LUCIFER is about what happens when the fallen angel (played by Tom Ellis) comes to Los Angeles and becomes a police consultant. The series ran for three seasons on Fox Network. When Fox canceled it, Netflix picked up LUCIFER for a fourth season, which premiered earlier this year. (All seasons can currently be seen on Netflix.) Now Netflix has announced a sixteen-episode fifth and final season that will stream next year.
In LUCIFER, Kevin Alejandro plays LAPD detective Daniel Espinosa. Dan carries around a reputation for being dirty, although he was legally exonerated, as he actually committed some crimes to protect his ex-wife, fellow detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), back when they were married. Dan doesn’t know that Lucifer is a supernatural entity, just that he’s annoyingly self-centered. Dan’s exasperation with Lucifer became actual rage when Dan’s girlfriend Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer) was murdered by erstwhile LAPD Lieutenant Marcus Pierce (Tom Welling). Dan blames Lucifer for keeping secrets about Pierce, although he doesn’t know that Pierce was actually the Biblical Cain.
In Season 4, Dan’s attempt to get even with Lucifer wound up endangering Dan and Chloe’s young daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), which caused Dan to feel even worse about himself. In the midst of all this psychological darkness, Dan found a little bit of light by briefly hooking up with LAPD pathologist Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia), a development that surprised both parties. By the end of Season 4, Dan seemed to have made his peace with Lucifer, if not with himself.
Alejandro has a far happier relationship with himself and with LUCIFER. The actor directed the Season 3 episode “Once Upon a Time,” and will be directing at least one more episode in Season 5. 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 a brujo (warlock) on TRUE BLOOD, a man coping with resurrection on THE RETURNED and Sebastian Blood in an arc on ARROW.
For those who would like to see Alejandro, along with other LUCIFER cast members, the first official LUCIFER convention is being held this weekend, August 17-18, at the LAX Hyatt Regency Hotel (check out creationent.com for more information).
In an exclusive two-part phone interview, Alejandro talks all things Daniel Espinosa, plus his burgeoning directorial career and more.
ASSIGNMENT X: LUCIFER is now on Netflix. Is there any difference in making the show for Netflix than Fox, apart from the fact that you can now use stronger language?
KEVIN ALEJANDRO: It’s kind of hard to explain, but yeah, it feels different. We’re all trying to stay true to what we created on the Fox Network. But it kind of feels like we’re making little mini-movies. I think the directors are allotted a little bit more time and creativity with what they do with the camera and how they tell their stories. Fortunately, going to a new platform gave everyone the opportunity to stay true to what they bought, and stay true to what our audience loves, but still try to find those ways of making it just a little more creative for each individual’s particular talents – our d.p.s [directors of photography] were able to change the look slightly, or our directors were able to move the cameras a little bit more, just tiny nuances like that that only if you have the opportunity to be part of our show the way we have that you see all those differences.
AX: Do you have more time in the schedule to make the episodes?
ALEJANDRO: The schedule is pretty much the same. But we do take more time in the day to make sure that everything’s right. It doesn’t feel as rushed to move forward. There’s always that pressure of the clock, but it’s a little bit more of a relaxed feeling. It also helps that we’ve been working together for so many years that we’re kind of like a machine. There’s room for us to breathe, and, “Oh, this could be cool, let’s try that,” because everyone knows how we work together.
AX: Can you talk about the move from Fox to Netflix?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. We weren’t owned by Fox. We’re a Warner Brothers show. So business-wise, I don’t think it made much sense for [Fox] to keep us, for financial reasons. But lucky for us [when news of the Fox cancelation broke], our fans really made their voices heard to other outlets, like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, and people started asking, “What is this show LUCIFER?” In my opinion, we went from a solid, cult-like following to a pretty cool little hit on Netflix.
AX: In Season 4, Dan is depressed and angry through just about the entire season. How aware is he of his own emotional state?
ALEJANDRO: I think he’s very aware of where he’s at emotionally. He’s at the bottom. I think Dan’s problem, and also the beauty of him, is that he knows where he’s at, but he doesn’t know how to get out of it. He doesn’t know how to find that happiness, or find an answer to a question he doesn’t really understand. I think his big question is, “Why do I keep losing everything?” He lost his marriage, he’s in a co-parenting situation, he made stupid mistakes in Season 4 where he almost got his daughter killed, his lost the potential next love of his life with [Charlotte], he’s wondering why he keeps making these choices. So I think he’s running around internally like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to find out who he is and what he is, and I would love to see if there’s a window for a little more exploration into that sort of darkness this year. But that’s a [show runners] Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich situation.
AX: Do you think the things that drove Dan to be a dirty cop are still sort of lurking underneath everything?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely. Because what makes Dan a dirty cop came from a place of an honest reaction to doing good. He thinks, “So if I have to bend the rules a little bit to create some good …” – I think it comes from that. So I think he’ll always struggle with that. What made him a dirty cop was the whole Palmetto case, but that was to protect his wife, so it comes from choices like that that he makes throughout his life. Unfortunately, they always backfire on him. So I think he’ll continue to be flawed in those actions, but it will always come from a place of, “Sh*t, I feel like I have to do this, there’s no other way to do it.”
