Jerrika Hinton on her Hunters role and her Grey's Anatomy fans: 'I appreciate them'
In an early scene in Amazon’s Hunters, Jerrika Hinton — as FBI agent Millie Morris — annoys a man off-camera who doesn’t like the way she’s pounding on a front door at 5 in the morning. “Sir, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go back to watching your penis pump commercial, okay?” she warns him. “I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m in f—ing Florida. Don’t f— with me right now, okay?!”
While funny as hell, the scene is also meant to enlighten the viewer about the kind of dogged agent she’s playing in the stylized drama about a band of vigilantes who hunt Nazis 1970s America. “She’s got some fire,” Hinton tells EW. “She comes from a very clear point of view, like, ‘Look, quit f—ing with me.’”
As a black woman and a closeted lesbian inside the FBI, Millie is used to receiving “s—” assignments, until a murder case leads her to hunt down those very hunters led by Holocaust survivor Meyer Offerman (a delightfully restrained Al Pacino). “They gave her a big fish,” Hinton says of the FBI brass. “She's smart. She's hungry. She knows how to do this well.”
It’s the role of a lifetime, though Hinton — who played surgical resident Stephanie Edwards from 2012 to 2017 on Grey’s Anatomy — isn’t ready to label her good fortune. “My career isn’t over yet!” she says, laughing. “Get back to me in 50 years. I mean, I'm having a lot of fun with this job, yeah. This job is a bunch of wonderful people, really interesting subject matter. People are deeply enjoying it how it's subverting their expectations, forcing them to just let it all go.”
It's clear her decision to take a work break after leaving Grey Sloan (and starring in HBO’s short-lived Alan Ball drama Here and Now) paid off. “I took some time… to kind of check in with myself, sit in silence, and do all the things that we're supposed to do in order to grow,” she says. “During that time, I came up with little criteria like ‘This is how I will choose jobs. Tier 1 is, if it hits three out of these four, then I'm going to make an automatic yes.’ It's helped me a lot.”
And though she says it was a “lifetime” ago when she donned the white coat on Grey’s, she remains grateful that “there’s a strong fan base of people who really miss Stephanie, and I appreciate them.” That’s about as much as she wants to walk down memory lane, though. When pressed whether fans ever express their opinions about Stephanie’s then-relationship with Jackson (Jesse Williams), Hinton says, “I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about the detail of Grey’s.”
Sadly, she doesn’t have any details to share about the future of Hunters, either. There's been no announcement yet about a second season. “We're all very hopeful and optimistic about it,” she says. “I think that there's still a lot of stories to tell, a lot of stories left to tell with the foundation that we have rooted in real history.”
All 10 episodes of Hunters are currently streaming on Amazon.
—With additional reporting from Nicholas Romano