Wendell Pierce on ‘Jack Ryan’ Season 4 Thrill Ride & ‘Good Wife’ Spinoff ‘Elsbeth’

Wendell Pierce in Jack Ryan - Season 2 - 'Dressed To Kill'
Sarah Shatz / Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

The upcoming fourth season of Jack Ryan is expected to be its last.

Still, The Wire alum Wendell Pierce, who plays James Greer in the political action thriller, is expected to transition into a police procedural series set within The Good Fight and The Good Wife legal drama franchise.

In TV Insider’s exclusive interview with Pierce, we discussed what to expect from the final season of the John Krasinski-led series, as well as what viewers can expect from the upcoming Elsbeth series, including insight on the titular character (played by Carrie Preston), info on who he will play, and the show’s format.

What can you tell us about the upcoming final season of Jack Ryan?

First of all, keeping in the Jack Ryan tradition, it is going to be a thrill ride. It is going to be a multi-layered, multifaceted multi-country conspiracy thrill ride. Think Three Days of the Condor, think The Parallax View, think The Conversation, one of those great espionage stories that take you down so many twists and turns and involve so many different people and so many different agendas and dangers.

That sounds exciting. It sounds like you guys are going full throttle to end it on a cinematic note.

Yes, yes, it is very much. So it’s gonna be very thrilling, very climactic, and very much in the vein of what we’ve tried to salvage with [Jack Ryan] so far. And you won’t have to wait so long cause the pandemic put us in a place where it was years between the second and third season. It won’t be that long for this one.

Was everything kind of “back to normal” coming into Season 4?

You know, because of the pandemic. We saw what a wrench that threw into production. So when we found a way to go into production in the midst of the pandemic, we went full throttle. So Season 4 was shot back to back with Season 3, so it’s already in the can. We did two seasons back to back to make sure that once we got started, you know, that we’re able to finish. So it’s, it’s already in the can.

JACK RYAN, (aka TOM CLANCY'S JACK RYAN), from left: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Falcon', (Season 3, ep. 301, aired Dec. 21, 2022). photo: Philippe Antonello / ©Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

Philippe Antonello / ©Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

Wow. So you’re coming off of doing two seasons of Jack Ryan, and then you’re transitioning to this new series that got announced recently. You will be in the upcoming Elsbeth series, which is a spinoff.

Yes, it is. You go from the universe of stories that were in the books in the movies and the origin story of Jack Ryan in that series. And now continuing on to another franchise, really, which started with The Good Wife and then The Good Fight. And now it’s Elsbeth, which is a spinoff of that. It’s a continuation of a character that was a part of The Good Wife. And now she has her own show. Elsbeth is an investigative lawyer, and I play in New York Police Department Captain, Captain C.W. Wagner. And he is a very complicated man. Like, a very complicated man. And as with all the characters in The Good Wife, there’s more to them than meets the eye. That’s all I can say right now.

[…] And the reason for that is we’re shooting the pilot, and there’s more writing to be done. [Laughs] The writers and producers give me an idea of who the man is and where they would like to take him, but we only have the initial stories to start. But now, the thing that I do know is that from week to week, the show begins with a crime. A very impactful case that the audience is fully involved from the very beginning. And so they, too, like us in the show, are in the vein of being an investigative detective and lawyer, I like the characters. And there’s the uniqueness of Elsbeth’s way of working, that gives us something that we’ve never seen in our sort of very rigid world of legal and law enforcement worlds, you know, we have a way of doing things. She’s quirky, she’s different. And she has an unorthodox way of investigating things. And so that sets up a road for conflict. [At] the same time, there’s a thriller, each show opens with this major criminal event, a crime that we all have to solve.

So it’s sort of like a week-to-week case solving them at the end of each episode or one continuous narrative?

That’s the great thing about the show, there’s both. There’s the anthology aspect to the show, that is something that […] is something that is ongoing. But I can’t talk about that! [Laughs]

Jack Ryan, Season 4, TBA 2023, Prime Video

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.