the minds of addicts—he was addicted to drugs and alcohol for years—to get his clients clean. As co-executive producer of The Cleaner, Warren's personal and professional experiences are the show's foundation.
Fritz Lenneman: So are you in Los Angeles right now?
Warren Boyd: I'm in Los Angeles, on my way to LAX to go to New York to extract someone.
FL: Wow, so you definitely still work an addiction interventionist. William Banks' methods—and yours—are described as being "by any means necessary." What exactly does that mean?
WB: "By any means necessary" is a pretty broad stroke. It causes a few people's eyebrows to go up. But I think of "any means necessary" as more of what I'm willing to do. I'm not willing to break the law, it's not like that, but there are always means in which to get things done, and I have to be very creative. I don't have a plan—I'm going to New York right now, and I don't have a plan about what I'm going to do with this individual when I get there, the approach and everything else. I don't have a plan because if I set a plan in place, it's not going to work. Everything is going to take a left and a right, and it's going to go upside down on me, so I have to do it from the hip. I have to think on my feet and just do it from the hip. "By any means necessary" lends to: Am I going to have to call an investigation team to see what's going on around here? Am I going to call a med tech because are we in that sort of a condition where I would need somebody who is, like, paramedically qualified? Do I need to use other means like a family member? Do I need to use the police? What do I need to do to get this person? Do I need to pretend I'm somebody else? What do I need to do? That's in the pocket of "by any means necessary." Whatever it takes and being as creative as possible. And so the show is kind of easy for me to roll through, because lots of times things aren't what they appear. So my team can't be what they appear. We have to sometimes infiltrate the world in order to get someone out of that world. So a lot of those stories are true to their words.