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Interview: Missy Peregrym

There is no denying that Dick Wolf has the magic touch when it comes to having success in the television industry.

Just look at the shows he’s created and produced over the past several decades. Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Cold Justice. Let’s not forget the record setting upcoming 21st season for the series Law & Order: SVU.

Now, entering its second season, the hit series FBI looks to continue the legacy of Dick Wolf. Led by the super talented Missy Peregrym, the series has already set itself apart from other Wolf productions.

We had the chance to talk with Missy Peregrym about the upcoming second season of FBI. We talk about how politics may or may not play a role in the series, the death of her character’s husband in the first season and what fans can look forward to with the second season of the series. The second season premieres on Tuesday, September 24th at 9/8c

Pop Culture Principle – Within the first five minutes of the premiere episode of FBI, we have two major explosions. Do you feel starting the series off with such a powerful storyline was a great way to not only hook in the viewers but also let the viewers know that working as an FBI agent is extremely dangerous?

Missy Peregrym – A lot of money went into the pilot and that’s why pilots are so interesting because you have so much to tell in one episode and you are trying to get people to care and come back. We tried really hard to keep things exciting throughout the rest of the season. It’s funny when I watch the pilot, the memories I have override my experiences seeing the pilot for the first time. For me, I remember being very cold working on that pilot and it was just a crazy experience for me as an actor.

Pop Culture Principle – Early on in the series, we find out that Maggie’s husband Jason had died in what she thought was an automobile accident. In the beginning, how did that tragedy help her as an FBI agent and hurt her as an FBI agent?

Missy Peregrym – I think it helps her because she would be really empathetic to people who lost someone that they loved, which is what we have to deal with a lot. There is a very deep connection already there, so she would be good at talking people down and talking them through situations.

It would hurt her because that would probably also trigger her hearing those things and having to be a part of it especially if it’s similar in terms of relationships. So, I think like life, everything terrible that you go through has its benefits and can also tear you down.

Pop Culture Principle – The dynamic between Maggie and her partner OA is fun to watch. Maggie is more of a think first, then react kind of agent where OA likes to go by his gut reaction, which can be an issue sometimes. Do you like the fact that they are still feeling each other out as partners as the show continues?

Missy Peregrym – Yes. I think that that was really important. I didn’t want it to be that we knew each other really well and would know what each other would do next. We each come from very different backgrounds. Maggie is highly calculated and has been a part of law enforcement for a long time, so there are rules for a reason. OA is incredibly reactionary and it makes it very interesting as a dynamic. This year, we haven’t explored that in the same way yet because we’ve been working together now and I think we’ve shown that we’ve connected and we know how to read each other a little better.

Pop Culture Principle – Although they are still feeling it other out, they really do seem to trust each other. How important has that aspect of the relationship been for Maggie on the job and personally?

Missy Peregrym – It was something that we had to be very sensitive about. It mattered to me that we had conflict in a way that was appropriate. I didn’t want to be fighting with each other and not see each other’s point of view just for the sake of drama. I wanted it to be rooted in the fact that we were both very good at what we did in different ways.

As far as partnerships go in any position and job that you have, you have to take the good with the bad and you have to learn how to communicate with each other to work to make sure that you both can excel in your positions. You are going to have difficult moments and it’s going to be risky. Even to have those conversations is risky.

So, I really like that it’s not about tearing each other down. You can be frustrated, but to see the value of what the other person brings to the table is something that I think we do well. I would love to get into more definitive stuff in terms of us because we are very much a procedural show and I am always welcoming more character stuff.

Pop Culture Principle – Later on in the first season, we find out that Maggie’s husband Jason, who was an investigative reporter, had actually been murdered. It must have turned her world upside down. Do you think that Maggie should have been pulled from the case that was connected to her husband’s murder?

Missy Peregrym – That totally flipped my world because I didn’t know that was going to happen. I don’t even know if the writers really knew that as well. I don’t know how late that came in to play, which is also very exciting about first seasons.

The whole thing is that Maggie had to appeal to Sela Ward’s character as a human. From female to female, it might not be the right thing to do, but please for my own good, my life and my job, please let me be able to try and move forward from this tragedy.

As far as keeping her on the case, that’s a tough one. It was a risky thing to do, but because of Maggie’s track record, ethics and how much she cares to actually do the right thing, I think that helped her to stay on the case. The risky thing is that it is a very emotional experience and that’s why it is so risky. Even if Maggie is really great at her job, emotion over powers logic very easily in a moment.

