Sendhil Ramamurthy TCA interview COVERT AFFAIRS

     August 8, 2010

When a TV show gets canceled, it generally leaves the cast scrambling, looking to figure out what their next job will be. For Sendhil Ramamurthy, he was already actively shooting the new USA spy drama Covert Affairs when he found out that Heroes had been canceled.

Brought in after the pilot and introduced in Episode 2, the actor is playing Jai Wilcox, an agent with a rich family history within the walls of the CIA. During an interview at the NBC Universal portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour, he talked about how Episode 5, airing this week, will be the episode that viewers will finally get to learn what his character is all about. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

Question: What can you say about your character on the show?

Sendhil: I’m playing a CIA operative. They’re not agents, they’re operatives. Jay is like CIA royalty. His father used to head up the CIA, and he’s living in his dad’s shadow, trying to break out.

Do you enjoy getting to speak with your own accent?

Sendhil: Yes. It’s a nice change.

How would you compare this show to Heroes?

Sendhil: It’s different. It’s a really different part for me, and a totally different experience.  Heroes was a huge show with 12 cast members and giant special effects. This is more of a character-based show. There are five series regulars, in the entire thing, and my character is a slightly arrogant, cocky, smooth-talker.

Did you talk to any CIA operatives, in researching this role?

Sendhil: Not yet. I actually came on after the pilot. They shot the pilot while I was still on Heroes. And then, they decided to make some changes and I came in on the second episode.

So, you weren’t unemployed for long.

Sendhil: Actually, we found out Heroes was canceled while I was shooting the third episode, so I was never unemployed.

How were you able to do both shows at once?

Sendhil: Because it was an NBC show and I was still under contract, and they said, “We’ll let you go do this show because it’s for us.” We all knew there was a chance Heroes wouldn’t be back, so we were all covering our butts a little bit, and it worked out

What has it been like to work with this cast?

Sendhil: My job is to come into work every day and flirt with Piper Perabo. I have a very flirtatious relationship with her. Basically, what happens is that I’m called in by the new boss, who is the new head of the CIA, played by Peter Gallagher, and he tells me to get close to Annie Walker, Piper Perabo’s character, in any way that I can, to get information on her ex. There’s some question as to whether I knew her ex, which all comes into play.

Will we find out what he’s really up to before the season is done?

Sendhil: Oh, yeah. They wrote the first four episodes before I was cast, so they more or less slot me into them. I’m peppered through the first four. The fifth episode is my episode. That’s when you find out everything about Jay and why he is the way he is. You’ll learn about his background and what it is that he’s going to be doing for the whole season.

Where are you filming this show?

Sendhil: We’re in Toronto. That’s the only downside. My family is in L.A. They come up, and I’ve been flying back and forth, every other weekend.

How many more episodes do you have left to shoot for this season?

Sendhil: We’re on the penultimate episode now.


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