Aug 10, 2013

The Sentinel: Detective and Grad Student Find Love

If you discovered that police detective Jim Ellison (Richard Burgi, left) was living with an anthropology grad student named Blair Sandburg (Garrett Maggart, below), bringing him to work as a "police observer," and basically spending every waking -- and sleeping -- moment with him, what would you think?












What would anybody think?

Obviously, that Jim is a Sentinel, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer given the task of saving the world from paranormal evil, and Blair is his Watcher, and they're both heterosexual.










Apparently the producers didn't realize that gay people exist, so they had no idea that a gay subtext was possible.  Nobody in gay-free Cascade, Washington ever "mistakes" the duo for a gay couple at any time during the 65 episodes of The Sentinel (1996-1999).





But fans had no trouble identifying the passionate, physical buddy-bond as homoromantic.  Shipping became a main pastime, and thousands of fan fictions were posted.










The heavily-muscled, often-shirtless Richard Burgi got his start as a soap hunk, and played the doctor who thinks everything is "breathtaking" on Seinfeld.  In addition to The Sentinel, he's starred in One West Waikiki, 24, Judging Amy, The District, Point Pleasure, Desperate Housewives, and Body of Proof, usually as a cop, a heavy, or a muscle guy.  No gay characters.

Garret Maggart's slim, androgynous looks make it easier for producers to cast him as gay characters, on stage and on film.  His first role, in fact, was in the gay-themed Brothers, which starred his father, Brandon Maggart.  He's also appeared on Frasier, Days of Our Lives, CSI Miami, and the movie Vampire (2010).