'Numb3rs'' Aya Sumika talks guns and mettle
Aya Sumika, who plays tough Liz Warner on Numb3rs, will have her mettle tested on "Cover Me," the episode that airs Friday night (Feb. 27) on CBS.
"My character goes undercover as a high-end drug dealer," she tells Zap2it. "There are a few life-or-death moments where Liz will have to resort to her gun to protect herself."
In the episode directed by series star Rob Morrow, Charlie (David Krumholtz) uses his brilliant mind to come up with an economic strategy to stop a new drug from hitting the streets. Don (Morrow) and his FBI superiors go with the plan, knowing that it will put Liz in harm's way.
"I'm lucky to work on a show where the cast are friends behind the scenes," adds Sumika. "It makes coming to work easy and enjoyable, and helps the on-screen chemistry as well. Trust is everything -- it allows you to take more risks."
Risk is the key word here, since Liz is a special agent at the FBI Organized Crime Division. Naturally, this requires Sumika to be comfortable holding and using a firearm.
"The first time I shot a gun was at a shooting range, and I instantly saw the sport in it," explains the actress, who was training for a role. The most important lessons: "Never point your gun at someone and treat every gun like it's loaded."
Earlier this month, Sumika had the chance to try out the Firearms Training System (FATS), which is a single-room training device that simulates real-life scenarios that a trainee may someday face. In a way, it's like the arcade shooting games, except the screen is full-sized and you're aiming at images of real people, not just video game characters. Sumika found the experience was far different from being on set.
"The simulator is more stressful by far because it's more improv," she notes. "On set, the scenes are rehearsed, you know your lines, and you know who is getting shot. With the FATS simulator, you don't know what is going to happen next."
And it's important that she makes Liz look competent in the field since her character has always had a toughness to her.
"Liz is a woman in a man's field," says Sumika. "If a guy is kicking down a door, she wants to kick one down too -- and faster too."
But speaking of Liz's dealings with men, she's not going to be getting back together with Don anytime soon.
"Don and Liz just weren't on the same page in terms of their relationship, so that ship has sailed at least for now...especially since Don has a new girlfriend," says Sumika.