UPDATE: CBS has pulled the Season 3 finale of “FBI” in the wake of Tuesday’s deadly Texas school shooting.
In Tuesday’s Season 4 finale of “FBI,” Jeremy Sisto’s character Jubal Valentine — who’s already had an incredibly rough season — has another crisis involving his son, Tyler (Caleb Reese Paul), who is reluctant to cooperate when a classmate becomes a suspect.
TheWrap spoke to Sisto about Jubal’s dilemma ahead of the season finale, which was not available to view before it airs, in which the New York field office investigates a deadly heist of automatic weapons.
Jubal has had maybe one of the toughest seasons of any TV character this whole season. I haven’t seen the finale yet, but his girlfriend and boss Rina (Kathleen Munroe) is killed off and his son Tyler gets leukemia and almost dies after a hacker shuts down the machines at his hospital… it’s a lot.
They’ve made it a whole ‘nother insane challenge for Mr. Jubal and his family. I’m just super grateful. [Executive producer and showrunner] Rick [Eid] wrote such a beautiful episode. It’s a really, really complicated [look at] parental and relationship stuff.
We love Jubal, but sometimes he isn’t always great at boundaries when things happen that affect his family or his loved ones.
Yeah, he’s so focused on the job, the high stakes and all that. You learn one of the sacrifices that these people make having such a high-intensity job is sometimes they aren’t able to be present with their families. He’s obviously very loving and [his family is] very important to him, but it’s just a constant, constant challenge. It really is nuanced in the way that Rick wrote this relationship and Jubal’s feelings about being a father and being an ex-husband and a partner in parenthood. The stakes are insanely high.
Was it also an intense episode for the actors who play Tyler and Jubal’s ex-wife Samantha (Mara Davi)?
They’re just so good. And they just kill it. Now we have this kid who’s still got cancer. When you play those two characters, you really develop those relationships. Obviously, you never know with these storylines. He might never [appear as] my son again. Caleb was just showing me a scene from the first season when he was maybe nine. And he’s like, “I was so bad!” Now he’s 13 or 14 doing this huge arc on the show. It is lovely. He and the actress who plays my ex-wife are so talented.
Did you get a heads-up that this was going to be a tough year for your character? Or do you learn that as the scripts come in?
Dick Wolf [Productions], as a creative team, all the shows they do… I don’t think anyone starts out “This is what we’re going to do.” They see as they go what’s working. They’re experts at pivoting, at making it better and better. Obviously, Dick Wolf’s got one of the most brilliant eyes to be able to see something and his whole team. For whatever reason this storyline happened, it’s a very cool storyline, so I’m not gonna question it. [Laughs]
Do you prefer the Jubal-centric episodes or the ones where he’s more in the background?
I also love these instances where we just roll in the JOC [Joint Operations Center]. They’re a little better for my family and I’m not worrying about some scene that I did and not sure if I did it right. I like that the show kind of runs itself. It doesn’t [need me that much].
What’s it been like with Shantel VanSanten filling in for Missy Peregrym? How does that change the dynamic on set?
Dick Wolf runs a stable ship, so I feel like any of us could jump off and [the show would] keep going. Of course we miss Miss. She’s amazing and brings so much to everything and obviously the fans miss her. Shantel’s been amazing. She really jumped in and had a positive attitude. She’s got that first-season energy. She’s learned a ton about how the FBI works and has really embraced the relationships and she puts a lot into it. It was a great choice.
With “Law & Order” back, along with your former TV partner Anthony Anderson, has anyone talked to you about showing up again as Cyrus Lupo?
I would totally be into it. In fact, I sent a little message to see if anyone was interested. I’m down with whatever Dick feels is right. I think it would be super fun to revisit it in some way. But you don’t want to confuse people too much [about the two different characters]. On a show like this, you just trust, because there’s so much going on.
“FBI” was just renewed for two more years. Do you have any idea what’s happening next season?
No. It’s just waiting for the phone to ring.