‘The Purge’ Season 2 Has a Denzel Washington Connection

When you think of The Purge you may think of a lot of things: violence, murder, crime, masks… Denzel Washington probably isn’t one of them. The Purge TV series is in its second season on USA and this season has more than one connection to the Oscar-winning star of Training Day.

Derek Luke in The Purge
Derek Luke as Marcus in The Purge season 2 | Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

Derek Luke plays Marcus Moore on the second season of The Purge. He spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about his role in the series and pointed out some of the Denzel Washington connections. The Purge airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on USA.

Derek Luke was in Denzel Washington’s directorial debut

Denzel Washington made his directorial debut with Antwone Fisher, and kicked off Derek Luke’s career with his feature film leading role debut. Luke said he still thinks about Washington’s influence when he plays a role all these years later.

“All I had to do was come out of my trailer and act [in Antwone Fisher],” Luke said. “I come out of my trailer now and if I have questions or if something, if I need to have a conversation with a writer before actually doing work or if I need to e-mail the director about the scene we’re doing, I wasn’t comfortable in that space before.”

The Purge season 2
The Purge season 2 | Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

Washington shielded Luke from a lot of that, but now that Luke has more industry experience, he recognizes what Washington was doing behind the scenes.

“When I was working with Denzel, I didn’t see what was happening behind the scenes,” Luke said. “Sometimes when you go on set, it’s constantly developing and evolving story. So now, I have the management position where it’s not just what I say and how I act but how I respond and communicate with the team.”

Denzel Whitaker plays Derek Luke’s son on ‘The Purge’

Marcus Moore has a son, Darren, played by Denzel Whitaker. Whitaker starred in another Denzel Washington directed movie, The Great Debaters. 

“Talking to him, not only was he such a great actor, I was seeing that his mindset was very fresh and I saw an energy that he had in his eyes and it was so cool,” Luke said. “You’re getting to see another group of guys that are developing and they’re writing their own narratives and they’re telling their own stories.”

The Purge season 2
The Purge season 2 | Alfonso Bresciani/USA Network

Whitaker had grown up with Antwone Fisher.

“What I love is I know that someone 10 years younger than me said, ‘I watched Antwone when I was in high school,’” Luke said. “I was like, ‘High school, are you serious?’ And so what I think is cool about it, it makes you appreciate an auteur because just like them, I wanted to say something to my generation. I wanted to be a voice of my generation just like Denzel [Washington] was to his.”

What’s next for Marcus on ‘The Purge’

Someone tried to break into Marcus’s house during The Purge and murder him. Marcus escaped with his life but now that The Purge is over, he’s trying to find out who wanted him dead and why.

“He’s definitely a fun character for me because he holds so much promise. He’s a guy who has pulled himself by his own bootstraps. He’s also a guy who believes in hard work, which sort of has a underlying kinship between him and his son. Then he’s a guy who in his life he’s tried marriage before. It didn’t work out and he tried it again, got a really good wife, a pretty neighborhood and is starting out with a guy who is starting his life over again. Also a guy who has survived many Purges. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters. He’s very layered.”

Derek Luke, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 10/7/19