FBI: Jeremy Sisto Teases a Close-to-Home Case in the 'Challenging,' 'Really Exciting' Episode 'Prodigal Son' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI: Jeremy Sisto Teases a Close-to-Home Case in the ‘Challenging,’ ‘Really Exciting’ Episode ‘Prodigal Son’

May 24, 2022 by  

FBI season 4 finale preview

“Prodigal Son” – As the team investigates a deadly robbery that garnered a cache of automatic weapons for the killers, they discover one of the perps is a classmate of Jubal’s son, who is reluctant to cooperate with the case, on the fourth season finale of the CBS Original series FBI, Tuesday, May 24 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.
Pictured (L-R): Jeremy Sisto as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jubal Valentine.
Photo: David M. Russell/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

An investigation into a robbery spirals into something much more dangerous on the season finale of FBI. (Update: The episode will now air Tuesday, October 4.)

“There is this threat of a school shooting at my son’s school,” Jeremy Sisto, who plays ASAC Jubal Valentine, previews. “[It’s] just the notion of trying to keep your head together during that [investigation].”

Of course, Jubal has already had a rough year, with a case already hurting his (sick) son, and Rina (Kathleen Munroe) being murdered. So how will he handle this latest hurdler? Sisto offered a few teases…

Jubal has had a rough season so far. How is he tied up in the finale case?
There’s the threat of a possible school shooting, with a couple of young suspects that my son knows. So it’s a crazy setup. And Rick [Eid], our showrunner, wrote such a nuanced and just interesting, great script full of subtleties and subtext. I’m just really, really impressed by his writing. It’s also super exciting. I mean, it’s tragic, obviously. What’s going on with my son and the multitude of feelings and complicated emotions that go into parenthood and guilt and doubt and just love and complicated stuff with the ex-wife was fun to do. It was challenging. It was really exciting, because they really spend some time with these characters, and I’m very excited for people to see it.

Jubal is someone who has had to worry about his son, in terms of his health, in recent years. But this is a different level of being out of control…
It’s complicated, because of a couple things. First of all, it does touch on the truth of somebody who’s in a job where the stakes are this high, it does take something away from the amount of energy you have for your family. So there is the reality of that. And then there’s another reality where the guilt or self-doubt is just an ingredient in parenthood, kind of a healthy ingredient. And then there’s also another thing where kids have to go through a phase where they have complicated emotions towards the parents. And some of that is justifiable, some of it isn’t. Jubal is pretty great dad [with] his ability to see the end game and stay patient and stay loving. But it doesn’t make it any easier to go through this stuff.

And then, obviously, you throw in some huge stakes like a school shooting, just life or death stuff—when you’re trying to manage the more common complications of parenthood, preteen stuff, with a much more rare, high stakes of this plot. The way Rick was able to manage shifting back and forth between those ideas was pretty great. It really does speak to the reality. I’ve had dinner with FBI agents and friends that have to step away for a second to make some ridiculously high stakes call about whether or not to let somebody into the country who is probably okay, but maybe not, and then they’re able to do that and then come back and talk to me about a movie or something. [Laughs.] To do that in parental role takes a lot of skill to be able to pivot like that. So Jubal’s pretty impressive in this, but he’s also pretty human. He is pretty complicated. Rick wrote an awesome episode.

How is his son handling things?
He’s friends with one of the suspects. And it’s one of the only kids who is nice to him at school. He’s just feeling—he really lacks a lot of confidence in school, doesn’t really have a lot of friends. Just does not feel good about himself and we all understand that pain. And as a parent, we all go through some version of that. So you get to see how Jubal reacts to that, because every parent reacts differently. Some overdo it. Sometimes I can, by getting too involved and trying to help the situation. Others just say, ah, you’ll figure it out on your own. And the best route is probably somewhere in the middle.

Jubal is going through that, hearing that, and trying to understand that . And his son, he’s not to the extreme of wanting to pick up any weapons or anything, but his emotions are that big. His emotions are huge. A preteen kid going through this, feeling left out, cancer. And they’re just as big. So to value those as equally as this other thing, this person you’re trying to protect, this kid that you think is your friend, who is actually murdering people—to be able to switch back and forth from those two dynamics, it’s pretty tricky. And again, it’s just complicated. And Rick is a parent, and you can tell from that: he really understands all the different emotions that go into it.

How is Jubal’s headspace when we see him in the finale? We haven’t dug into his state of mind a whole lot in recent episodes, but he went through a lot between his son’s illness and losing Rina.
He is in a pretty good space. I think he’s pretty resilient and he loves his job and the importance of it and the stakes allow him to stay present in the moment.

