FBI Post-Mortem: Rick Eid and Jeremy Sisto on the 'Grief' Twist - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI Post-Mortem: Rick Eid and Jeremy Sisto on the ‘Grief’ Twist

January 11, 2022 by  

FBI Rina dies

“Grief” – As the team searches for an abducted college co-ed, Jubal becomes intent on obtaining lifesaving leads from the father of the abductor’s previous victim. Also, Jubal continues to grapple with the aftermath of Rina’s condition, leading to a tense encounter with her mother, on the CBS Original series FBI, Tuesday, Jan. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.
Pictured Jeremy Sisto as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jubal Valentine
Photo: David M. Russell/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Tuesday, January 11 episode of FBI, “Grief.”]

The FBI team was dealt another blow on the Tuesday, January 11 episode, “Grief,” when Rina (Kathleen Munroe)—who was shot thanks to Vargas’ (David Zayas) revenge plot—was taken off her life support.

For her boyfriend, Jubal (Jeremy Sisto), the loss was compounded by the fact he didn’t get to say goodbye…and this comes as his son is battling cancer. Though Jubal struggled, including pushing a grieving father too hard, he was eventually able to pull things together to do what needed to be done.

“As an actor, yeah, for sure, I’d like [him] to lose his mind more and more, but the truth of the character is he has worked very hard to get where he is in his sobriety,” Sisto notes. “And [also] in his life, with his ex-wife and his kid and his profession. I think he’s going to be able to maintain [it], but I really don’t know, and that’s kind of up to the writers.”

“What’s kind of cool about this they have over in [executive producer] Dick [Wolf]‘s world, at least on this show, because they have such a solid base of these action-packed, exciting stories that they can tell, it allows them the freedom to let the episodes air and see how [the teases of personal storylines resonate],” he continues. “See what people respond to and then they can choose to continue that emotional storyline later on.”

Sisto credits the reaction to last season’s episode where Jubal’s son became ill —as well as the past stories about Jubal’s struggles with alcohol—with the writers digging to his character more.

“[The writers have] built a very nice character that actually has a lot of different sides and yet makes sense,” Sisto praises. ” I always say that about when I was on SIX FEET UNDER…[SFU creator] Alan Ball and the writer, really understood this guy, and all his opposing sort of various facets. And so it was super exciting to play, because you’d read the new script and you’d be kind of shocked by what this character would do. And yet, you can understand very clearly how it was the same guy…And so obviously it’s a very different show, but I just feel that the [FBI] writers are really, really having fun with exploring Jubal.”

“I really like the character,” he continues. “Again, just grateful that they’re spending some real estate on continuing to explore [him]. But we’ll see where it goes.”

And, yes, Sisto is a bit worries about his character, too. “I would say, in my mind, if I were Jubal’s friend or therapist, I would say that it is a delicate time for him,” he acknowledges. “His sobriety is probably at risk. His mental state is definitely [at risk]…But whether or not he’s going to keep it together or not, is hidden behind the writers’ walls. And so I wait patiently, as do the fans.”

So what do the writers have to say? FBI boss Rick Eid answered a few questions about Rina’s death and what comes next via email…

What led to the decision to kill off Rina? And how will Vargas being tied to her death, even if it was a bit more delayed, impact the stakes of that storyline going forward?
Rina was a great character, but we never envisioned her being a permanent part of the show.  In fact, we originally cast her for just one episode — but [actress] Kathleen Munroe was so good and her relationship with Jubal was so interesting, we kept trying to find more stories for her. 

As for her dying…it wasn’t the plan, but then [FBI co-executive producer] Joe Halpin pitched the idea of Vargas [recurring guest star David Zayas] exacting revenge on the team from prison.  I couldn’t say no to that.

With Rina’s death, how will that shake up the team and the power dynamics in the office?
I don’t think the power dynamics will change too much. There will, however, be certain emotional and psychological ramifications to her death—especially with Jubal.   

Rina’s mother said she took the job to be closer to Jubal. But Jubal also acknowledged during the case that you can’t allow guilt and grief to overwhelm your life. How will he be handling that final encounter with her mother and the lack of closure/not being able to get a real goodbye?
He’ll try to focus on his work; try to block out his grief.  But, as we all know, that’s impossible.  So, we’ll see some of his guilt and remorse creep into various storylines as we move forward.

Jubal has been stretched fairly thin, between this and also his son’s ongoing illness. How will the ongoing trauma be playing out onscreen going forward? And will there be any light for him, story-wise in the near future?
You’ll see the emotional and psychological consequences of Rina’s death play out in storylines going forward.  It will be more subtle than drastic.  As for there being any light…I hope so!  Jubal takes great pride in his job; he loves supporting and mentoring his team members  So, even though we don’t shine a light on his lightness, so to speak, I think he finds joy in coming to work every day and knowing that he’s a crucial part of an elite FBI team.

Outside of this, what can you tease about what’s ahead?
We’ve got a lot of exciting episodes coming up! Upcoming stories include: Maggie going undercover; Scola working a case with a former love interest; and Isobel crossing paths with her estranged father.  We’re also trying to find a way to keep the Vargas storyline alive, as well.  

FBI, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS


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