Hennessy Continues 'Crossing Jordan'
Jill Hennessy's title character was cleared of her boyfriend's murder in the recent sixth-season premiere of "Crossing Jordan," the NBC drama series that has resumed on Sundays. The medical examiner hid in Washington, D.C., while her Boston morgue colleagues devoted themselves to proving her innocence. It wasn't easy, since they had to work around a new, by-the-book peer (Brooke Smith).
"I assumed they'd try to wrap it up fairly quickly," Hennessy says of Jordan's flight, which drew boss Garret Macy (Miguel Ferrer) to her side. "Otherwise, they would have had to write a lot of episodes with Jordan out of the morgue and on the streets.
"A small part of me was hoping Jordan could get into some political espionage, with a 'West Wing' flavor, but it's nice for the audience that has been following the show to see that all their questions are answered. They're not being led on."
The season starter also went a long way toward re-establishing Jordan's maverick spirit (as with the forceful stomach punch she gave Garret at a key moment). Hennessy reflects that quality was "what really appealed to me in the show's pilot. The show has changed considerably, but it is so nice to get back to all the characters' roots. With Jordan, you get to see her demonic, dysfunctional, messed-up side more clearly this season."
A regular character is killed off this week on "Crossing Jordan," which was supposed to get an earlier start on the season. Its return was moved up to October but ultimately put back to January.
Hennessy insists the occasional bloodiness of the series isn't being toned down. "We were told to keep our content the same. In season six, there's no reason to hold anything back, so we figure why not just go for broke? We're doing honest yet disturbing stories. I think we've got some of our edgiest scripts yet."
With "Crossing Jordan" creator and executive producer Tim Kring focusing on his hit NBC show "Heroes," Hennessy is working with three new show-runners, one of whom she knows from her days of playing prosecutor Claire Kincaid on "Law & Order."
A huge benefit, the actress maintains, is that "we're getting scripts in such finished form at such early dates now, and it's nice to hear how excited everyone is on the set. It's so rare to get a script more than one day ahead. Sometimes, you get it on the day you're shooting it."
This year could provide some groundbreaking moments between Jordan and Garret. They came close to their first kiss in the season premiere, and Hennessy claims, "I begged the writers, 'Is there any possibility that maybe he could just give me this long kiss to distract the police? Or even to distract Jordan?' They said, 'Well-l-l, maybe not this episode.' I'm fighting for it, though. I mean, come on. Throw us a bone."
While she might want to push the envelope when the cameras are rolling, Hennessy also has the role of doting mom on the "Crossing Jordan" set. Marco, her 3-year-old son by husband Paolo Mastropietro, is a frequent visitor.
"By now, he knows everyone, and I'll bring him in for rehearsals and some of the filming," Hennessy reports. "He knows to be quiet when he hears 'Action!' I'll ask him, 'When can you make noise?' He'll say, 'When the director says, "Cut!"' It's tough when it's a dialogue-heavy day with a lot of medical speak, but he lightens the mood."