When last we tuned into USA Network’s Graceland (Thursdays at 10/9c), FBI agent Charlie DeMarco saw no way to protect her and Briggs’ cover as “Katie and Eric” — and thus save their lives — except to shoot up with real heroin, not impostor hemoglobin. What is the fallout? And what other surprises await her in the course of hunting the elusive drug lord Odin?
Vanessa Ferlito gave TVLine a look at the “intense,” “really dark times” to come, as well as shared her personal connection to the evils of heroin.
TVLINE | When this Thursday’s episode opens, how much time will have lapsed since Charlie shot up? Is she coming down? Is it the morning after…?
It’s right after, and it’s pretty intense. The next episode is really intense.
TVLINE | Do she and Briggs going to get into it over the dangerous decision she made?
You know what, he knows that she’s really vulnerable and in a delicate place, so he’s just supportive. He goes easy on her, especially considering his past. He’s not really one to judge. But she… she’s a mess.
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TVLINE | Did your heart break a little when you read that scene in the script? Actors so often empathize with the characters they play.
No, because as an actor I always want to be challenged, even though it’s scary [for the character]. I knew that it was going to go to a really dark place after that, so I was ready. But it did break my heart that Whistler died. Even though you see a crackhead or whatever and they’re acting out of control, that’s still somebody’s child. I think they were working together for such a long time, he had a soft spot in her heart.
TVLINE | Longer term, what will Charlie shooting up do to her relationship with Briggs?
This is such an important part of the whole series, the relationship between Charlie and Briggs, and it doesn’t go well after this. And it’s not because of her shooting up. It’s just that stuff starts to come out, and Charlie’s very suspicious of Briggs. You’re not going to believe what happens next. It’s kind of unbelievable. They love each other but Briggs has some very dark stuff going on. Charlie’s going to get to the bottom of it because not only is he her friend, her partner, her lover, but to find out that she really doesn’t even know the man who’s living in her house is really scary.
TVLINE | Do they loop in the rest of Graceland? Or do she and Briggs decide to hold back?
He feels that she shouldn’t tell them; Charlie has a different opinion, because she’s trying to prove to him that there are no secrets in Graceland, so she kind of goes against him. After that, there’s serious tension between her and Briggs. It’s almost like there’s no turning back.
TVLINE | So Charlie isn’t oblivious to the worst parts about him?
That’s the problem, she’s not. It’s just like if a wife suspects a husband of cheating — they say ignorance is bliss, but if you go looking for it you’re going to find it. She wants to know if he has any connection to Whistler overdosing or anything that has to do with that, and she’s going to get to the bottom of it.
TVLINE | In doing this role, what have you learned about drugs, that culture and that business?
It’s really dark. I mean even if you just watch a little bit of it on YouTube you kind of just have to immediately focus your attention on something else because it is such a dark life. Drugs have affected my life personally. I don’t do them, but my father passed away of a heroin overdose, so it kind of hit very close to home. Although I didn’t grow up with him, because he died when I was two, I knew about that stuff at a very young age, unfortunately.
TVLINE | What do you like most about Charlie?
I love her loyalty, and how she’s just a really loving person. She loves all of them [at Graceland]. And that’s the way I am. I really love them all.
TVLINE | And if you could pull her aside and say, “Listen up, I need to give you this one piece of advice,” what would it be?
The funny thing is I might ask Charlie for some advice! [Laughs] She seems like she’s got her s–t together more than I do.
TVLINE | And before we go, give me one last tease about what’s coming up.
Oh, God. The first four [episodes] were very lighthearted and kind of the introduction to all of the cast members, but from this point forward it’s mayhem. It really goes to a really dark place. Drugs and sneakiness and lying, and people are dying…. Make sure you watch the next one, because it is really good.