Rush Hour Star Justin Hires Teases His Favorite Episode and Co-Star Chemistry (VIDEO)

Marisa Roffman
Rush hour, CBS Preview
Michael Yarish/CBS

Detectives Carter (Justin Hires) and Lee (Jon Foo) have settled into a new partnership in CBS’ Rush Hour. Now, it’s time for them to make Los Angeles a little bit safer.

Unfortunately for Carter, this week’s case hits a little bit close to home: his cousin, Gerald (Page Kennedy) gets in trouble and winds up in jail. But when Carter needs his help, he sneaks his cousin out of jail.

We spoke with Hires about the Rush Hour world, why Thursday’s episode is one of his favorites, the key chemistry with his costars.

Now that people have gotten a taste of the Rush Hour world, what has been the best response you’ve gotten to the show?
I think the best response is a few people texted me [Rush Hour film franchise star] Chris Tucker would be proud. I’m a huge fan of Chris Tucker’s; he’s one of the reasons I got into comedy. So for anyone—even if it’s one person—to say Chris Tucker would be proud of how I’m portraying my version of Detective Carter, that meant a lot to me.

What has the balance been like for you to be so familiar with another actor’s work, and yet play a character that is loosely based on one they’ve played, too?
I just knew the success of the show—or part of the success of the show—really relied on me bringing myself to this character. I knew no one wanted to see me doing a Chris Tucker impersonation for 13 episodes. And so I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for almost nine years, and I’ve delivered my own comedic voice and timing doing so. I took all those years and years of trying to hone my craft into making this character as Justin Hires as possible. And really bring Justin Hires to the character, to Detective Carter.

So much of the show depends on the relationship between Carter and Lee. Is there anything special you felt you needed to do with Jon to get that right?
Honestly, we’re naturally somewhat like our characters. (Laughs) He’s a natural introvert, and I’m a natural extrovert. It creates a natural yin and yang dynamic, on and off screen. I think that’s what helped the film work, and that’s what makes the TV series work: you don’t have to force any kind of chemistry. It’s the natural pairing of the odd couple. We spent so much time together that he’s almost like a brother to me. We spent more time with each other than we did with our own personal families.

I’ve just seen him for the first time in a while the other day. We hugged it out—that’s like my brother!

One of the fun additions to the Rush Hour world has been meeting more of Carter’s family. What has it been like having that element, especially Gerald, in the mix?
Incredible. I tell Page he has the easiest job; the best job on the show. It takes eight days to shoot an episode. Page only works two to three days out of the episode. He shows up, and he doesn’t have to do any cop jargon—he cracks a joke and then leaves. (Laughs) And I’m pretty sure he gets a bigger check than me. So I always tell him he has the best job on the show.

Our chemistry is incredible. We actually worked together before we were cast on Rush Hour: we used to do online videos, like Vine videos. Even back then, people in the comments sections used to ask if we were related. It’s just ironic we both booked Rush Hour and we’re playing cousins on the show. So, I love working with him. He’s hilarious.

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Michael Yarish/CBS

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In this week's episode, Carter is getting in a bit of trouble thanks to Gerald. What will the ramifications of that be?
I almost lose my job again. Carter, constantly, is almost losing his job; because he just does whatever he thinks is the best thing to do to solve these cases. I talk about it in that particular episode: I’m more of a leap first and look second type of person.

It is actually one of my very favorite episodes, and I’m glad it’s going to be the second episode, because it is loaded with action. Page’s fight sequence—him and Jon Foo at the end of the show is amazing. They work together to beat up some bad guys, and it’s spectacular. I look pretty good myself. I don’t look too shabby, but I think people are going to love the next episode.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about in the rest of Season 1?
I’m really excited for people to see the action and the comedy and the drama with this show. There are no action-comedies on television, I don’t believe, right now. I think what’s so great about Rush Hour is that it’s almost like watching a mini-movie every episode. It’s shot very cinematically. The explosions are real; that’s not CGI-explosions. The action is real, the stakes are high, and hopefully people get a few laughs along the way.

Given the action requirements of the show, what is your comfort level with the stunts required?
Ironic enough, I’m a first degree black belt. I got it so long ago. However, my body is still somewhat in fighting shape. I’m still capable to take on the physicality of the show. So even my Detective Carter is a little bit more agile than I think the film franchise Carter was.

That being said, it was funny, I told Jon Foo when we first met, “I’m a first degree black belt.” And he said, “That’s cute. I’ve been training for 20 years.” (Laughs) It’s a pleasure to watch Jon Foo work, because that is a real martial artist, and it’s great to see him fight.

What I’m hoping for, actually, is if we get a Season 2, the Lee character teaches Carter some moves, and I can start using some moves.

Looking at the entirety of Season 1, what were your favorite fight sequences?
We did a drug lab fight scene, and I love it because I get beat up by an old man. (Laughs) There’s an old man in the scene I think I can take, and then he ends up kicking the hell out of me and then knocking me out.

I had a very extensive fight scene in the one that revolves around a haunted house almost. There’s a fight scene in the kitchen where myself and Lee were fighting a bunch of chefs. That was my most extensive fight scene, and I just saw it [the other day] for the first time, and it’s great. I’m really proud of it.

That was directed by [Psych star] James Roday. I think while shooting, that was the funniest episode. I don’t know all the jokes that are going to end up in the final cut, but just being on set, that was the funniest one we shot. And James Roday he was so great. He would always come up with comedic buttons for the end of these scenes, and it really helped each scene, I believe. He was great.

And check out an exclusive scene from this week's episode of Rush Hour!


Rush Hour airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS.