She made Trekkies drool as the catsuit clad Seven of Nine on ”Star Trek: Voyager,” and now Jeri Ryan, 33, is heating up the classroom as Ronnie Cooke, a successful lawyer-turned-struggling teacher on ”Boston Public” (Fox, Mondays, 8 p.m.). EW.com talked to the former Miss Illinois about ”Public” creator David E. Kelley’s bugged bathrooms, the joys of wearing human clothing, and why she once sprayed her butt with athletic adhesive (it was a good reason, really).
For someone living off a teacher’s wage, Ronnie seems to be a little free with her money. When is the episode where the credit card companies reposses her stuff?
We haven’t dealt directly with it yet in the script, but have you seen her apartment? I mean, I’m sure that’s not going to be around for much longer. Teachers just don’t make that much.
This season Ronnie dumped her boyfriend Matthew (”Titanic”’s Billy Zane). Is he gone for good?
I don’t think the door is ever closed on a David E. Kelley show. But I’m sure Ronnie will be dating soon. Everyone on the set is already going, who’s it going to be? I know Michael Rapaport [who plays teacher Danny Hanson] thinks his character is next in line. He’s lobbying real hard for that. But it would be an interesting dynamic, because Ronnie and Danny are good friends and they’ve both broken up with their respective mates. And then there’s always Harry Senate [played by ”The Way of the Gun”’s Nicky Katt], who’s Ronnie’s old college buddy, so that’s a good foundation for romance.
When you signed on, Kelley didn’t tell you anything about Ronnie until four days before shooting began. How freaked were you?
Oh my God, it was terrifying! I think the way I found out I was going to play a lawyer was from the wardrobe people. But David’s involvement was the only reason I signed on to a show completely sight unseen. I wasn’t even looking for another series, because spending four years of 14 hour days on ”Voyager” was really, really hard.
Kelley has a reputation for borrowing real life issues from his actors for his scripts. Has he nailed a Jeri Ryan plotline yet?
Not yet, but I’m bracing for it. Everyone says the bathrooms are bugged because you’ll have a conversation and it’ll show up in the script next week. It’s pretty funny, actually. You get this kind of unspoken input into the show.