Jeremy Sisto Gives Intel on 'FBI' Season 3 and Talks Longevity of 'Law & Order'
Jeremy Sisto is being recognized by the North Fork TV Festival with its Canopy Award for his diverse resume and quality work in everything from Law & Order to FBI. The veteran actor follows last year’s recipient Kelsey Grammer and will accept the honor October 17 during an exclusive drive-in event at the Castello di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue, New York.
We sat down with Sisto to talk about receiving the award. The 46-year-old also gives us some intel about what’s next for Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Jubal Valentine as production for Season 3 of FBI gets underway.
What does winning this year’s North Fork TV Film Festival Canopy Award mean to you?
Jeremy Sisto: I think it’s cool. I’m honored to be acknowledged. I think it’s exciting to be part of a festival that is supportive of the idea of independent TV. Television has changed so much. It offers an opportunity for filmmakers to tell out-of-the-box stories in a new way and take chances.
Independent TV is rich and utilized, I feel, a few times in a very successful way. It seems that is where the future is. I’m excited to be part of a festival that appreciates that concept. Many greats have been honored in the past, so I’m in good company.
Now that work has begun again on FBI, what can you tell us about Jubal this season? Are there changes to his leadership? Can we expect any Jubal-centric episodes and exploring more of his family?
We shot the first episode. But the second episode, we got the script and it’s a big Jubal episode. He has to dig into his past through a period when he was drinking heavily and where addiction got a hold of him and his life.
You meet his ex-partner who he might have had a romantic relationship with during the dissolving of his life and marriage. It sounded like a difficult time.
It turns out a case comes up that might have put into question what he had figured out when he was on another case because of his drinking and life being off the rails.
There is definite soul-searching to not only solve the case at hand but to continue to come to terms with his life when it went off the rails the way it did.
Now that Maggie Bell [Missy Peregrym] is back from her assignment, will the team dynamics change given she was gone and what she may have gone through?
She comes back with this new relationship in her life that has come from that. She also had some challenges when being undercover on a case. There is some stuff that happened where she has to come to terms with and deals with. It lays a challenge out in their connection. Maggie Bell is a professional at the end of the day. She comes back to our world with as much fervor and intensity as she had before.
With the familiar face comes a new one in Tiffany Wallace (Katherine Renee Turner). What does Jubal think of her?
Jubal is an open guy. He does a lot of background research. He knows a lot of people. There isn’t anyone he doesn’t have some kind of understanding of with where they’ve been and up to. He is happy to have her there, as far as I know, but sometimes writers spring things on you. She is excited to get out here to do more exciting work. She is tough. She is not afraid to step out and say what she feels.
I think Jubal is interested to see how the partnership goes. That’s a big thing with this. He wants to make sure these two go together. They don’t necessarily come from the same world. Stuart Scola [John Boyd] was a hedge fund guy and came through that route. I think Jubal has a feeling this is going to be a really good partnership but with bumps in the road.
Will we see any impact on any of the FBI characters from their time working with Chicago P.D.’s Hailey Upton [Tracy Spiridakos] last season?
I don’t know if that is going to affect much. I think her character needed a break from whatever was going on in that storyline. It kind of worked out that she applied for this coordination and cooperation. She came to work with us a bit. I don’t know if it is going to affect us beyond that.
Dick Wolf’s universe keeps expanding. Is there a show you’d like FBI to cross over with next or a show you’d like to guest on solo similar to what Tracy did?
It would be fun if we got to go to Chicago and cooperate in a case with them. It would be great to work together with SVU, the most successful Law & Order show. I know there is a new [Law & Order spinoff] with Organized Crime with [Christopher] Meloni. We’ll see where that one goes.
I think it’s a lot of fun for the fans when you see people in different worlds. It speaks to who the FBI is, a non-political crime fighting group there to work with whoever. All these organizations are excited to work with them. They have amazing reach and resources. I think it’s a storyline that is easily explored by jumping on other stores.
You had a nice run on Law & Order. What do you make of the show’s longevity? What kind of detective do you think Cyrus Lupo would be today?
What was cool about that show was the realness, the rawness of it. The structure is something that was mastered as well. This kind of real, unglamorous view of the job. This grittiness. It was an interesting time because New York had transitioned to being a safer place and a less gritty place than it was then when the show premiered. That would be different today.
I think Lupo was always fairly brooding and mild mannered in certain ways. I think he might have skirted some controversy in the issues of today. But I know police are very present with the evolution of their jobs, calling out the ones that are not doing it correctly or coming to the table with bias or insensitivity or racisms or something that needs to be flushed out.
I’m sure they would have handled that. I didn’t see the episode but the showrunner of our show Rick Eid, he also runs Chicago P.D. Their last episode was about a cop operating from a bad place. So those issues would have been tackled in a different way because Law & Order was very much based around the cases and getting to the bottom of cases with personal situations and complications being apart of it as well. It would have all definitely been part of the conversation.
CBS recently aired Clueless on their Sunday Movie Nights where fans went back in a time machine and saw you in an early role of Elton. What do you make of the movie’s ever-lasting fandom?
It’s a pretty amazing thing. It’s hard for me to see that movie objectively. To have this constant re-acceptance of each generation of it is pretty amazing. My daughter dressed up as the characters with her friends a year ago or so. I grew up watching The Breakfast Club, so I always thought about how the cast thought of that when I was in my 20s.
I realize now I couldn't have understood what it would have meant back then because everything means something slightly different. For me, it’s an appreciation for just being in something significant to people generation to generation.
Season 3 of FBI, TBD, CBS
News 12+ will exclusively air the Canopy Award discussion with this year’s recipient, Jeremy Sisto; the global premiere of Superuser Do, which is the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Science + Tech Pilot Script Competition; and the winner of the festival’s independent pilot competition Slayed by Divya November 7 at 7 p.m. in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.