‘Containment’ Star Chris Wood Previews Series Finale

Annette Brown/The CW
Chris Wood

It seems the quarantine worked all too well. CW wraps up Containment, its series about a lethal viral epidemic in Atlanta, on Tuesday.

The show may have only lasted one season, but we’ll be seeing a number of its stars soon again on TV, including two on Containment producer Julie Plec’s other CW series: Kristen Gutoskie (the ill-fated Katie) picked up a recurring role on The Vampire Diaries as a nanny to two young kids (could they be the Caroline and Alarick budding witch twins?) and Christina Marie Moses (the take-charge Jana) joins The Originals as a bisexual ER doc and, as it happens, a werewolf.

Chris Wood, who played Jake, the troubled cop whose tragic love for Katie, was at the heart of Containment, is jumping ship to PBS’s Civil War drama Mercy Street (See more about the role below). The actor previews the finale as the good guys race to find a cure as times runs out for those left in what soon could be called the dead zone.

The surviving major characters trapped in quarantine are at various crossroads when the finale opens. How dangerous will it be for them?
There’s the always present threat of the virus, and of getting caught doing something they shouldn’t be. Jana, Suzy (Nadine Lewington) and Quentin (Zachary Unger) are in the tunnels trying to get out, a task getting more dangerous every moment. The finale definitely adds to the body count, but the show begins to move towards a resolution. A lot of our characters are going to have to make massive, life-altering decisions about who they want to be. There’s some much needed healing and retribution, and hopefully a reunion or two.

There’s been so much false hope looking for a cure for the killer plague. What is Dr. Cannerts (George Young) up to now?
Cannerts and Jake are working together to see if they can’t find more immune people inside the quarantine, despite the low odds. They need to do more tests and need more people as subjects. They have no idea what is being done outside the quarantine.

Chris Wood in Jake's protective gear.

Chris Wood in Jake’s protective gear.

After all he has gone through, including the death of his new love Katie, how will be Jake be affected by what happened in the cordon?
Jake has gotten a pretty lousy deal throughout the whole quarantine, but in the last three episodes we saw him getting relentlessly pounded by his environment. He has started this ‘rebirth’ process as a man, going through all of these changes, and he’s about to come to a crossroads where he’s going to have to choose which way his story will end. Is he going to step up and be the hero, or be defeated by the cordon? Jake might very well have just given up and been destroyed by the virus or himself if it weren’t for having Katie in his life.

What did he learn from Katie, a onetime addict turned selfless schoolteacher?
He has learned to love someone other than himself, and to put someone else’s needs before his own. That has opened up a whole new version of Jake, one that hopefully he can retain. He has a new sense of purpose and a will to survive to honor her memory and become who she would have wanted him to become.

Will Katie’s young son Quentin become his responsibility?
Absolutely. He loves this kid, and will do anything to fulfill his promise to Katie. Quentin is all he has left of that happiness, and he knows that the kid needs him in order to survive.

Now that the team of dogged cop Lex (David Gyasi) and reporter Leo (Trevor St. John) have evidence that the CDC bigwig Sabine Lommers (Claudia Black) originated the pathogen for her own twisted reasons, will she get her comeuppance?
Lex and Leo will stop at nothing to make sure she gets what she deserves. And she deserves quite a bit.

Any major surprises in the episode?
The characters don’t end up where you expect them to.

Was it a tough series to do?
Definitely an exhausting show emotionally. Some extreme lows for Jake over the course of the season, and a massive overall change. It’s fulfilling work, getting to search these nooks and crannies of ourselves that we wouldn’t normally visit. Not to mention all the heartache this guy had to go through… I needed a beer and a ballgame (or two) when we wrapped, taking Jake’s advice.

How was acting for untold hours wearing that claustrophobic visored helmet that kept your character protected from the virus?
Heavy. And sweaty. That thing became like my left arm by the end of the season.

Chris Wood as Jake and Kristen Gutoskie as Katie.

Chris Wood as Jake and Kristen Gutoskie as Katie.

That no-touching sex in the shower scene between Katie and Jake, when they had to keep the curtain between them so as not to infect each other, was both erotic and heartbreaking. What was the mood on the set that day?
Those scenes always tend to be more mechanical and bizarre than they look, but I wouldn’t want to ruin all the magic for everyone. It’s usually someone yelling at you from the other room, “Yeah, great! Just move your arm to the left… perfect. No, no, touch the curtain again. Get that in focus. Greeeeaaaat.”

What did you learn about bioengineered epidemics? Are you afraid of anyone who sneezes now?
Epidemics now terrify me. I never paid too much attention to them before, but working on this show has definitely heightened my sensitivity to outbreaks. Imagining a deadly disease spreading in an urban environment, like on the show, and knowing that outbreaks really do happen… it would be horrific.

Containment is a story about a killer virus, but in the end, how else do you see it?
The show is about normal, everyday people being put in a situation that they’re entirely unprepared to handle. At its core, it’s about the potential good in humanity and the ability for heroes to rise up in unlikely candidates.

Your last two roles were The Vampire Diaries’ demonic witch Kai and Containment’s volatile but decent cop. What’s next?
I’ll be appearing in the second season of Mercy Street, the Civil War drama on PBS. I play a Union captain who is lodging with the [Confederate sympathizing] Green family, and strikes up a romance with one of the daughters (played by my former Carrie Diaries co-star, AnnaSophia Robb!). He’s a good guy… although I suppose that depends on your perspective. You’ll have to wait and see!

Containment, Series Finale, Tuesday, July 19, 9/8c, The CW.