AX: Most of your LUCIFER cast mates are grown-ups, and they don’t look like they’ve gone through huge changes over the seasons. But Scarlett Estevez, who plays Dan and Chloe’s daughter Trixie, is at an age where each year would be a big change. So have you noticed changes in her?
ALEJANDRO: Oh, my goodness. She’s a little lady now, yeah. We were just talking about that, not too long ago, about how we’re watching her grow up. She was this little toothless baby in Season 1. Scarlett’s personality has never changed. She’s always been a professional, she’s always been just the greatest little energy and addition to our show, and she hasn’t changed. She’s not jaded yet, she hasn’t hit those moments some children do, and she’s part of the family. It’s really great to see her grow up with us.
AX: Did you see the Dan and Ella connection happening before it happened?
ALEJANDRO: Not at all. Did not see it coming at all. It’s funny. Aimee and I were doing a scene I think an episode or two before that episode came out [of the writers’ room]. What’s really cool is, after we’d done all of our work and we’d shot, we get the opportunity to have different ideas, and hem-haw a little bit, and riff, and add some different flavor, and hopefully it makes it, sometimes it doesn’t. But in one scene, I was like, “Maybe I give her a little peck on the cheek, a little brotherly thing.” And one of the writers said, “No. Don’t do that. We have ideas. Something else is going to happen in the future.” And I was like, “Wait, what are you talking about?” He goes, “Just don’t do that.” “Okay, all right, I get it.” That was our first hint. And then all of a sudden, we get the episode and we’re like, “What?! We what?!” [laughs]
AX: Is Dan still into Ella, or is he just completely confused at the end of Season 4?
ALEJANDRO: I think he’s completely confused. But I don’t really know. Joe and Ildy are really good at keeping their own secrets. So I have no idea where they’re going to take it. I know that a lot of the audience really enjoyed the chemistry that Aimee and I had, so who knows? I don’t know if they’re going to explore that further, or if that’s it.
AX: For a moment there, it looked like Dan might be teaming up with Maze, the bisexual demon played by Lesley-Ann Brandt …
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. I always thought secretly that they would explore that a little bit with Maze and Dan, but I don’t know. Dan may not be enough of a man for her. Not enough of a woman for her, either [laughs].
AX: The Season 4 finale opens up with a giant fantasy dance number. During this, Dan leaps into Lucifer’s arms, Lucifer spins Dan around in the air, and then Dan flies up and away. Does Tom Ellis actually pick you up, or is that one or both of your stunt doubles?
ALEJANDRO: No, he actually picks me up. That’s really us doing it.
AX: How much rehearsal did that take?
ALEJANDRO: Oh, man. It felt like it took about four years of rehearsal [laughs]. Tom had to rehearse a lot more, because he had the whole dance number. I just came in for the DIRTY DANCING beautiful last moment. So we probably practiced that for a couple of hours. I was connected to a harness. So there were all kinds of technicalities of, “How do I get that bounce out of there?” Because every time they would jolt me up, my body would bounce, and it would look kind of like a yo-yo. And there’s another human being on the other end of the ropes who is jumping off of a chair with a weighted vest to pull me up, so we had to manipulate the amount of weight, so that it would be smooth. So it was a fair amount, a few hours of really trying to figure out the right equation to make that fluid.
AX: When you were on the harness, were the crew telling each other, “Don’t swing him, or he’ll knock somebody over”?
ALEJANDRO: Pretty much. It was fun. I love that stuff. That’s one of the cool things about our show, is that if any of us feel like we want to do it, our stunt team and the people who take care of us are so good at teaching us, and helping us be the best that we can, and giving us the opportunity to have the confidence to do it for ourselves if we choose to do it.
AX: What was the most challenging thing you had to do in Season 4?
ALEJANDRO: That’s a great question. Every scene in Season 4 is popping through my head right now. One of the coolest experiences was, I got to have a really great fight [alongside] Maze, where it was the two of us taking on twenty people in this old rundown theatre. And she and I practiced this fight for several days, and we got so good at our rhythm that the majority of all the fighting that you see in that we got to do ourselves. We got to do it all, but the cool, crazy, gnarly stunts, like flipping over the stage, our stunt guys jumped in for those, but that was one of the most challenging, great experiences that I’ve had the opportunity to go on a full-fledged stunt routine. I can’t even remember before that.
AX: Was that the most rewarding sequence, or was there another sequence that was the most emotionally rewarding?
ALEJANDRO: The most emotionally rewarding I think is yet to come hopefully in Season 5. Dan’s flawed, right? And so emotionally rewarding for an actor – getting through Charlotte’s death. That was emotionally challenging and hard, and I took myself to a place where I stayed there for a long time, so that I could give what was necessary for that moment in that character’s life. So that was a big, pivotal exploration for me as an actor.
AX: Are you relieved that Dan seems to have forgiven himself somewhat, so you don’t have to carry that around quite so much in Season 5?
ALEJANDRO: I’m not sure that he has, that he’s there yet. I don’t really know, but it could be a little bit of a façade. I don’t feel like he’s had the opportunity to have the answers he needs to propel his soul forward.
AX: Do you want Dan to find out the big secret before it ends, or not?
ALEJANDRO: I think I kind of do want him to find out that Lucifer is Lucifer, because I’d like to see it unravel him to the point of almost no return.
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Article: LUCIFER: Exclusive interview with Kevin Alejandro on Season 4 – Part 1