'It's not a false start,' she says of the big step
After years of build up, it finally happened. Officers Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray) and Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), partners on police procedural/family drama Blue Bloods, confessed feelings for one another — and kissed! — during Friday’s episode, “Personal Business.” Here, Ray breaks down the much-anticipated moment, and looks ahead to the pair’s future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Eddie and Jamie admit they have feelings for each other. What was your experience building up to this moment and playing the tension for so long?
VANESSA RAY: I think what’s been interesting about getting into all of this is for the last season, we’ve really put a lot of those colors of our characters on hold and have really developed their friendship and it’s deepened and deepened, so when we found out we were going to go in this direction, there was definitely concern just like anybody who is changing their relationship with their friend. I think we were both like, “Wait, but are they still going to be friends? How is this going to work?” We love these two so much that we were so concerned the whole time that we had wanted to handle it with such care.
We’re so close to these characters now and so concerned about making sure that they do this graciously and they’re kind to each other. It was interesting, [executive producer] Kevin Wade had described it and he said it was, “More like When Harry Met Sally, less like Scully and Mulder,” because we were like, “But, we’re Scully and Mulder!” He was like, “No, you’re When Harry Met Sally,” and we were like, “Oh, that’s a very different thing.” That put a bit of where this is going in perspective. The truth is they still love their jobs and to keep those jobs they can’t have a relationship. We didn’t want to overlook that reality going into this.
The admission comes after Eddie struggles with being jealous about Jamie inviting a struggling girl they meet on the job to stay with him. How was it playing the jealous side to Eddie?
Clearly she’s jealous, but she doesn’t even know why. This is a situation that they have dealt with a hundred times. Helping somebody out, that’s in both Jamie and Eddie’s character to do. They both have a bit of a savior complex at different times and they have to talk each other off of that ledge, so there’s nothing new there, but what’s interesting to play is the confusion that comes along with jealousy because sometimes it’s not super cut and dry. You don’t know why your body or your emotions are reacting to something differently. You try to talk yourself out of it and you [start] to feel crazy. You’re like, “This is crazy, I shouldn’t be acting this way, so there must be a justifiable reason that I’m acting this way.” In this case, there was nothing justifiable. It was just that she liked him and she couldn’t get over it this time.
I imagine it’s a combination of relief, fear, excitement, and maybe even love, but what is she thinking when she finally comes clean, and when Jamie responds?
They have extreme love for each other, so that is where I think the biggest complication comes for her. I think what’s going through her head is, “I can’t go another day of my life keeping this inside. I can’t progress in my life, I can’t have other relationships if I don’t know where he stands on this.” So much of your life is put on hold when you are in love with somebody and you know that there’s love back, but you don’t dare dive on into that because if you do, it could be acid rain, it could end up being hot lava, not this like glorious hot spring. So I think that for her it’s that feeling of she can’t go another day holding it in. She can’t progress further in her friendship and relationship with him, in her aspirations and goals within her job because this is the relationship in her life and without definition of where it fits in her life, I think she felt stunted.
Was it a relief to you, as an actress, to finally reach this point and have something new to explore?
For sure, you’re always excited to be able to explore a new side of your character. It’s been interesting to see what it’s brought out in scene work and things that we’ve been working on because we all have such strong opinions about how this love story should go and how this relationship should go. It definitely has been fun to play it. It colors a lot of things now more openly than it did before.
So, Eddie and Jamie kiss (and it’s not the first time, by the way). How would you describe their physical chemistry?
Kissing Will Estes, he’s the dreamiest dreamboat, so that’s not very hard, but it is funny because we’re such good friends. When I first read it, it was like, “Oh no, I have to kiss my brother, so weird,” because we’re so close. We were like, “Oh, ok, we have to figure this out.”
Was it awkward shooting that scene?
No, we got over it, we’re professionals. The chemistry is the thing that’s the undeniable side of all of this. Like 90 percent of the time, we see them in cop uniforms so there’s not much action going on there. In the rare times when we get to be out of uniform, there is an element of like, “Oh, this is what Eddie Janko looks like. She’s looking good today.” There’s a different physicality that comes along with not wearing the uniform and I think that definitely informs their chemistry. What we’ve built for these two characters has been so pure, their bond is so strong that the chemistry comes naturally.
On a more emotional note, why do you think they make a good couple? Is it because of that strong friendship that they have?
I think it’s a little bit of that. I think it’s also a little bit because he’s raised in an Irish-Catholic family. Everyone keeps everything very buried and they push down their emotions as much as possible and Janko is somebody who has to verbalize every emotion she has — physicalize, verbalize, everything. They make a great team because she can really sense what he’s feeling and forces him to come out of his shell. In the scene when she kisses him, it’s a perfect example. He’s not going to grab her and kiss her, even though that’s probably all he’s wanted to do, it’s possibly all he’s wanted to do, or he doesn’t even know that’s what he wants to do. He’s like, “I don’t even, I’m just standing here, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now,” and she’s like, “This, you big dummy. This is what you’re supposed to do.”
I also like that too because we get to see a woman taking charge of what she wants in a relationship.
Sure, absolutely. There’s no waiting around. A lot of it is Janko being like, “I’m not waiting for this anymore. I’m going to go for this.” It was round and round about who kisses who, and should it be mutual. It was round and round and round, and ultimately it was decided that she kisses him because she’s just like, “Alright, this is what you do next.”
Do you think they’ll be able to make it as a couple, with them being partners? How will this affect and complicate things at work?
I think the next episode is the more interesting one… just seeing what they choose and what’s off the table. They want to be together, but some things are just off the table, so you’ll see what happens next.
So they aren’t pursuing their relationship, or we’ll have to see?
We’ll have to see. I, Vanessa Ray, also will have to see. It seems like their relationship is moving forward, but how that progresses, I don’t have all the answers.
Beyond theories, is there anything besides what we were just talking about that you can reveal about their future together, or still waiting on scripts?
We’re still waiting on a lot of things that are coming up next. As I said, this is a big topic of discussion. We’re all very opinionated and hands-on, talking with the writers and the writers have such brilliant ideas about what they want to do with the characters. We’re lucky that we are able to have a really healthy dialogue to help us really understand what’s happening, where we’re going, and how we’re handling it. It’s not a false start, I will say that.
Anything that we didn’t talk about in terms of Eddie and Jamie’s relationship or Blue Bloods more generally that you think is worth mentioning here?
I just think this is one of the best seasons that we’ve had on the show. I’m sure we say that every season, but it’s been really cool to see how Eddie and Jamie have developed. If you’re a fan of them, if you ship them, this is going to be a really gratifying time with those characters.
Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.