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October 31, 2014

Jeri Ryan Gets More 'Leverage'

by Michael Maloney, posted Jan 13th 2010 9:00AM
Jeri Ryan Appears on 'Leverage'If viewers didn't find grifters somewhat like-able they'd never root for them to win. So it was a no-brainer for producers to cast the extremely like-able Jeri Ryan ('Shark', 'Star Trek: Voyager') as dynamic and duplicitous Tara Cole, who last summer joined the band of double-crossers led by Timothy Hutton on 'Leverage.' The TNT drama returns (for what are being called 'winter episodes') starting Wed., Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET.

AOL TV chatted with the captivating Ryan about why Tara is so much fun to play, her many lawyer roles (including one on Law & Order: SVU that was difficult to play) and what kind of role she'd like to tackle next.

Jeri Ryan Appears on 'Leverage'If viewers didn't find grifters somewhat like-able they'd never root for them to win. So it was a no-brainer for producers to cast the extremely like-able Jeri Ryan ('Shark', 'Star Trek: Voyager') as dynamic and duplicitous Tara Cole, who last summer joined the band of double-crossers led by Timothy Hutton on 'Leverage.' The TNT drama returns (for what are being called 'winter episodes') starting Wed., Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET.

AOL TV chatted with the captivating Ryan about why Tara is so much fun to play, her many lawyer roles (including one on Law & Order: SVU that was difficult to play) and what kind of role she'd like to tackle next.

You've played a few lawyers in your career ('Shark', 'Boston Legal'); how is this one different?
(Laughs) Well, she's on the wrong side of the law! Tara is so different from any of the other characters I've gotten to play before. She's a ball-buster and street savvy. She's in your face and she has a sharp sense of humor. She's a lot of fun to play.

Viewers can invest in series like 'Leverage' on TNT because they know the show isn't as likely to get yanked after a few airings as is the case on the major networks.
Yes. They give it a chance.

Do you think actors drawn to cable series because of that?
I do. I think it's an easier process for the producers, the writers, and everyone involved. It makes for a more creative atmosphere.

Would you like to come back for season three? Or stay available for other projects?
Much of the appeal for me was that this was for seven episodes. There's a definite end in sight. I was coming off my maternity leave and I wasn't sure if I was ready to come back to work full time. But I loved it. I love this character, this show and working with these people. I would go back in a heartbeat. Absolutely.

What's it like working with Timothy Hutton?
He's amazing, an incredible actor. The whole cast is just incredible. They're fun to be around and that made my job a joy to be there.

Have you learned a lot of about the law playing all these lawyers, or in this case, a faux lawyer?
(Laughs) Way more than I ever wanted to know! I feel like I have the inside track when I speak to a lawyer.

How's motherhood the second time around?
It's amazing. It's so different having a child [later.] You appreciate things so much more. Now, I realize how fast everything goes. You close your eyes and they're 15 - like my son is. I feel like I missed so much of his childhood when I was working on 'Star Trek: Voyager.' I realize how precious it all is. They're little for like 5 minutes.

'Shark '[which you starred on with James Woods] was a great series. Were you shocked when it was canceled?
I wouldn't say that I was totally shocked, but I thought it would have gone another year or two.

You can't get away from lawyer roles; you played one for two episodes on Law & Order: SVU. What was that like?
It's such a well-oiled machine there. They know what they're doing. They were all very nice people. It was tough [in that] my character was defending a pedophile. You really have to get inside your character's mind and figure out what her rationalization [for doing that] would be.

Your husband's [Christophe Eme] a chef; does he cook for you?
On Sundays and Mondays when the restaurant is closed, he cooks. He's amazing. The only time I ever had to watch my weight was when I took off from work while we were opening the restaurant. He made me lunch and dinner every day. It was an amazing year, but I had to watch it after that.

You've done a lot of heavy dramas. Any interest in sitcoms?
I would love to. Every time a series ends I say, 'Now, I'm going to do a comedy' and then I always end up doing another drama. It's the way that it's worked out. That's why I love 'Leverage' so much. The role is so much fun. It's got elements that are dramatic, tender and moving moments, but it's got lightness and banter, too. It's the perfect blend.

You have an upcoming film 'Secrets in the Walls'?
Yes. It's a ghost story, nice and spooky. [I play] a woman moves into a house with her two daughters and it's haunted.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
I've never had one myself, but I don't doubt that that stuff can happen.

What would you like to do next?
My number one priority is to find something that shoots in L.A.! I've been [working in] Portland, New York and Vancouver. Hollywood has left Hollywood. It's become cheaper to shoot a show that's based in Los Angeles in another city. Every show I've done since 'Shark' [has been outside of L.A.] The work just isn't here now. I really want to find something close to home so I can be with my family.

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