Proof positive that ABC has high hopes for BODY OF PROOF’s sophomore season following last spring’s surprisingly strong start was the news that stars Dana Delany and Jeri Ryan were being made available to the media at the recent Television Critics Association Press in Los Angeles to promote the upcoming season. So just what did the talented twosome have to say about their roles and what fans can expect from Dr. Megan Hunt (Delany) and Dr. Kate Murphy (Ryan) when the hit ABC procedural returns this Tuesday September 20th. Find out for yourself after the jump.
It’s been a whole season so far and Megan is still “tough as nails,” are you still enjoying that part of it?
DANA: Yeah, I am. But you’ll see in the second season that she starts to be a little bit more humorous, and a little bit more silliness comes in the second season. But I am [enjoying it]. I’ve been living with Megan for so long now that I can see things in my own life that remind me of her — which could be good, or not. She’s so direct, and I appreciate that, that she doesn’t have much patience with people and I find myself being really direct with people. It just saves time. It’s time-efficient, and some people get turned-off by that.
What would you describe as you favorite quality in Megan that you would like to embody more, besides her directness?
DANA: I wish I was as smart as she is. She’s really smart. But I don’t know. She’s not really good with people. That’s a hard aspect of her that we’re working on. I like that she’s awkward. It’s fun to play, but I don’t think I’d like to be like that.
Are there any qualities that you appreciate that are endemic to that kind of person and personality?
DANA: I think you have to be detail-oriented. Because the autopsies that I went to — it’s kind of like an airline pilot. A pilot has to be very careful because before he takes off he has a checklist and it’s the same thing with a medical examiner. You have a checklist of things that you have to cover — certain organs that you have to take out and make sure that you have them in a jar of formaldehyde, so that if there is any question about the death you can go back and say, “Yes, we did check, and there was no sign of anything.” But that kind of meticulousness is necessary.
Is there anything specific that we should be looking forward to this season?
DANA: I just think it is fascinating to see any show evolve. One thing that I said to the writers was there was so much focus on Megan in the first season, which is great, but we really have great actors and they are not being use enough. So you’ll see more of the other actors. You’ll see more of their backstories, more of their personal lives. People always question, “Would a medical examiner do that much sleuthing?” So we have more where the cops do their job and I do my job. I do the science. I do the math. And once in a while I’ll go with them, but I think that John Carroll Lynch and Sonja Sohn should be doing more of the police work. And there’s a little bit more humor. I think we all enjoyed doing that — finding the silliness and the quirkiness. So a little bit more of that.
After playing a character for a whole season, do you ever feel comfortable enough to tell the writers, “Megan wouldn’t do that”?
DANA: Yeah, I do and they’re pretty nice about listening to me. Sometimes you feel like you’ve played a beat before and I’ll go, “Haven’t we already done this?” It’s usually the actors that catch that, whereas the writers are all off writing their own separate stories.
With so much death portrayed on the show, is the humor you’re going to explore this season involving that or will it come from something else?
DANA: Well, we’re always careful and respectful of the dead ’cause I think that is the fear of many people, for anyone who has never been in on an autopsy you don’t know what is going to happen in the room. Families are concerned about that. And the autopsies that I went to, they are extremely respectful. But, yes, there is humor, but its more interpersonal stuff that we will explore.
Dana mentioned that this next season will be less focused solely on Megan and will open up to the other characters a little bit more. What does that mean for you?
JERI: I don’t know. We’re going to find out! We’ve only shot two new episodes so far and I’ve only seen three scripts. But it’s great. We’re going to see a bit more of the backstory of the characters, which will be great. And it’s fun. I’m enjoying that we’re so involved in the cases, which is also great, and Kate’s going to be out in the field a bit more.
What do you most admire about Kate?
JERI: I love, obviously, that she’s smart and she’s strong and she’s a good role model for my daughter, for example. But what I really admire about Kate is her humanity. This character in particular, it would be easy to fall into that stereotype of being “tough as nails” and being the boss and I love that she’s not just that. She’s more human. She has a lot of empathy for the victims and their families, as well as the people who work for her. And that’s one reason she gives Megan so much slack that I think a lot of bosses would have not done. She’s had to ruffle-some-feathers herself to get where she is. So even though she and Megan go about it differently, she’s a little bit more by the rules than Megan is. I think she sort of understands her from that point of view.
It seemed at the end of last season that Megan and Kate became a little bit less adversarial and more mutually respectful. Is that something the writers had noticed about the characters interacted or was it just an evolution?
JERI: That’s a good question. Actually, I don’t know. That would be one to ask the writers. But that’s certainly the case until we hit the point that we found out that Kate was dating Megan’s ex-husband. That made it not so cozy in the office. But I love the characters’ relationships. I love that it’s not sort of easy, that it is sort of a bumpy road. I appreciate that Kate sort of took Megan under her wing — especially in the beginning ’cause while Megan is so brilliant professionally, she had no clue about life. Really, about life and her family and social life. And I think Kate took it upon herself to show Megan that. So I’m sure they are going to come to some level of respect.
When you work on a show with such strong female characters, what do you learn about your audience?
JERI: I think we have a large female audience, but I don’t think it is exclusively female, so I think it speaks for our society in these times. It’s not a big deal for people to have women in command anymore, like it ruffles people’s feathers or gets them upset. So everybody can watch it — men enjoy the show, women enjoy the show. I love that these women are in science ’cause I’m a big science geek and I love to encourage girls to get involved in sciences. So I think it’s great.
How do you see Kate as a role model for young women today?
JERI: I love that these women are smart — Kate and Megan, and Sam (Sonja Sohn’s character). There are three really strong women on this show and they’re smart and they’re tough-cookies and they won’t take crap when they know what they are doing and they’re very much in charge of their lives — and I love that. I get that. Just because I’m a science geek, it’s near and dear to my heart. I am really thrilled about that. We need more women in science. So it’s great to encourage young women to do that.
BODY OF PROOF airs Tuesdays at 10PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada) and stars Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan, John Carroll Lynch, Nicholas Bishop, Sonja Sohn, Geoffrey Arend, Windell Middlebrooks and Suzanne Gilllies.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).