FBI: MOST WANTED: Julian McMahon Shares Jess' Struggles with Saying Goodbye (For Now) to Tali - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI: MOST WANTED: Julian McMahon Shares Jess’ Struggles with Saying Goodbye (For Now) to Tali

January 4, 2022 by  

Julian McMahon Jess Tali

“Incendiary” – The team hunts for a young man who is using napalm-style bombs to attack his targets. Also, with Tali away, Jess and Sarah begin to adjust to their empty nest, on the CBS Original series FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Jan. 4 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.
Pictured (L-R) Julian McMahon as Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix, YaYa Gosselin as Natalia “Tali” LaCroix and Jen Landon as Sarah Allen
Photo: Mark Schafer/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

After risking everything to save his family on the last episode of FBI: MOST WANTED’s 2021 run, Jess (Julian McMahon) has a more grounded threat ahead of him on the Tuesday, January 4 hour, “Incendiary”: Tali (YaYa Gosselin), his daughter, leaves home to go to her dream school.

“I think he’s struggling already,” McMahon says. “In the scene that we see [that] she gets accepted [to the school] in the Christmas episode, I don’t know if you could see it, but I certainly tried to play him [reacting], ‘God, please. No, no.’ He was hoping it was a big no, and [the problem] was gonna get solved for him and he wouldn’t even have to think about it.”

“Now the fact that it’s like there and, and it’s real, I think there’s some issues for Jess,” he continues. “I think he’s going to have some problems because he’s lost something. In a way, he kind of held on to Tali because of the death of his wife—[Tali] was the cornerstone. It’s an interesting thing, because at some point she was going to leave home, anyway, because of college or whatever. But the cornerstone of your existence, you’ve been placing everything on it. It’s almost like that placard, that thing that you go, that’s my home base right there. That’s my sign of truth, my connection, my reality, my groundedness, all of those things. He put it all in her. So I don’t think he even knows where he’s at if she’s leaving him.”

But this is hardly the first parenting hardship Jess has experienced during the run of FBI: MOST WANTED. Jess was a single parent for much of the series—relying on help from his deceased wife’s family in season 1, and getting some assistance from his new girlfriend, Sarah (Jen Landon), starting in season 2. And trauma hit close to home in the season 2 finale when Sarah’s ex attacked her newfound family and Jess was forced to kill him.

“Because of the type of shows that we do, we have moments of time where we can express what that is,” McMahon notes. “We have moments—usually beginning and/or end [of the episode] and maybe something’s smaller in the middle relates to Tali or the family. So you have to express things in a really short period of time. I was always trying to find, in the time frame that we have, how do you express that journey? And after the end of season 2, where [Tali] witnessed what she witnessed, I don’t think Jess knew how to handle it.”

“What happened in the first few episodes of season 3 was Jess just going trying to go along—and unsuccessfully, by the way—as if life was normal,” he continues. “And in a way that’s his normal, right? Because he sees this all the time. He’s obviously found his way to process and deal…and then also the necessity of going back to work and solve more crimes. He didn’t know how to have a relationship in that environment, under those circumstances. And I think that that created a problem. I think that there was a problem anyway, because how would that not be a problem? But I really wanted him—and I’m not sure it came across completely—to be floundering there. I wanted him to be missing the cues. There was stuff that we had with Tali vaping—clearly these are signs. And Sarah keep saying to him, ‘You’ve got to pay attention. There’s something going on.’ He’s just trying to…he lives the life that he lives. He just wants home to be a comfort zone.”

In the absence of that safe space, “he wants to try to put the pieces back together,” McMahon says. “And he doesn’t know how. And I’ve always been interested in testing his abilities of communicating. I’ve always said that he was learning modern communication through his daughter. And, don’t forget, when we started with Jess in season 1, he was a pretty ornery guy. He didn’t take fools lightly, he got pretty nasty pretty quickly, and if he got upset with you, you’d know it, real fast. And it was his daughter who kind of made him have to—just out of the necessity to connect with each other—take a step back in regards to the way that he handled things and himself.”

“You’re talking about a guy who is really quite a beautiful character to play,” he continues. “But a guy who—and I love this about about the character—doesn’t always get it right. He doesn’t always…I know he kind of comes off as the hero a lot, because he does kind of get the bad guy, but that’s more about the format of what we’re doing. He’s a flawed guy who struggles. And one of the biggest struggles is how does he make everything okay at home? How does he communicate with his daughter? And I don’t know how you do that when what’s happened [has occurred]. So we’re gonna have to see how that plays out.”

FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesdays, 10/9c, CBS


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