In LUCIFER, now in its third season Mondays on Fox, Tom Ellis plays the actual fallen angel. While self-centered, this Lucifer is self-centered but basically keen on justice. He’s also keen on LAPD homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), and has made himself at home as a police consultant.
Kevin Alejandro plays Detective Dan Espinosa, Chloe’s ex-husband and father of their young daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez). Dan, like Chloe, doesn’t know that Lucifer is the Devil, but he has learned to tolerate the oddly-behaved associate over time. Dan also had an affair with a woman who was actually Lucifer’s goddess mother, who at the time was using the body of lawyer Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer). Now Charlotte is back to herself, has no memory of the relationship, and Dan doesn’t understand why she’s acting the way she does.
This isn’t Alejandro’s first go-round as a cop or in the realm of the supernatural. He played police detectives on the ultra-realistic police drama SOUTHLAND and on GOLDEN BOY. On the genre side, the actor from San Antonio, Texas, has portrayed the warlock lover of Lafayette Reynolds (the late Nelsan Ellis) on TRUE BLOOD, a small-town man coping with resurrection on THE RETURNED and Sebastian Blood in an arc on ARROW.
In a phone interview, Alejandro talks about what’s new for Dan this season, how he feels about LUCIFER moving its production base from Vancouver to Los Angeles, his memories of Ellis, and more.
ASSIGNMENT X: Is the production community welcoming LUCIFER to Los Angeles?
KEVIN ALEJANDRO: Absolutely, they are. We’re having a great time here. Not that I didn’t enjoy Canada and what it had to offer, but there’s just something different about working at home.
AX: Is it helpful to be shooting where the story is taking place?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely. We can actually use L.A. We don’t have to hide anything or mask anything, or pretend that L.A. is a different thing, or that Canada is L.A., because now we can use it as a character, and we’re all very excited about it. It looks like a different show. I love it.
Last season, we came to L.A. a couple of times, we were peppered in for a couple of episodes where we actually shot a few days out here, but those were, we absolutely had to. You need some L.A. landmarks to let people appreciate the fact that we’re shooting in L.A. And now we get to do it every day. So it’s amazing.
AX: Does shooting in L.A. allow you to do anything you couldn’t do in Canada, even if it’s just getting home earlier or anything?
ALEJANDRO: It allows me to be able to surf again. I was not able to do that [in Vancouver]. That was something that I really gravitated to when I came to L.A., and that was something that I had to postpone for the last couple of years, because it was just such an issue to do it in Canada. First of all, it’s super-cold, and it’s a big ordeal, and I didn’t have enough time to do it. So that’s one of the things that it’s allowed me to do. But not only that, it’s allowed me to walk my kid to school in the morning and go to all his football games and his music classes and it’s a wonderful whole new world of the comforts of living in L.A. that I have today that I missed.
AX: Do you think they might incorporate surfing into Dan’s character?
ALEJANDRO: I think that is a strong possibility, wink, wink [laughs].
AX: Do they just listen to you and write stuff in, or do you ever go to them and say, “You know, I think maybe it would be fun if Dan did …”?
ALEJANDRO: They listen. They listen to the fans, too. And if it fits within the context of the show, I don’t think they will ever dismiss an idea if it works. If it works, they’re going to use it. We’ve got a great team, which is cool.
AX: We have seen that Dan likes to relax by going to a class in acting improvisation. Did you suggest the improv, were you surprised that was Dan’s secret passion …?
ALEJANDRO: You know what? One of the great things about our show is that, from the writers’ room to the producers, to the actors, to the crew, we all pretty much really like each other and we listen to each other. And so I think maybe [show runners] Ildy Modrovich and Joe Henderson heard me tell a story once about how, when I was doing some ride-along stuff with some cops, that a couple of them were taking an improv class, or an acting class, particularly the ones who go undercover. I was surprised to see that that had made an entrance into what Dan likes to do, but when I thought about it, I was like, “Wow, they actually listen to us,” which is a very comforting sort of thing. I’d always heard “acting classes,” so the improv part of it was definitely a bit of a pleasant surprise.
