Why Walker: Independence's Mark Sheppard Struggled To Get Through Hagan's Big Scene

Mark Sheppard as Hagan on Walker: Independence on The CW
(Image credit: The CW)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Walker: Independence episode “Pax Romana.” Read at your own risk!

Walker: Independence already solidified that Sheriff Tom Davidson isn’t someone to mess with, and it seems like that’s a trait that runs in the family. Viewers got an introduction to Teresa Davidson, who showed Mark Sheppard’s Hagan she’s not to be messed with either. It all led to an emotional scene between Hagan and Katie Findlay’s Kate, and Sheppard admitted he struggled to get through that pivotal moment. 

The CW series’ “Pax Romana” revealed that Teresa attempted to get Hagan to sell his saloon for a while, and he rejected multiple generous offers she sent prior. Teresa later poisoned Hagan in an attempt to kill him and just take the saloon, but when not even that scared or swayed him, she tried a new tactic. Teresa threatened she’d harm Kate if he didn’t accept an offer and sign over the place, and now that the poisoned Hagan understood just how far the Davidsons would go to see their plans go through, he accepted. 

Unfortunately, Kate found out about Hagan selling, but not the reason why he did it. This resulted in a scene of Kate berating Hagan and calling him a coward for abandoning Independence and its people. Mark Sheppard revealed in an interview with CinemaBlend that he had trouble performing the scene because of the gravity of it, but it ended up being one of his favorite scenes he’s done:

I looked at the scene and couldn’t read it. I couldn’t read it, I couldn’t rehearse it. It was impossible to rehearse. I’m a father…and what was coming to me, knowing that I’m lying about why I’m leaving and the betrayal that is being felt by the other person, It was devastating to do. It was, conversely, one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

While Hagan didn't get to tell Kate the circumstances behind his leaving, Walker: Independence did at least suggest that she later had an inkling he did care for her. Hagan left her with a hat she gave him a hard time about wearing earlier in the episode, which she found later in her room. Kate put the hat on when she was alone, perhaps indicating she still had some respect or feelings for Hagan even after the hateful things she said. 

Mark Sheppard dove into some more detail about the scene, and just how difficult it was to film this goodbye for Hagan. Sheppard really went through it, and talked about just how rough it was to film one of Walker: Independence’s heaviest scenes to date:

I told my director (Sheelin Choksey), ‘I can’t do this.’ He said, ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to do your closeup first?’...and we went straight into it. I will tell you that the first two takes, we ran three in a row, first two are probably unusable. I’m bawling my eyes out. It was so painful. Even the memory of it chokes me up. Just having this person going at me, ‘You don’t care about anybody but you.’ And originally she said, ‘May you die on a bed of white feathers.’ It took the air out of my lungs…

Hagan is gone from Walker: Independence, and the main characters just lost one key ally in their fight to stave off the Davidson family and their increasing stranglehold on the town. Putting the saloon under the Davidson family's control will make it harder for Abby, Hoyt, Calian, and Kate to scheme to take Tom Davidson down, and now probably Teresa as well. 

As for Mark Sheppard, he’s proud of his character’s exit scene on Walker: Independence, and the show in general. Sheppard had glowing praise for The CW series, and compared it to some of the most iconic work he has done on television: 

Yeah, I’m proud of it. I mean, I’ve done a lot of shows in a lot of years and I’ve been lucky to be part of some really, really, good television in my lifetime. The Battlestars, the Fireflys, and the Supernaturals that the audiences have loved over the years. I just hope they get to see this the way I get to see it. I hope that Walker: Independence gets to continue this way because I think this is something so special. I think it’s a phenomenal group of actors. I came in on day seventeen of a nineteen-day pilot, and I looked at them and said, ‘Oh my God. You guys deserve to run for fifteen years.’

Mark Sheppard had glowing praise for Walker: Independence, and I’ll definitely back him up on it deserving a solid run. The Old West set of this show is absolutely gorgeous, and who doesn’t love seeing Kat McNamara back on The CW after her Arrow plans fell through? 

The good news is that if Mark Sheppard ever wanted to return to Walker: Independence, Hagan left with his life intact. For now, though, it seems like the Davidson family got a big leg up on controlling the town, which is going to make it that much harder for Kate to continue her quest of spying on Tom and getting revenge for him killing her husband. 

Walker: Independence airs on The CW on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. The new series is quickly proving it’s one of the gems of new shows this fall season, but there are still plenty of shows to premiere on the 2022 TV schedule before the year is up. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.