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SYFY WIRE David Harbour

David Harbour explains to Seth Meyers the parenting tactic he learned from 'cop shows'

The Violent Night star explains the unconventional disciplinary tactic he somehow pulled off.

By Matthew Jackson
Actor David Harbour on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Thanks to the increased exposure of projects like Stranger Things and Violent Night, David Harbour has become one of the most beloved people in Hollywood as far as the internet is concerned. That means people are more invested in his private life, which means a recent visit to Late Night with Seth Meyers covered everything from interior design to parenting. 

Harbour stopped by Late Night on Monday to promote his new Netflix supernatural comedy We Have a Ghost, but for most of the interview Meyers didn't want to talk about the film. He instead wanted to talk about a recent Architectural Digest tour featuring Harbour and his wife, Lily Allen, going through their elegant New York home. Among many other features, the townhouse features a carpeted bathroom, which Harbour was forced to defend while reading tweets from fans who condemned him from the old-fashioned decision. There were a lot of mold jokes.

Check it out:

Meyers then pivoted the conversation to ask what Harbour's two children think of the elaborately decorated home, and Harbour replied that the kids, aged 10 and 11, have referred to it as a "clown house." 

RELATED: David Harbour's 'Violent Night' riding a one horse open sleigh onto Peacock this weekend

All of that brought Meyers and Harbour, both fathers, to the subject of parenting, which was when Harbour demonstrated his disciplinary style by telling a story about how he forced his kids to own up to a bad thing. 

"It's easier to be strict when they're younger and sort of dumber. I had an experience where, it was during the pandemic, one of them had thrown out a piece of paper that was really important. It was some kind of something, I don't know, but the whole day we were looking for this piece of paper, and finally we found it in the trash can. One of them had thrown it out, and neither of them would fess up to it, and we were furious. And I said 'I am gonna find out who threw this thing out.'"

To get to the bottom of the Case of the Discarded Paper, Harbour apparently turned to his experience working on various law enforcement-themed TV shows over the years. Well, sort of.

"I brought in a dish of flour, and I had them dip their fingers in it, and I just went away -- silent, I did this. I went away, put it down, I came back and I said 'Listen, I know how to fingerprint people because I've done a lot of cop shows.' It's true. What I didn't realize at the time was that you're supposed to actually put their fingers in ink. You're supposed to dust for the prints! I didn't do that. I did it backwards, but they still believe me. I left and I came back with a little piece of paper, and I said 'I have the results of the fingerprinting. So if you'd like to tell me now who actually did it, it'll be easier for you.' It worked! They immediately fessed up."

Apparently if you've played Chief Jim Hopper long enough, you don't even have to do the fingerprinting right to convince kids that you've caught them. Plus, now Harbour's got the added experience of playing Santa Claus in Violent Night, so kids really have to listen to him. 

Stream Harbour's full Late Night with Seth Meyers appearance now on Peacock, or catch him in all his saintly glory in Violent Night.