Clive Standen Brings a Particular Set of Skills to NBC’s New Action Drama Based On the Feature Films, "Taken"

NBC, Premieres Monday, Feb. 27, 10:00 PM ET

By Jeff Pfeiffer

There’s a moment in the first episode of NBC’s new action drama series Taken (premiering Monday) that should bring a smile to the faces of fans of the feature-film franchise on which the show is based: One bad guy, marveling at the fighting and shooting techniques of young Bryan Mills (Clive Standen), says to another, “I’ll tell you this — the kid’s got some skills.”

That line calls to mind the iconic utterance from the later-in-life Mills, as delivered by the film series’ star Liam Neeson, who coolly informed the villains of the first movie who have taken his daughter of his “very particular set of skills.” He then proceeded to demonstrate those skills — gleaned from his past as a special ops agent — by methodically kicking their asses on his way to getting his daughter back.

If you’ve ever wondered how the elder Mills got enough of those skills to run and fight his way through Europe even as a middle-aged man, this new prequel series should help show you.

The series — which costars Jennifer Beals and is executive produced by Luc Besson, who co-wrote and -produced the original films — portrays the Neeson character decades earlier as a 30-something man.  

“At the end of the day,” Standen explained, “[Mills’] only real skill that he’s mastered  is his forward momentum, this desire to protect people. When most people panic and freeze in situations of conflict, he goes forward.”

Some of Mills’ skills are on display right away, and some of Standen’s own particular set of skills came into play in this action-oriented role.

“I’ve been doing Muay Thai boxing since I was 13 years old, and tumbling, and a lot of parkour and things, and I haven’t used that, and I’ve never wanted to because I have no desire to be the next Jason Statham or anything like that,” Standen said. “It needs to be in the real world for me. It has to be a real character. I can’t watch someone who’s jumping off walls, spin-kicking people. It has to be set in some kind of reality.”