Image source: CBS

Max Thieriot hails from a small town, so portraying Bode Donovan in the upcoming CBS drama Land of Fire wasn’t much of a stretch — at least in that regard. The show follows Bode, an incarcerated man who joins a parole program, putting out fires alongside emergency responders to reduce his five-year prison sentence for robbing a man at gunpoint. The program seems like a great idea until he finds himself in his hometown of Edgewater, face to face with the ugly past he’s been trying to escape.

Thieriot grew up in Occidental, California — “the town [about] 1,000 people,” the actor tells POPSUGAR, “so he knows a lot about the dynamics of small towns in the US, which inspired the concept of Tierra del Fuego. “It drew me to wanting to create this world. It’s what I grew up around and a lot of my friends are doing it.”

From Two and a half minutes of the promo for “Land of Fire”. alone, it becomes clear that Bode is connected in some way to almost everyone he encounters in his new job. “It has its perks, but it has its ups and downs,” Thieriot says of life in Occidental — and on screen in the fictional Edgewater. “When everybody knows everybody, that can be a really great thing and not so great at the same time. I felt like I really wanted to do a show in that world… It just felt like the implications… .. the way all these things affect everybody, it just felt like it was sublime.”

Much of the series pilot sets up what will drive the drama (besides the wildfires, of course): secrets. “A lot of these people are trying to save things [secret] because they know that these things will — excuse the pun — spread like wildfire across the city,” he says.

Image source: CBS

While Thieriot promises that many new secrets will be revealed as the story of Tierra del Fuego’s first season unfolds, he says that throughout the premiere, viewers will have one burning question about Bode’s past: “What the reason [Bode] doesn’t want to be here?”

Thierryot doesn’t just star in the show — he’s also the creator and executive producer — so when the answer to that question is revealed in a major (shocking) twist, know that the actor played an integral role in conceptualizing Bode’s Prequel.

“In the beginning, I always imagined it as a cliffhanger,” Thieriot says. “Even in my earliest drafts it was a big revelation when I came up with it, it seemed like it was always there. So a few things have evolved from the original, but to me it always felt like a big emotional cliffhanger, you’ll want to tune in and see how it unfolds.”

But while much of the drama in Tierra del Fuego is fictional, the wildfires that swept through Northern California are not, and that was another reason Thieriot was forced to film Tierra del Fuego. “The West is so dry right now that the fire season is no longer really the fire season,” he says. “These massive fires happen all year round. I think so [‘Fire Country’ is] timely in many ways, and it felt like a story that needed to be told.”

Tierra del Fuego premieres October 7 on CBS with new episodes airing on Fridays.