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Interview: Kearran Giovanni

On Tuesday, January 9th at 9/8c, TNT will air the series finale of its long-running series Major Crimes. The series has been a steady hit for the network and will go out as one of its most-watched series of all time.

For the fans of Major Crimes, it’s not going to be easy to say goodbye to the series and for the cast and crew, it’s going to be even harder. With the most recent events on Major Crimes, it’s going to be a very sad and difficult series finale for everyone to watch.

Actress Kearran Giovanni has played Amy Sykes the entire run of Major Crimes and has become a fan favorite. She sits down with us to talk about what the character has meant to her, what it was like filming those final scenes of the series and what the fans have meant to the cast and crew of Major Crimes.

Pop Culture Principle – What was it like for you and the cast on the final day of shooting for Major Crimes?

Kearran Giovanni – It was literally the worst day. It was one of those things where we kind of knew that the show was over, but we still had a little hope. Also, James mentioned trying to sell the show to another network. I can’t give away anything, but the last day, we shot the last couple of scenes in order and the last scene was on the last day. It’s kind of emotional, but I wouldn’t say it is a teary ending and to fight against that the whole time we were filming this really long scene and not just be weepy, it was really hard because it’s still hard to talk about and we are sad. I did a Facebook chat with James Duff recently and every time he would say the word family, I was like a Pavlovian dog and would start crying. 😊 It’s still sad and it was a sad day on set.

Pop Culture Principle – Looking back on the six seasons of Major Crimes, as an actor, how have you enjoyed the journey of Amy Sykes?

Kearran Giovanni – Obviously she started as the girl who wanted to do right by everyone and had her hand up and was super eager, which was really fun to play because it’s a huge part of my personality. I think I’m a people pleaser and Amy very much was that, but I think finding that space where she finally settles in and finds herself and then says, wait a minute, I do have all these skills, I do know what I am doing and I am here for a reason, so let me help you.

They then really start to use all the skills she brought to the squad and trusts her and she trusts herself. It was a really great journey to play. Also, finding those friendships throughout filming for six years and then finding those same relationships on screen like with G.W. or any of the cast, it was a gift and that just doesn’t happen.

Pop Culture Principle – What has the character of Amy Sykes meant to you personally and as an actor?

Kearran Giovanni – Well, this is my first series regular on anything. I got the show when I was in New York and I came to Hollywood all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Professionally, this was a huge jump for me from Broadway and kind of doing recurring or guest star work in New York, so I’ve learned a lot from that.

Personally, I kept getting these scripts and parts in New York there were so stereotypical, mind you, this was six years ago, so I think things have changed a little bit since then. But things were so stereotypical because if you were a black female, I was getting stuff where the character was a rape victim or a drug dealer or a prostitute, there was nothing that was admirable and you just didn’t see it.

When the script came over for Amy Sykes and you read it and she was just a person who was African-American. I put the script down and I said to my husband that if I get this, we are going to move to Los Angeles, right? So, for me personally, I can’t even put into words how great its been to play someone who is in a way, like myself. I guess you can call me a stereotype for other reasons, I have no idea, I don’t see myself that way and I know other people do and that’s fine. They can see me however they want, but I just see myself as a woman who is living her life who happens to be African-American. This character happens to be a really smart, intelligent, strong and amazing character and it’s been an honor.

Pop Culture Principle – The sixth season of Major Crimes will play out with several multi-episode cases. How have you enjoyed that type of storytelling as opposed to the one-off episodes?

Kearran Giovanni – I like it a lot actually. What I really like is when we did a regular season and then an arc. I like them both so much for so many different reasons. The arcs are so much fun because you really get to know the guest stars and you really get to know what that character is and what they are really bringing to the table. Some of these guest stars that come in, I really feel for them because they are all really amazing, but you only get to do one or two scenes with them and you barely get a chance to work on anything together.

The multi-episode arcs, you get to delve into their characters and that was really fun. I also like the one-offs because to be honest, I miss the comedy episodes with G.W. and Tony. They are literally my favorite episodes even though I don’t have much to do in them, but watching the two of them make comedy gold and make me pee myself, doesn’t get better than that.

There are plusses and minuses for both. Remembering names and characters is much easier when you have the same people around for five episodes. Also, James, Mike and the rest of our writers, they made it hard for us to figure out and you guys will never figure it out. Honestly, it is the most topsy-turvy, moves around, switches places, shoots back and forth adventure and how they are able to keep that going over five episodes is pretty amazing.

Pop Culture Principle – With the return of Phillip Stroh, some fans were hoping that we may see Mark Hickman again as there may be some unresolved issues between him and Sykes. What are your thoughts on that?

Kearran Giovanni – We were looking forward to last season because we thought for sure that Mark Hickman would come back. I don’t think James and the writers truly knew that this was the last season, but I do think they did write the last season with some closure in many ways for many different reasons and I just don’t feel like they had the girth to put everyone’s story into it.

Also, because of the way that Mark and I ended the last time he was here, I feel like if we brought him back, we would have had to start another story. If we had the one-off season, he would probably have come back. We loved working with him and I think he is phenomenal. All of our episodes did really well, but I think they just couldn’t figure out a way to put that story into the already ongoing huge stories that we already had.

To be honest, what that was supposed to be a couple of years ago when it first started, was our trial for a pilot. James kind of had this idea and wondered if he could squeeze it into the season and make it kind of a trial. So, that’s where we were going with that, but because with the change in our leadership at Major Crimes and some other things at TNT, it didn’t happen. It was fun to play while it lasted.

