American Odyssey’s Jake Robinson on What Last Night’s Shocker Means for the Finale

Peter Kramer/NBC

The three whistleblowers at the center of NBC’s conspiracy thriller American Odyssey don’t have much to pucker up about as the show heads towards its finale (whether it’s the season or series ender hasn’t been officially announced yet.) In Mali, Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel) has been tortured from Bamako to Timbuktu, while New York corporate attorney Peter Decker (Peter Facinelli) has lost his job and his marriage. But last night, idealistic political activist Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson) was dealt the harshest blow. He discovered that it was his lover Ruby Simms (Daniella Pineda) who had killed his journalist father as hit woman for Osela. And then, in front of him, she committed suicide by cop!

This episode was a stunner. It would have been better for Harrison to take up his friend Bob Offer’s romantic overture than fall for an Osela assassin! Did Harrison let sexual attraction cloud his good sense?

Definitely to a certain extent. [Fans] got increasingly more frustrated with Harrison trying to figure out who killed his father and relying on Ruby for help. They were like, ‘Why don’t you listen to Bob!’ It’s easy to forget that Bob is a little cuckoo, and there’s been a couple of times where he’s screwed Harrison over and not shown up or delivered what he promised. Remember the cat video! While Harrison was going through troubles with his former girlfriend Anna, who wanted him to just go to the authorities about his dad’s murder, Ruby kept showing up to help him. Initially that gravitated him toward her, as well as the fact that she was an attractive girl. But it definitely would have been easier for him to have a happy relationship. I loved the scene in a few episodes back when Bob tried to kiss Harrison. It very easily could have been, “Dude! What the hell are you doing?” But he felt bad for the guy. It was uncomfortable, but he knows it came from a place of loneliness. Actually, Nate Mooney, who plays Bob, and I always joke that there should be a spin-off where Bob and Harrison run off to Bermuda together. But Ruby was a femme fatale.

Was there any other choice besides killing off Ruby?

No. I don’t think there was any other conclusion to her storyline. The interesting thing is that we, as actors, knew that from the beginning of the season. What she did was unforgiveable for Harrison. Ideally, she’s a tragic figure and hopefully the audience did start to feel for her a little bit, to see how conflicted and troubled she was and how rough her past was.

Would Harrison have been tough enough to kill her if she hasn’t done it herself?

If he had to, he could have. But I think Ruby’s intention was always to take her own life and not make Harrison do it. It’s kind of a heroic last act. She held a little hope that her relationship with Harris would have bene enough for him to forgive her, but it was pretty clear that there was no going back after he learned about his father.

Is that impressive tattoo on Ruby’s shoulder Daniella’s real tatt?

That’s Daniella’s. It has some kind of Aztec or Mayan meaning. It’s her heritage; she’s part Mexican.

How does the revelation and Ruby’s suicide affect Harrison in upcoming episodes?

He totally spirals out of control emotionally. He had never really processed his father’s violent death until the last scene with Ruby. To find out his killer was the person you potentially love is absolutely devastating for him. He did care for her. That effect on him will carry through next season if we are lucky enough to have one. He is wounded He ends the season in a dark place emotionally.

This is a show where the three stars don’t meet for most of the season. You actually had your first exchange with Peter Facinelli last night.

We’d only done press together and went to dinner a couple of times. He’s a dedicated and thoughtful actor and it was really satisfying to finally get to do something with him. We were both filming in New York, but we never really worked on the same day.

Will Harrison partner up with Peter, as Peter wants, to expose Osela and its corrupt employer Societal Mining?

Peter sees that Harrison has information, but Harrison doesn’t trust him and after what happened with Ruby, it’s going to be really tough for them to collaborate. He will keep working with Bob to work out the mysteries.

Will Harrison and Peter meet Odelle this season? Anna Friel, of course, had been working in Morocco, acting with a whole other set of characters.

They don’t necessarily meet this season at all. Anna was out there on her own. She’s been a wonderful awesome hero on the show.

The show seems to be on the endangered list. Will the current conspiracy story be wrapped up in the season finale? Will the Societal Mining and Osela storylines be concluded and Odelle come home?

There are some very satisfying moments in the finale, although it’s not built as a series finale. There will be new questions, but I think the audience will have a lot of their questions answered.

Can you give us a little tease about the finale?

The world starts to learn the truth about Odelle Ballard—that she is alive and was not killed with the rest of her outfit in Mali. She and Aslam (Omar Ghazaoui) finally get to Europe and she has the chance to tell her story to the New York Times reporter. And she doesn’t get beat up in every episode any more. [Laughs] Back in New York, Societal Mining’s misdeeds are reverberating through Peter’s world. He’s lost his family, he has nothing to lose anymore. So he decides to really go for broke exposing them in the last two episodes. Harrison , at the same time, is trying to expose Ocela. Alex Kingston (Doctor Who) comes in as the CEO of Peter’s former company Simons- Wachtel. She’s the new bad guy in the last two episodes, which is awesome.

Will there be different corruptions to expose if there’s a new season, or will some of the bad guys return?

There will be new elements introduced, but the ongoing enemy of Societal will still be there. It’s not all resolved at the end.

In a time of Snowden, Wiki leaks, the NSA, what do you see as the main relevant issues of the show?

Definitely corporate personhood and what their rights are, and the influence corporations have in the Middle East with their contractors. We also dealt with child soldiers and Aslam’s transgender uncle had a beautiful storyline. It is very topical.

American Odyssey, Sundays, 10/9c, NBC