Presenting another superlative cast member profile from the Starlog correspondent, the late Bill Warren. As Warren was the dedicated columnist for seaQuest , one hopes he was a fan of the show and enjoyed his time with cast & crew.
“He’s a talker” was the affectionate description of actor John D’Aquino, AKA ‘Supply and Morale Officer’ Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg. A firm fan favourite from the first season, Krieg provided the basis of much, if not all of the comic relief on the show and could switch from comedy to drama effortlessly thanks to D’Aquino’s versatility.
A pity, then, that his path to the show would eventually make his position somewhat untenable. As a close friend of Producer Tommy Thompson (whom he met on Quantum Leap) Krieg was one of the few roles where the character was written with a specific actor in mind. A jobbing actor prior to his appearances in various cult fare, D’Aquino was obviously flattered to have a role tailor-made for him in the seaQuest crew.
All was not well on the seaQuest set, however, and the well-publicised fallout of Thompson & star Roy Scheider prompted D’Aquino to make his thoughts on the new regime public in order to clear the air. In Louis Chunovic’s book ‘seaQuest DSV – The Official Publication Of The Series’ D’Aquino was asked ‘Is the War over?’ to which he replied ‘I have to hope’. On the topic of the feud between Thompson & Scheider he went on to say –
“I walked up to Roy first day and and said – Mr. Scheider, can I speak to you? If you haven’t heard already, you probably will that Tommy and I are very close friends…I just wanted you to know that I’m quite honoured to be working with you and I consider myself one of your soldiers here, and I will never compromise you to Tommy. I will never betray any confidence that we have on the set, and Tommy doesn’t expect me to, and I wouldn’t anyway…”
In what must have been a particularly challenging time professionally, D’Aquino still took the opportunity to shine in the part, and although much of the humour in the episodes hasn’t dated well, his Krieg was one of the better fleshed-out characters. Fans will agree so much more could’ve been made from his former relationship with Commander Hitchcock and his ongoing double act with Lucas Wolenczak but by the season finale, there was some inevitability that Krieg, along with many of the established crew, would not be returning for the second tour. While this disappointment was one of many to come for the renewed season, the goodwill for Krieg character, and indeed for D’Aquino himself, meant his story wasn’t over just yet…
See you on the next exciting post of the seaQuest VAULT..!