BODY OF PROOF is set in a medical examiner’s office, where former neurosurgeon Dr. Megan Hunt, played by Dana Delany, and her boss, Dr. Kate Murphy, played by Jeri Ryan, help the police department solve homicides. The third and final season of BODY OF PROOF concluded this year on ABC, where it is still in reruns on Tuesdays at 10 PM; Season 3 has also just been released on Blu-ray and DVD.
We caught up with actress Ryan, known for her work in STAR TREK: VOYAGER and BOSTON PUBLIC, to talk about the third season of BODY OF PROOF.
ASSIGNMENT X: You had a fairly harrowing two-parter in Season Two when the city got hit by a pandemic. Did you think, “Can we come back from this? Have we killed off half the population?”
JERI RYAN: No, I think we sort of hit our stride with our last two episodes of last season. So we were very excited after that. That was our show at its best, and that’s what they’re trying to do for Season 3, is keep the stakes high like that. Big stories and big issues and high stakes and really keep it moving like that, because I think that was really us at our best.
AX: What’s new for your character Kate in Season 3?
JERI RYAN: This season Kate starts to go into politics. She always had those sort of political leanings, and then at the end of Season 2 when she almost died and then with Peter [Nicholas Bishop] in the cliffhanger, bleeding out on Megan’s lap, a sense of mortality, I think, was on everyone’s mind at the beginning of this season for the characters. And so Kate decides that now is the time. Life is short. Why wait? And so she decides she’s running for Congress. And so this season has a lot of Kate having to juggle her political aspirations and this campaign with her real job, which is clearly very important and very dear to her, and she doesn’t want to drop the ball, but it’s not always that easy. And Megan very kindly is always there to point out when she does drop the ball. And she also has to start kind of coming to terms with the moral ambiguity of politics and seeing how that’s going to sit with her.
AX: Does Kate get more of a personal life in Season 3?
JERI RYAN: Yes. Ivan Sergei came on for an episode playing a mysterious Ukrainian hottie who Kate meets and falls for and he ties into the mystery of the murder for that episode. So it’s a lot of fun. He’s a wonderful actor. We had a great time. It’s just nice to explore all the different aspects of the character. To get her out of the office was a treat, to see more of her personal life and not always [see her] in the office being the boss.
AX: What are your favorite parts of Kate’s evolution so far?
JERI RYAN: I like when we get to see different aspects of Kate. I like when we get little glimpses into her past or her personal life. Like when she lost her position for awhile – I like seeing her vulnerability, I like the little chinks in the armor sometimes. But I still love her strength. I love – she was dying and she was still, “Let’s find the guy.” That was her first priority.
AX: Were you worried at all that she might die at the end of Season 2?
JERI RYAN: No, but they were also very crystal-clear, our creator [Christopher Murphey] was also very good about telling me when the script came out, “Now, we’re not killing you, don’t worry” [laughs].
AX: How was it playing being death’s door?
RYAN: I love that kind of stuff. I love the drama. That’s been my kind of stuff to watch. I’m not a big sitcom watcher, so those kind of stories are fun to play – they’re tough, they’re painful, but I kind of love it. It’s exciting as an actor to get to play something like that, and it was a lot of fun.
AX: And did the epidemic storyline scare you at all? I know some of the people making CONTAGION said they were alarmed by how plausible their film was.
RYAN: Yeah, it is scary, something that so realistically could happen. And obviously, we’ve seen there are a lot of crazy people who do really crazy crap. So yeah. And I think it was handled in a very realistic way on our show, too. So yeah, it was a little unnerving.
AX: You’ve talked about your vegetable garden in other interviews. How is the vegetable garden coming?
RYAN: It’s amazing. I was out there today. I had a great time. I’ve been from one extreme to the other today. I was all grungy and grubby a few hours ago, and then I got glammed up for this [ABC press event]. The garden is amazing.
AX: Is there anything else you’d like to say about BODY OF PROOF?
RYAN: Watch. There are a lot of changes [from Season 2]; we’ve got some new cast members coming in. We’re all very excited. It’s going to be cool. There are going to be sparks flying with different characters and it’s going to be fun.
Related: Exclusive Interview: Elyes Gabel on BODY OF PROOF and GAME OF THRONES
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Article: Exclusive Interview: Jeri Ryan on BODY OF PROOF – Season 3