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With all the super-heroes to be found in film and TV shows, it would be interesting to know which superpower you, dear reader, would want to possess if you could choose one.
Although I could choose to have a skeleton made from adamantium like X-Men’s Wolverine’s, I’d prefer to read minds, like Professor Xavier.
Imagine featuring on The Weakest Link and being able to read the mind of presenter Anne Robinson as she asks you the tough questions. Or better yet, being interviewed and able to read the mind of the inter- viewer for the right responses.
Toby Logan, of the hit show, The Listener, has those abilities and unlike the bad intentions I have listed, he uses his abilities to save lives as a paramedic. It is actually prying, but for the right reasons, not so?
Craig Olejnik (pictured) who plays Toby Logan agrees and believes there are actually real-life mind readers to be found.
“I think there are a few gifted people out there and it is interesting how they all get matched up with helping the police solve crimes,” said Olejnik.
“Here in North America, we have psychics who are featured on several TV shows showing us how they work together with investigating police officers to catch criminals.
“Some of them are so good they use remote location so they don’t need to go where they body might be or something like that, they just close their eyes and see visions which are important to the investigating officers,” the actor explained.
But anyone who has such powers could also abuse them and Olejnik affirmed that there is always the possibility that with a gift like this in the wrong hands, many people could be in danger.
“Is it fair to have people like Toby Logan roam around? I do not know, I think it all depends on the individual.
“I have never really thought much about it, but when I look at it now the question that is in my mind is whether it is even legal.
“Essentially, it is like spying the mind. People lie for a reason – to protect themselves from the process of investigation – and extracting that information through mind reading can be viewed as a violation of their privacy. Yet lying is also wrong, so essentially this is a tricky one,” he said indecisively.
For Olejnik it all comes down to there being some sort of agreement on when it is okay to use one’s mind reading ability to extract information.
“It’s something the public can agree on, that the information can be extracted through mind reading. Imagine something like terrorist cases where you need as much information as possible, this information becomes handy,” he said.
An this is perhaps why he enjoys playing Toby Logan, the mind reader who is the lead character in The Listener.
“What I enjoy the most about playing this character is that the people I am investigating are always surprised at Logan’s line of questioning. My charac- ter uses the bits and pieces of information he gets from people to build a case and because of the pressure they end up feeling from the insurmountable evidence being brought forward they crack,” he said.
With the fourth season of The Listener now upon us, Olejnik spoke about how being affiliated to the hit show has changed his life.
“I have a lot of people who call me Toby. Some people have no idea what the character’s name is so they that say: ‘Oh, there’s that guy’.
“Essentially, it is not often that someone knows my real name and also perhaps because my last name is not an easy one to pronounce,” he said.
Although the actor modestly points out that at the age of 34, he is only at beginning his career, Logan is the most prized role he has played so far.
“We work in this set environment where there is no immediate response as to whether you did good or not. So you never know if it is going to grab an audience. You just put the blinders on and shoot this thing and a few months later you learn that people really love the show.
“A good example is how I am talking to you in South Africa where I hear we have a big following too,” he said.
Without giving away too much, Olejnik spoke about what viewers can expect in season four of The Listener: “The biggest thing for my character is that he is now solidifying his job. Michelle and he are running around doing whatever they need to do to solve cases. And on a personal level, Toby is in a serious relationship with Tia Tremblay (played by Melanie Scrofano) and she is the only place he can’t read,” he said.
“We have worked so hard to remove what was weak to accentuate the strong material and I think people will enjoy season four. We are already shooting season five which I think is the best yet. A show like ours can run forever because we always have new cases in every episode,” he added.
• The Listener, Wednesdays, 8.20pm, Fox (DStv channel 125).