AX: Are you enjoying getting to do more comedy and accents and all of the stuff that Dan gets to do when he’s doing improv or standup?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely. Anything that poses a challenge, I welcome with open arms, no matter how hard it is. And comedy is very hard to do. So I’m very grateful that they’re giving me the opportunity to flex those muscles a bit.
AX: It looks like part of Dan’s arc this season is trying to reconnect with Charlotte, who of course has no idea who he is.
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely, and that completely confuses him. But it adds a really great texture and depth to the character. Both of them, actually, because not only does Tricia Helfer get to play a completely different character, which is going to pose such a challenge, because she’s physically the same person, but she’s having a great time doing that, and Dan is trying to figure out why she doesn’t remember him, and that’s adding such a great comical element to, first of all, what Dan’s personality is. But throughout, there are some genuine moments where they’re trying to figure out whether or not the real Charlotte Richards and Dan can actually have a real relationship, based on the present, based on who they are now. And I actually don’t know where that relationship leads in the end, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing where they take it.
AX: What’s Dan’s relationship like with Lucifer this season? They seem to be mellowing towards one another…
ALEJANDRO: Well, I wouldn’t say “mellowing.” I think Dan’s just figuring out how to deal with Lucifer and is pretty much not giving him that much attention, and he’s taking everything Lucifer says with a grain of salt, and dissecting what he says and put it into a way that Dan can understand, a more realistic, kind of boring, common way. So I think what they’re doing is having the same thing, having the same sort of relationship, with Dan not giving him too much attention on it.
AX: So Dan’s not rising to the bait as much …
ALEJANDRO: Not as much. But there’s some really great stuff coming up. With a personality like Lucifer’s, you can’t help but get flustered, and Dan will definitely reach his boiling point.
AX: And what’s Dan’s relationship like with Chloe this season?
ALEJANDRO: Dan and Chloe have reached a pretty good understanding. Co-parenting is the direction they’re taking things in right now, and I think it’s very relevant to today’s society. Unfortunately, marriages don’t last as long as they used to, but people do a good job of co-parenting, and I think Dan and Chloe are a good representation of how that can work.
AX: You’re a parent in real life. Does that help with playing the parent of a little girl?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely it does. But also, Scarlett is such a wonderful little actress and a wonderful little person that when she looks in your eyes, all you want to do is take care of her, and care for her. So she makes it very easy to want to be her parent.
AX: Does Dan come any closer to having any idea what’s really up with Lucifer and Lucifer’s angel brother Amenadiel, played by D.B. Woodside, as far as who they really are?
ALEJANDRO: You know, they always touch on it. There’s always a tip of the hat to it. But Dan is so straitlaced, I don’t think that he wants to figure it out. It just goes over his head and everything they say continues to be strange to him. There will come a point, I think, eventually, where that world will open up, but I think it’s a little too soon. It’s a little too soon for Dan.
AX: The new lieutenant, Marcus Pierce, played by Tom Welling, comes in with straight animosity towards Dan …
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. And that throws Dan for a loop, because Dan wants to be considered one of the best. And so immediately that forms the whole, “Oh, shoot, what can I do to get on his good side? Because I want to be one of the best.” And it doesn’t work very well for Dan, so that in itself lends to a pretty fun, comical characteristic that Dan has to learn to grab hold of in order to keep his cool and figure out how to do things the Marcus Pierce way.
AX: Do you think Dan has any residual guilt from the whole issue that was going on the last two seasons of his being blackmailed by the dirty cop and ultimately killing the guy?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely, he has guilt. It’s molding the way he handles his decisions from that moment on. And you get to see that. And things unravel a little bit more with why he does things, and how he does things, but I don’t think he would have changed it much, because he felt that he did the right choice and the right decision for that moment, and it’s making him who he is. He deals with that on a daily basis and that’s why he finds different ways of how to deal with things, such as improv and the other hidden things that they’re going to be giving Dan to do.