I loved that Maggie got the opportunity to fight the women that ordered the hit on her husband. The writers had something planned out, but Maggie definitely could have killed the person that ruined her life. There was so much more that Maggie could have done and that was really a restrained situation. I think Maggie really just wanted to put it to rest and also put it to rest for the next season. This was the finale to that emotional baggage that she had been carrying around. I think that we have to make decisions like that all the time because we are humans and that’s the stuff that is really fun to watch.

As much as we can do that in the show, I think it makes the drama entertaining because one of the most boring things in the world is when characters have it together. We don’t have it together and we want to care. We want to be strong at times, but we also want to have that vulnerably because we are human. I don’t care how good you are at your job; you are going to have really bad days and you are going to make bad judgment calls.

We are affected by the experiences of our past, so we never going to have the same perspective and point of view as the ones around us all the time and that is how we are going to make this show interesting. Federally, there are only so many types of cases that we can take care of. That part is going to be repetitive, so I want it to be interesting to watch our characters develop and learn about them and see how they deal with these things. I think that is why the viewers come back.

Pop Culture Principle – The scene where Maggie tries to convince Special Agent in Charge Dana Mosier to keep her on the case was incredible. Can you talk about working that scene with actor Sela Ward?

Missy Peregrym - The whole thing is that Maggie had to appeal to her as a human. From female to female, it might not be the right thing to do, but please for my own good, my life and my job, please let me be able to try and move forward from this tragedy. I was really happy with where that scene got to and what we did with it.

Pop Culture Principle – Heading into the second season of FBI, will the death of her husband still haunt Maggie and will we see her finally be able to deal with and move on from his death?

Missy Peregrym – We talk about it a little bit because time has passed because that type of thing really affects how you carry yourself in your job and everyday life. So, the intention is that we kind of move forward, not that we just ignore it and she’s over it all of a sudden. There are circumstances that come up that really challenge Maggie and why and how to move forward. Again, we are only starting the seventh episode right now and I have no idea what is coming up next, but so far, that is definitely discussions that are on the table.

Pop Culture Principle – Although the series deals with a lot of stuff that is happening in our world today, the show still distances itself from politics. Would you agree with that and how important has that been for the success of FBI?

Missy Peregrym – We are trying to and it’s really tricky because politics is one of the things that causes the most unrest. I think that we’ve dealt with some things, but we try not to take a stance on how we feel about it, especially personally in the show. It’s very important to me that we don’t glamourize this stuff. There are things that are so serious that are happening in this country and while it is good for our show in the sense that it is a reality and we can pull from those things, I don’t want to use that stuff just for entertainment because it is still a problem in this country. I think we really do have to be careful because I don’t want to use that stuff for ratings.

Again, I think the way around that is to humanize the characters that we have as much as we can. Even with a bad guy, and there are some that are just truly evil, but I am saying the point is to find understanding and try and sort this out.

We are a 45-minute show, so at the end of the day, there is only so much storytelling that we can do that is character-driven because it’s mainly about solving the case. I feel very sensitive to that when I see scripts. I want to make sure that we aren’t making a judgement or making sure that it’s not coming across inappropriately, as much as I can control that. I am not in the writer’s room and nobody is trying to disrespect or take sides in a situation. As actors, something will come up and you want to be very careful with how it comes across.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the second season of FBI?

Missy Peregrym – We have a new SAC played by Alana de la Garza who is fantastic and she brings a bit of a different dynamic there. We also have a new character played by John Boyd. Kristen Chazal, who was an analyst, is now in the field and structurally, it’s fun to kind of watch us tag team situations and it’s also really great for my schedule because last year was exhausting! 😊

Pop Culture Principle – We’ve been hearing about the possibility of a crossover event between FBI, Law & Order: SVU and Chicago P.D. Anything you can tell us about this possibly happening?

Missy Peregrym – I am sure they would love to do that, but logistically that would be hell. I mean, I could see doing a crossover quicker with say, FBI: Most Wanted. The reason I am saying that it would be difficult with SVU and Chicago P.D. is because it would be two networks.

I think Maggie meeting Hank Voight for the first time would be really interesting. I have a feeling that there would be some fighting immediately, but it would be really fun. It would be fun to see how we fit into each other’s world, especially the characters that are so well-developed and have been on the air a long time. That would be very interesting.

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We had an amazing time talking with Missy Peregrym. We thank her for taking the time out of her schedule to talk with us. The second season of FBI premieres on Tuesday, September 24th at 9/8c only on CBS!

**All photos courtesy of Elizabeth Fisher/Mark Schafer/Jeff Neumann/Michael Parmelee/David Giesbrecht/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved**

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