Laying down the law
When TNT announced its hit show The Closer would come to an end on August 13, fans grieved the loss of one of TV's favorite teams of detectives. In a fortuitous turn, however, the network opted to keep the unit onscreen (sans Kyra Sedgwick) in an original spin-off series, Major Crimes.
We caught up with the gritty crime drama's newest cop on the block, actress Kearran Giovanni, to talk about the tight-knit team, Hugh Jackman's hot abs and how home is where you make it.
SheKnows: Something like 90 percent of The Closer’s cast and crew are continuing on to Major Crimes. Did you have "new girl" nerves coming to the set?
Kearran: Absolutely. But I got here and, honestly, it was just perfect. Everyone was so welcoming! It's like we're all family — Mary [McDonnell] is like a mom and a sister rolled into one, and the boys and I play golf and hang out outside of work. I couldn’t be luckier to have jumped into this world... it feels like I was on The Closer for seven years.
SheKnows: You moved your family from NYC to LA for the show; which side do you fall on in the perennial East vs. West Coast debate?
Kearran: I’m not from either — I'm from Texas — but I remember being in New York when I was 15 for dance training, and I just fell in love with it. I always said I'm going to live in an apartment until I die, and I'll have cats and I'll be a New Yorker (laughs). It's either you or it's not. My husband's from there, so it was a good fit. But I can't compare the two... I just have to like them each for what they are.
SheKnows: Have any of the traditions of your Southern childhood made it to the big city?
Kearran: My parents are from Louisiana and when I first moved to New York, my mom used to either overnight me crawfish and boudin, or my parents would fly here and she would bring a cooler with dry ice on the plane with her full of frozen crawfish, boudin, cornbread and other stuff from home! I am lucky to have parents who opened the door for me to move around and feel comfortable anywhere — for me, anywhere I am and my husband is and my kids are... it's home.
SheKnows: Before Major Crimes, you were showing off your singing and dancing skills on Broadway. Does any one production stand out as your favorite?
Kearran: I honestly loved them all for different reasons, but doing the show with Hugh Jackman was like a rock concert every night — and he is the most wonderful man on the planet besides my husband! And I loved doing Sweet Charity with Christina Applegate, because I could do "Big Spender" and all the great numbers from that show at 23 [years old]. Those are probably my two standouts.
SheKnows: Um, is Hugh Jackman as hot in real life as he is onscreen?
Kearran: Yes, absolutely! He used to ride his bike to rehearsal, and he would come in at 10 o'clock in the morning all sweaty and undress in the rehearsal room and... just yes, he is that hot in person! Plus, he has this crazy metabolism — it's so ridiculous. He would eat like 5,000 calories a day just to stay at the same weight, because he is naturally fit and has the perfect six-pack.
SheKnows: Do you ever reprise your roles at home during playtime with your daughters, Jordan (4) and Payton (2)?
Kearran: Oh, there's a lot of singing! Until the age of about two, they don't want me to sing at all. Then all of a sudden, they hit two-and-a-half and just think it's the best thing since sliced bread. So yes, there's a lot of singing, a lot of dancing and a lot of musical-watching in our house.
SheKnows: Coming from the sing-songy world of Broadway, how did you wrap your brain around the role of tough detective and military vet, Amy Sykes?
Kearran: Before this, I always said the two roles I wanted to play were a cop and a doctor. I got to play a doctor on One Life to Life — which was great — so I'd kind of been looking forward to finding something like this. When I read the role the first time, I was with my husband and I said to him, "This is it! She's mine!"
SheKnows: Well, let me tell you... you seem like a total bada** on the show!
Kearran: (laughs) Well, thank you! I think on my first or second day, I was doing the first episode's scene with guns at a grocery store — and there were probably 300 people there on the lot watching — and I just thought to myself, "Oh God, please don’t mess this up!"
SheKnows: I understand another passion of yours is food... what would you barter your best friend for a plate of right now?
Kearran: I would say my favorite thing is probably my dad's deep-fried turkey. It's a tradition we do at every holiday — Christmas, Easter, whatever. It's the most delicious, juicy, amazing thing you've ever had... and not greasy. I would love a deep-fried turkey right now. (laughs) And now that I'm done filming, maybe I will have one!
SheKnows: My husband's a total turkey fan too. He's the guy that goes to the fair and walks around eating the embarrassingly gigantic smoked turkey leg! So that's what you like to eat... what do you like to cook?
Kearran: I love making crawfish etouffee and shrimp creole... we do a lot of shrimp in our house. I also bake a lot, so I do a "Sock It To Me" cake — a bundt cake with cinnamon and sugar and pecans. Everything I cook sounds really healthy, doesn't it? (laughs) We actually do eat pretty healthy most of the time. There's a lot of salad in our house, and fish. Our girls love fish!
SheKnows: My daughter is 15 months old, and my son is due in December. How do I feed a family with two young children without becoming a casualty of the kitchen?
Kearran: What I like to do on Sundays— after I've done my grocery shopping over the weekend — is try to cook my protein for a couple of days. I'll cook a huge batch of shrimp or I'll do one or two batches of chicken, and then I'll decide what I want to throw in it later. That's how I try to do it... it doesn't always happen, but at least I've made my valiant effort on Sunday.
SheKnows: You sing, you dance, you act, you speak three languages, your kids love you... and you're a great cook? Please tell me there is something you can't do.
Kearran: Well, I'm sure there are lots of things I can't do... the trick is to find stuff that you can and just do those (laughs). No, I try other stuff too! I am really bad at baseball — terrible. Anything with a ball and hand/eye coordination is not for me. And my husband says he has to choreograph my moves around the house like dance steps because I trip and fall all the time. I'm the clumsiest person you've ever met.
SheKnows: Well, good... then there's a little glimmer of hope for the rest of us.
Watch: Introducing Major Crimes
The cast of Major Crimes talks about the TNT spin-off series.
Don't miss Kearran and the rest of the Major Crimes' crusaders every Monday night on TNT at 9/8c. Missed an episode? Catch up by watching (for free!) at TNTdrama.com.
From top to bottom, images courtesy of: Steve Schofield, Karen Neal/TNT, Joseph Marzullo/WENN, Karen Neal/TNT, Starbux/WENN