AX: Is there any person or character that you looked at to give you some grounding in Dan?
ALEJANDRO: I look within myself. There’s got to be in there a little bit of who I am, so that I can believe who he is. And so I reflect inward first, and see where it takes me, and it’s proven to work out pretty well for this character. I have different ways of doing things for different types of characters that I play.
AX: You were in the brief but cult-followed series DRIVE. Do you have any recollections of that experience?
ALEJANDRO: Of course. I love being a part of DRIVE. It was short-lived – I think we shot six episodes or something, but that was a great time. Tim Minear – I love that guy. He’s like one of those madman scientists when it comes to writing and creating. He’s one of the best out there, and I had nothing but a wonderful experience with all those guys. Nathan Fillion and I are still friends; J.D. Pardo, who played my brother, who’s also the lead in MAYANS MC, the new SONS OF ANARCHY spinoff, we were able to form a pretty good relationship that still holds true today.
AX: Did you learn anything about stunt-driving on DRIVE that you’ve been able to apply to other roles?
ALEJANDRO: I’ve learned that I should leave the stunt driving to the professionals [laughs].
AX: And do you have any recollections that you would like to share of Nelsan Ellis?
ALEJANDRO: Nelsan was a true artist. I can remember going into the chemistry read [for TRUE BLOOD]. After all the auditions, you go to a final read. It was me and a couple of other guys they were considering for the role, and we go into the room and we read with Nelsan. So Nelsan and I, we did our thing in the audition, and as I was closing the door, I distinctly remember hearing him say, “Well, that’s the guy. I don’t think we need to see anybody else.” And within me, I had all these tingles of, “Wow,” because we had great chemistry in the room. And then the next day or the day after, when I actually stepped on set, he came into my trailer and introduced himself officially and just had nothing but the kindest words to say to me, and how excited he was that I got the job and that we were going to go on this journey together. And then every time we were on set together, it was a love set. We had great respect for each other.
AX: Back to LUCIFER, what is your interaction like with the fans? Have you done Comic-Con, or any conventions?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. I did Comic-Con this year. I’ve done Dragon-Con, a few of them. I’m relatively new to that world. But the fans are just so loyal and honest. There’s nothing but really good people. No one has come out of the woodwork and said [growling], “I hate what you do.” They genuinely love it and have a good time. And I’m wanting to have a good time with them, because with them, we don’t have a show.
AX: And do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?
ALEJANDRO: Well, I finished producing and directing a short film called BEDTIME STORY, and it’s running through the festival market right now. On top of that, I’m preparing to direct my own episode of LUCIFER for this season. Right now, it is tentatively Episode Nineteen.
AX: Congratulations. Do you have any trepidation about directing yourself, or did you direct yourself in the short, or …?
ALEJANDRO: I have directed myself in the short. I have no trepidation about that. I’ve never directed anything at this level, so I am learning a great deal. I have gone through the Warner Brothers Directors Program, I just finished the DGA Directors Program orientation and I’m shadowing all of my favorite directors on this season and last season, and I’m just prepping as much as I can, and basically what I’m learning is trust the team that’s around you, trust the team that’s doing the job to let them do what they do and communicate, and you should be okay. I’m on Cloud Nine. I cannot believe it. It’s so amazing to be given this opportunity.
AX: Do you have any idea how long you’d like to see LUCIFER go?
ALEJANDRO: As long as people would love to continue to see it. I love this job and I love these people. It’s one of the best ones I’ve done. The relationships are strong. I want to do it for as long as people will allow us to.
AX: What would you most like people to know about LUCIFER Season 3?
ALEJANDRO: That it will not disappoint. We’re doing this to enjoy ourselves and I want them to sit back and relax and love it, know that we don’t take ourselves too seriously and don’t take our show too seriously, just be in it for the moment and laugh along with us, because we enjoy making this show.
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Article: LUCIFER: Exclusive interview with Kevin Alejandro on Season 3