But the part that this story does illuminate for him is that maybe what went missing a little bit is his ability to pivot back and forth. He’s been so focused ever since his girlfriend died and all the other crap that’s been going on and [his son’s] cancer, that he hasn’t allowed himself to even think about some of the hard stuff. Stay focused on the job. He’s there, but he hasn’t been as able to really fully consider the depths of his son’s pain. I would say on the surface he seems fine, but he hasn’t been able to perform on all levels in his life. And I think this particular storyline just really makes that clear.

Is there anyone in particular Jubal is leaning on as things get tough?
His ex-wife. I mean, it’s funny because they have such an interesting relationship and a couple times in this episode, they kind of revert to almost a dynamic that you might think they were still together; a dynamic that they had when they were still together or in their relationship. The way they’re communicating, the way they’re bickering a bit. In that way, sometimes the bickering and stuff with your spouse is a way of leaning on [them], because you’re able to vent some frustration in this kind of roundabout, indirect way that is actually more helpful than we understand. And so she’s really the only one.

Obviously, his team is there for him at the end, and it’s great to have that, but parenthood is one of those things that even if you’re not with the person, they’re the only other person that can truly understand what it is to love this person as much as you do and have such a deep concern. And they still have a lot of dynamic together. I just rewatched [a scene from the] first season, and it was when she was telling me that she’s marrying her new boyfriend. And you could tell it really hurt Jubal. It’s one of those former relationship things where you’re like, “How did we let this go? We kind of had a great thing.” And it was Jubal’s fault, obviously; he knows that. He messed up. He was an alcoholic and he screwed it up.

Looking to the show as a whole, the franchise just got a two-season pickup. What does that renewal mean to you?
It’s exciting, because it’s a vote of confidence. [Jokes.] But, I mean, they could fire me at any time.

But I’m just thrilled that they believe in it. And that’s pretty much what that is. It’s is just saying, “You guys are home. Get comfortable, and let’s keep going. Let’s keep exploring and seeing where these seasons lead.” And it’s great. So I just feel really grateful to be a part of it.

Obviously this is a procedural series, but with these two seasons, have you talked with the writers about whether there might be a bit more long-term storytelling in place, too?
No, I mean, listen, the show is working. They know the show well. I don’t get too involved in what the show should be, but from what I can tell, the audience really loves the procedural, and that’s what it is; it’s a procedural show. So that’s what I like about it is that it’s a show that’s about that, but also takes seriously the characters that are going through it, the agents that are going through it, and in their connection to how these cases are affecting their lives.

This one, I feel like it really allowed for the character stuff to breathe and in a way that was super fun to do and I love. But I’m just on this really well-run train. So I’m always kind of just looking for what Dick [Wolf]’s eye is seeing, and [executive producer] Peter [Jankowski] and his whole team, and, obviously, Rick, and everyone involved up there to see where they want the show to go.

There were a few episodes in there where my storyline was really central, and then it went in the background for a while. But I love just the JOC stuff. I think the JOC is so fun. It’s such a fun device that we didn’t know if we can make work or find a fresh look into. And I feel really positive that we have done that. Taylor [Anthony Miller], Vedette [Lim], James [Chen], and Roshawn [Franklin], and all the extras, the smaller characters in the JOC—I think it’s a great device and it’s really fun to go in there and try to bring it to life.

Jubal and Isobel (Alana De La Garza) have also had an interesting dynamic this season. What conversations have you had with Alana on how to play it?
I love working with Alana, and she just brings so much to everything she does. She’s just able to just jump in; I’m always so impressed with her. And I think it’s cool. I think their working relationship is great.

Early on, they tried to make us kind of go at each other a little bit, and I really played those moments down, hoping they would create a really cool working relationship. [Laughs.] Which it is! Jubal values Isobel’s authority.

The one thing that we’ve had to spend time trying to figure out is just how the JOC works, as a device and in reality, the ASAC, my character, he’s the one that runs that room. But she’s in there a lot helping out. And obviously she’s my superior. So figuring out a way to do it together, and honor that the ASAC runs the room, but is below the SAC, who’s got the ultimate control, that kind of dynamic is fun to kind of mold, especially because you know Jubal and Isobel have a great relationship and great friendship and they got each other’s backs, even if sometimes they go against what the other one thinks in heated moments. They really shared a lot over the years, and I think it’s great.

It’s fun to do; me and Alana had stuff to do on LAW & ORDER, but not like this. LAW & ORDER didn’t have the character-y stuff this one brings. So it’s been really fun to develop that with her.

FBI, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS


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