Big Sky star Katheryn Winnick shoots straight on that cliffhanger and Jenny's new romance
Jenny Hoyt can't seem to stay out of a shootout.
On Tuesday's episode of Big Sky, "Gettin' Right to It," Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) and Cassie (Kylie Bunbury) went off to take down dirty cop Deputy Harvey (Michael Malarkey) and drove straight into the line of fire, as Donno (Ryan O'Nan) endeavored to keep them out of cartel business.
That was just the latest drama for Dewell and Hoyt on the ABC drama, after they both nearly died in the season 1 finale (Jenny via a gunshot wound). But as they continue to pursue Ronald (Brian Geraghty) and investigate a mysterious accident with ties to a drug cartel, the danger has only increased. There's the threat of Donno and Ren (Janina Gavankar), as well as the added complication of the teenagers who've stolen money and drugs and found themselves in way over their heads.
Jenny now has the added power of her badge, having rejoined the force, but she bristles at some of the protocol it demands. She's also embarked on a new romance, rekindling a spark with old flame Travis (Logan Marshall-Green), who is working with the cartel undercover and attempting to help Jenny with her cases with whatever information he can pass along.
But will any of that even matter if this shootout goes awry? We called up Winnick to hit all the major bullet points, including how dangerous this cliffhanger is for her character, what her new romance has in store, and why she's enjoying having her badge back as Jenny 2.0.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The episode ends with Jenny and Cassie once more in dire straits. How does this compare danger-wise to the season 1 finale?
KATHERYN WINNICK: Definitely the stakes are extremely high. Obviously they're now under attack. Jenny defied Tubb's wishes of staying down and wanted to take matters into her own hands, and she realized that she's a little bit in over her head, especially being shot at so violently. It just shows that these guys that came into our town and came into Montana are really dangerous, and that they will stop at anything to get what they want.
Jenny was shot just several weeks ago in the show's timeline. Might she be facing that nightmare all over again?
True, but I think she definitely has a different outlook on life. She now realizes how short life is, so she came back [to the force]. It's important for her to wear that badge and to do what she feels is right and go after her dream of getting these cases solved. She definitely has a lot more determination, longer perseverance. With no apologies. I don't think she's scared of death. She's looked at it face on, and now she is willing to put her life on the line to do what she feels is right.
So rather than further traumatizing her, it sounds like this shootout might just energize her?
I think so. Jenny is definitely a fighter, and she's fierce, and this is really Jenny 2.0. So this little shootout didn't — I say little, it definitely wasn't little — but if anything it just motivates her to keep the eye on the prize.
Why do you think Jenny decided to go back to the force, and do you think she's finding it fulfilling or having second thoughts about her decision?
I think it's a combination of both. Jenny, first of all, is excited to wear the badge again. She realized that she needs a badge to be more effective. She used to be a cop, and then she tried the P.I., but of course there's legalities around it. You need a warrant, you need to wear the badge to be able to get into places, to get information. For her, having a second chance, she feels as if she can be more effective wearing that badge and be on the other side of things. Her sole motivation and personal drive is to really make her life count. That comes with a lot of challenges too. She's still the undersheriff. Tubbs is the sheriff and he calls the shots, and when he closes a case down or pawns it off to somebody else, she has to listen to him. But Jenny has a strong relationship with him and Jenny always does what she really wants to do on her own. She's pretty impulsive. That's what I love about her.
Well, we've already seen her new job create a bit of tension or push-pull between her and Cassie. How will it continue to impact or evolve their relationship and partnership?
I think that it works better. Now that Jenny is an undersheriff and Cassie is a private eye, they can work different angles of the same case. And they can use each other to find out different information and go around things. Obviously she has to abide by the law, or at least make it seem that way. Cassie can can go around the law a little bit. So it actually works out better, and I'm excited about the new partnership this way. Originally this character was based on one C.J. Box character, Cassie Dewell, and David E. Kelley split Cassie in two and created Jenny. But now that Jenny has her own identity and different people in her life, including Travis and Tubbs, she's progressing forward more effectively as a cop.
She's finding some romance again, with old flame Travis. How much is this a… not rebound, but a salve for her still-present grief over Cody?
It is Jenny 2.0. So she's looking at life a little differently. Obviously there's chemistry and they have a history of knowing each other, and I don't think she's really thinking of falling in love again. Or even thinking of anything serious at this point. She just wants to be really good at her job, and she's enjoying the relationship that she has with Travis. She's enjoying the chemistry. I don't think she's thinking too much at this point of where it's going to go. She's allowed to have fun.
Is she playing with fire again here, risking losing another love interest?
You're going to have to wait and see. Does Jenny actually fall in love with Travis? You're just going to have to wait and see on that. But I think at this point in the story, it's a working relationship with benefits.
Is Jenny right to trust him? Or might he be a shady character too? Big Sky has really taught us to trust no one.
Jenny definitely does trust him because of the history. She's also understands human behavior and what it also takes to be an undercover cop, because she has been an undercover cop. She knows what a slippery slope that is and how you can get sucked into the system and how sometimes people change course. I've been talking to [showrunner] Elwood [Reid] if maybe that's why she left the force? Was she an undercover cop that just went into the wing of the dragon and went the other way and stopped being a proper law enforcer? I don't know. The backstory hasn't been fully developed, but in my mind I feel that she understands how you can get sucked into that world really quickly and lines of right from wrong gets blurry pretty fast.
Why do you think Cassie is a tad more obsessed with catching Ronald than Jenny?
Cassie has a personal drive and is obsessed with Ronald's case. Jenny wants to focus on other cases, and yes of course she also wants to solve Ronald. But she doesn't want to spend all her energy when there are people that are dying, people are going missing. She needs to get to the root of that first, it's more time-sensitive, and Ronald, there hasn't been a single major trace of him. She's keeping her eye on the prize with this one.
Of what we've seen thus far, do you have a favorite scene of the season?
I don't know if I'd say a scene, but right now I'm discovering Jenny's relationship with Travis is new and fresh and fun. We just did four scenes back to back yesterday, so I think that relationship has a lot of room to grow. I also really want to explore that Jenny understands the undercover world. I'm enjoying the show going in this direction, and getting time to sit with them and see Jenny in her real life and not just on the run all the time.
Can you tease next week's episode?
[It will bring] more drama. You will see it get to even a bigger climax, and you'll see Jenny reopen old wounds, in a sense. Physically or mentally or emotionally.
A twisty crime thriller set in the remote climes of Montana, from TV legend David E. Kelley.