Pop Culture Principle – The character of Amy Sykes has been a strong, confident and positive character throughout the run of Major Crimes. How important have those aspects of the character been to you while working on the show?

Kearran Giovanni – You know, it wasn’t hard to play that character because it really is that positive and awesome on set. It’s not a joke and it’s not a put on. We honestly had so much fun on set and working with each other. So, it’s not hard to walk on set and be positive when working with amazing people like this. We are nuts, but in the bestseemossible. Whenever you would walk on set and seemed sad or upset, there was always someone there willing to give you a hug or talk to you or just be there and I am really going to miss that.

Pop Culture Principle – When did you find out that Season 6 would be the final season of Major Crimes and what were your initial thoughts when hearing the news?

Kearran Giovanni - I guess we kind of got a feeling just because they hadn’t ordered any more episodes and this was the first season that they hadn’t ordered anymore. Also, we thought that they wouldn’t end it like this, they will tell us and let us know. We weren’t gearing up for that because our entire season wasn’t about that, but about these amazing stories.

When we found out, we were at our last table read for the season. I think the hardest thing was that we didn’t really have the time to just let it sink in and really hold those last couple of weeks and months dear and close to my heart. I think everyone’s initial action was being a bit mad because after all that time together, we felt that they did not owe it to us, but owed it to us to give us a little bit of time to hold each other tight for a while.

It was probably some of our worst acting ever because we all just cried through the script. We only had that last episode to shoot knowing that was the end, but that’s Hollywood I guess. It was shocking, to say the least.

Pop Culture Principle – If this is indeed the last season for Major Crimes, where do you see Amy Sykes five to ten years from now?

Kearran Giovanni – Oh man. I think for sure in the next year or so, she would have left because you can’t move up without leaving the squad if you want to end up being brass. She would have gone to another department for a while and worked her way up there. Eventually, she wants to be captain and the has her eye on the prize. I know a lot of people wanted her to get married and be with Cooper, but she is definitely the epitome of that girl who is really super career focused and honestly, I think she is so tunnel-visioned that she can’t focus on anything else. I would say in the next ten years for sure, she’d be a captain.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the final season of Major Crimes?

Kearran Giovanni – I can’t give away much as I am sure you already know, but obviously, everyone knows there is a wedding and it’s one of the most epic weddings you will every see. I know they are just characters on television, but it felt like it was an actual wedding. We went out to dinner and we had a rehearsal beforehand and it was a lot of fun. There is some really crazy art imitating life stuff. I can’t give it away, but in the next arc, you will watch an arc that is so parallel to some stuff that is going on right now, but we filmed it months ago. It will be fascinating for the fans to watch it.

Pop Culture Principle – What would you like to say to the fans of the show who have been very vocal in their support of both The Closer and Major Crimes over these thirteen seasons?

Kearran Giovanni – To be honest, I wouldn’t’ be here if it weren’t for the fans. As a new character being brought on, the only way I was going to stay is if there was a reason for me to stay and the audience liked me. I know they didn’t love me from the beginning, but I had a reason for being there and I think they were able to see that and latched on to Amy and kept me employed for six years. I do thing the fans ended up falling in love with Amy Sykes which I am so appreciative of.

Our fans are so strong, deep, caring and take everything personally in the best way possible, it felt like it was theirs. We weren’t just a procedural with cases and murders, but we actually all had these personalities, our own lives and breath and I feel like there was a different kind of connection with our audience.

I said this to James Duff the other day, but I think he gave such a voice to a group of people that don’t to be seen on television having a glorious wedding or don’t get to be seen on television holding a gun and running a squad or don’t get to have this military background and be a butt-kicker and a strong lady on television. He had all the odd men out who may not be the coolest of the cool, but he had real people and I think that’s what our fans loved about the show.

They feel like they look at us and feel like they could be that or they relate to that and that’s really rare. I thank our fans so much for tuning in for this long. You don’t know how lucky in Hollywood we are to have that and they are the sole reason that we stayed on as long as we did because it wasn’t our network, it was solely based on them watching and tuning in for thirteen years, so I thank the fans for that.

Pop Culture Principle – What are you most proud of when it comes to the character of Amy Sykes and the Major Crimes series as a whole?

Kearran Giovanni – I think with her, there is a huge parallel. She started off as a goodie goody and I am to a certain extent, but she opened her eyes a bit and she really wants to believe in the good and is fighting for it. She’s someone who was in the military that’s fighting for our country and then decides to be a police officer. I think over the seasons, she opened her eyes a little bit to the not so great people and she learned from it.

She didn’t get dark, she didn’t turn, but still fought the good fight. I think just keeping her grounded and keeping her real and keeping her positive and keeping her learning and growing and the eye on the prize was important. I love that about her and I don’t think any of that actually changed, I think she just grew into an adult with really great experiences in life and great people around her.

As far as Major Crimes the series, it had its own identity and I think that’s what I’m most proud of. I come into interviews or meet people and they ask me was I on The Closer and that’s the biggest compliment I can get because the fact that someone watched a show for thirteen years and can’t tell when I came in and when I didn’t and they just think it was all the same show but even better. We kind of stood on our own and had our own identity and broke off in the best way possible, I am proud of that. Let’s be honest, I also wholeheartedly believe that we could be on the air for another five or ten years.

We would like to thank Kearran for taking time to chat with us about the final season of Major Crimes. We would also like to commend her on her excellent work as Amy Sykes on Major Crimes. The series finale of Major Crimes will air on Tuesday, January 9th at 9/8c, TNT.

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