ALCATRAZ: Sarah Jones Talks ‘Johnny McKee,’ Why Rebecca is Keeping Her Cool and More
February 20, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
As if poor Rebecca Madsen hasn’t had enough problems during the first season of ALCATRAZ, the tease for tonight’s brand new episode says, “more details emerge about Madsen’s grandfather.” And given that so far her grandfather has killed her partner and was revealed to be an inmate at Alcatraz, odds are this isn’t going to be news that is particularly bright and shiny.
So what’s to come? I talked with ALCATRAZ star Sarah Jones (Rebecca) about “Johnny McKee,” dealing with those pesky serial killers, and why she’s happy with Doc and Rebecca remaining platonic…
What can you share about tonight’s episode?
Sarah Jones: We have Adam Rothenberg [in the hour], who’s fantastic. He plays Johnny McKee. He poisons people on a massive scale, not just one or two people here and there.
Part of the Fox tease for the hour also says that Rebecca finds out even more news about her grandfather. Is there anything you can share about that?
SJ: Um…[long pause] Oh man. Well, I can’t really tease anything. You’re going to have to watch.
Very interesting! Rebecca has had a whole lot of information throw at her in the past couple months. Is there anything that could be revealed to her at this point that could make her take a step back and let herself process all that has gone on?
SJ: I think Rebecca is the kind of person — it was briefly touched on in the pilot that she lost her parents at a very young age. She’s the kind of person that’s chosen to thrive and come out on top, no matter how difficult a situation might be. I think that she is going to get to the bottom of the case and not let anything stop her. But I think that for her, the switch just doesn’t turn off when it comes to Alcatraz. Because she’s so engrossed by it all, there’s no time to think about how mind-blowing and extraordinary the circumstance is involving the mystery and the ’63s coming back.
Basically, she’s got to keep her head to the ground to figure this out.
SJ: Right! And she’s a detective first, so she has to do her job first. She does have a sensitivity; it’s why she’s so patient with Doc, which I love. And she is kind of a balance in a way between Doc and Hauser. She’s not hardened like Hauser, but she’s got a thicker skin than Doc. She’s not naive to crime like Doc is, but she’s very young in her field. I think she has a balance between the two characters, and I think the writers do a good job of drawing a line in the stand, too.
Speaking of her relationship with the men in her life, television viewers almost have it ingrained at this point to expect some sort of romantic relationship on nearly every show, especially if there is a male-female duo as leads. So far on ALCATRAZ, it really doesn’t feel like they’re going there, but is that something that you guys have ever discussed about possibly touching on between Rebecca and Doc?
SJ: I don’t think anyone feels that way, that they’re anything more than platonic friends and partners. This might be more of a question to ask Jorge [Garcia (Doc)], because I think — and this is just from the writing — that Doc is a bit mesmerized by this girl that walked into his comic book store and has this life that he writes about in comics, almost, and the romance that comes with that graphic novel scenario. But I think they’re partners first and they’re friends first. I personally don’t see it going anywhere beyond that, and also, you know, he’s got a total crush on Nikki, who is fantastic.
I think it’s something that’s also a producer/writer question, but for our vibes, no. Jorge and I have talked about it, but I think they’re friends and partners first and they’ve got each others’ back. And I like that! I like that they’re not just going there because it’s a guy and a girl partnering up.
It’s nice to have something like that on TV, because it’s becoming increasingly rare on television that a guy and a girl can just be friends.
SJ: I completely agree. I completely agree. I think that’s their relationship.
On an entirely different topic, we have to talk about these crazy killers. Obviously, Alcatraz housed the worst of the worst criminals — and we’ve seen some truly heinous characters so far — but as an actor, does it ever become difficult dealing with those kinds of cases?
SJ: I think it definitely has an affect to a certain degree, where you’re thinking, “These writers, what have they come up with?” But I think the part that is pretty shocking is when you see the victims in the show, when [it looks like] their legs have been burned off from an explosion or people have been shot by a sniper, because the makeup department is so awesome and you’re around them, and you’re just thinking, “This looks bad.” I think it’s more the visual that starts the wear-and-tear.
Our schedule is just so go, go, go, it’s constantly moving, that you have time to think about where your character’s at, what your character is doing, and that’s about it. There’s not much time to ponder, “That guy was pretty fucked up!” [Laughs] But yeah, they are great episodes, and I have to say I really respect Fox for going for it, for just putting it out there and selling the fact that these guys were the worst of the worst.
They’re certainly not sugar-coating it so far.
SJ: No, and I don’t think you see that too much on network television. So I applaud them for that.
Is there any particular baddie or case you’re really excited for fans to see?
SJ: Well, you know, there might be a certain killer out there that I have an appreciation for, played by the wonderful, talented Theo Rossi [who will appear in the season's 10th episode]. But they’re all great. We’ve been so lucky, they come up here and give us 110%, and everyone we’ve gotten is so talented. We’re completely spoiled. I look forward to the guest cast every week because they’re phenomenal. April Webster and Sarah Isaacson [who do the casting for the series] have spoiled us rotten.
ALCATRAZ airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.
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