Everybody wants to rule the world. And in Harsh Realm, that distinction belongs to Omar Santiago, a former noncommissioned officer who rules over the virtual Realm with an iron fist that would make the Red Guard proud.
But not much is known about this mysterious figure - yet. "As far as I can tell, he wants to take over the virtual world. And I think we're being led to believe that he may actually have some means of taking over the real world as well," offers actor Terry O'Quinn. "The one is apparently dependent on the other, so I'm waiting to see what happens like everybody else."
O'Quinn is only six episodes into filming at this point, "and every episode isn't preoccupied with their battle with Santiago, so [his arc is] on hold for the time being," laughs the actor.
Since being recruited in 1996 by Realm creator Chris Carter's late series Millennium, O'Quinn has become a valued stable player, appearing in The X-Files feature film and now moving on to the more integral role of Santiago. When Carter first approached O'Quinn, the actor didn't even know if he'd be doing Millennium and Harsh Realm simultaniously. While Millennium's cancelation resolved that question, O'Quinn still had much to learn about the character he'd been asked to play. "When we first talked about this character [Carter] said that Santiago had been a seargent major in the U.S. military, which is as high as a noncommissioned officer can go until you can become a commissioned officer. And he wanted it to be that way, because he felt [Santiago would] be more in touch with his troops on the ground."
Playing Santiago is a far cry from playing Frank Black's shadowy connection at the Millennium Group. "Outside of having a belief in what he's doing, I don't think he's much like that character was. I think Santiago examines things terribly deeply, and it's very simple. For the character on Millennium, things were pretty complex."
Clearly, Santiago is the man to beat in this highstakes virtual war game. After all, he is the one holding the key to returning to the outside world. "This man is the man," agrees O'Quinn.
Clearly, Santiago is the man to beat in this virtual game of chance. "He's the kind of fellow who thinks he has a better plan than the politicians have and that he can run things better, and that the world would be a better place under martial law and his [law], to be specific. He wants order and he's ruthless and he believes he's right. There's no confusion about this man's vision."