Actor: Sendhil Ramamurthy
TV Series: USA Network’s Covert Affairs
TV Character: Jai Wilcox, who was recently promoted to Director of Special Projects at the CIA
Where You’ve Seen Sendhil Before: NBC’s Heroes as Dr. Mohinder Suresh and he’s guest-starred on USA Network’s PSYCH.
USA Network’s hit series, Covert Affairs, is about to wrap up its second successful season. TV Goodness recently participated in a conference call featuring the very charming Sendhil Ramamurthy, who plays Jai Wilcox. We gained a lot of insight into Jai’s stormy relationship with his father; what the character’s up to in next week’s finale; and a little bit about Season 3.
Warning: Minor Spoilers for the Covert Affairs finale discussed
Forget about black or white — Ramamurthy enjoys playing the shades of gray where Jai is concerned.
SENDHIL: “The gray area is something that I’m very interested in for Jai and just as an actor. Those are the things that I find really interesting to play. What – where it becomes hard is that if the gray area becomes all black or white because then there’s nothing to play. So I really want Jai to balance it and that’s hard. That’s hard to write and it’s hard to maintain as an actor.”
Maintaining that balance is especially difficult considering Jai has Henry Wilcox (actor Gregory Itzin) for a father.
SENDHIL: “His greatest fears are failure and becoming his father. You know, those are two things that drive him to excel and, you know, in mind and try and, you know, to try and be the best he can be and get to the strongest position that he can be within the CIA.”
Ramamurthy doesn’t think Jai and Henry will ever develop into a warm-and-fuzzy father/son relationship.
SENDHIL: “The relationship is an adversarial relationship. They don’t have this lovey dovey father-son relationship and I would kind of be surprised if it ever becomes like that. I mean you never know but I would be surprised if, you know, I think that so much damage has been done just like during his childhood and, you know, I’m still very curious to see what happened with Jai’s mom and, you know, how that all played out between Henry and the mom and Jai. And, you know, I think that a lot of – there’s a lot of baggage there and I think there’s a lot of hurt there on Jai’s part.”
Expect Henry to be key in helping his son figure out his new job.
SENDHIL: “Henry Wilcox actually will figure into informing him about what this is and kind of point him in a direction that – or put him on a path that he kind of goes on which all comes to a head in the finale; actually in the final episode; you know, the season where you’ll kind of see what the Office of Special Projects is and then what Jai is going to do about that.”
Covert Affairs fans want to see Jai more incorporated into the action. Sendhil wants that too.
SENDHIL: “The comment I get most of the time, just by people walking up to me is, you know, what is he up to because I think it was very difficult for the audience because in the first ten episodes he was, you know, really – he was there but not there. And then all of a sudden he kind of jumped, you know, jumped into the story in the premiere of Season 2.5 and I think that it was – it was kind of like ‘oh, okay.’ So he’s coming into the story now. So I’d like to see Jai be a bit more of a constant presence in the story. How that’s done, I don’t know but you know it’s – I think it’s difficult now to connect with him simply because his appearance is so sporadic but that changes so you know, we’ll see how it goes.”
Jai will be a bigger part of the action in Season 3.
SENDHIL: “I think that’s what the plan is for next season is to kind of bring him more into Annie’s world now. So and again the finale, especially Jai’s final scene, really kind of sets the tone for where he’s going to be headed for Season 3.”
The penultimate episode for Covert Affairs Season 2 premieres tonight on USA Network at 10/9c. Next week is the much-anticipated finale.
Answers edited for continunity and space.