Exclusive Interview: CASTLE’s Tamala Jones Talks Emotional Scenes, Esposito Drama and Lanie’s Secret Life

If you are anything like us, you are itching for the return of CASTLE on the little screen. Thanfully, Daemon’s TV had the luck to chat with series star Tamala Jones who plays the beautiful no-nonsense Medical Examiner Lanie Parish.

Tamala opened about quite a few items including potential drama with Esposito, questions about Lanie’s past and background and also how being on Castle has thought her enough medical tidbits to kind of save a life.

Check out what she had to say below and don’t forget to catch the premiere episode of Castle which airs Monday September 19 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC

Last season’s finale was epic, and are you excited to debut the fourth season?

Tamala Jones: Oh, my God, I’m overly excited. The writing this season is so freaking awesome. Not that it hasn’t been all the other seasons, but I think with time, just like all the other actors on the show that really got comfortable in playing those characters, I think the writers got a little bit more comfortable and edgy with playing around with our characters and also the guest cast and the storylines. So, it’s really going to be a great season.

With such a strong finish last season how did you react when you found out how it would unfold?

Tamala Jones: I loved it. I think that Andrew Marlowe is a freaking genius when it comes mystery writing and action, and the way that he wrote the opening scene, and also that entire episode was ridiculous. It was the first one of this season where there were no rewrites because it was that awesome, but he gives you so many different twists and turns with this.

You have Beckett teetering with death where she flat-lines and there’s some other stuff that goes on. I can’t really tell you about that, but it’s great. Then of course we won’t be losing her or else we wouldn’t have a show. So, her recovery, when you see how she recovers and what happens is next, oh my God, your heart will be thumping. Then there’s a murder scene that has to be tended to with all this other stuff going on. So, they’ve got your head spinning this season.

There was a promo shown at Comic-Con with Beckett being brought into the hospital. Your character is giving her CPR. It looked like an emotional scene. Can you talk about shooting that?

Tamala Jones: It was a very emotional scene, and I basically had to…I mean, those guys play all day long. They are some jokers. They’re always pulling pranks or cracking jokes or telling some crazy story and they were doing it that day. But I had to be so disciplined. I chuckled here and there. You can’t help but laugh, but for the most part I just thought of the most sad things that ever make me cry.

I held myself in that emotion so that when it got to shooting that scene on the gurney, rushing down the hallway, I wanted to cry, but then I thought, ‘Crying is really an easier choice,’ but to teeter on tears, it’s like fear and strength at the same time. I think that’s the way that Andrew wrote it and I wanted to give that to him as well as the audience, but it was just really staying in a sad mood and remembering some of the worst things like the day that my grandfather home died and I came home from school and found out. That was one of the memories. So, I had to just really melt myself in that and try not to laugh at those guys, and any time that they got too funny I had to walk away.

How do you feel that your character has evolved throughout the seasons?

Tamala Jones: It’s been a really big blessing to play Lanie because honestly only in the pilot, I wondered “was I recurring?”, “was I a guest cast with a possible recurring?”. But when the show got picked up those guys over at ABC and Andrew and Rob Bowman, they surprised me with an offer to be a series regular. Every season Lanie has gotten more to do with the help of the fans writing in, wanting to see more and with Andrew and Rob and Laurie Zaks really starting to see me and really believe in my skill.

They’ve been writing some really great things for me to do and I’m just really happy that they trust me and they continue to write these things. So, I think that Lanie, over the seasons you’ve seen her grow and gotten to see real deep inside of her, the sassiness and I think the opening scene of season four you just see her vulnerability. That’s something that we haven’t seen in her. So, I love how they’ve progressed with my emotion and my skill as far as what I do, playing the medical examiner.

Will there be any more development between Lanie and Esposito?

Tamala Jones: From what I know so far because I don’t really get to hear much, those guys are very secretive in the writer’s room, but one of the ideas that they tossed out is that Ryan, his partner, is getting married this season and they’re preparing the wedding and I think that we all meet up with him and his fiancé, myself and Esposito, and there’s some risk and I’m not really clear on what I plan to do with it.

I think it might be Lanie wanting to get married and Esposito not ready, the whole marriage bliss thing where she sees it and wants it. Or there might be some tension between her and the fiancé. So, I’m not really clear which way they’re going, but they’re going to take away the honeymoon phase which is normal and give you some rockiness in the relationship. But I love that.

CASTLE Season 4 Cast

That sounds awesome. Do you feel like you’ve learned enough medical terminology playing an ME on television to last an entire lifetime?

Tamala Jones: Oh, my God, yes, yes and yes. It took me a while to really get into it because these medical terms, they’re very intimidating, but once you get to know what they are and you start to learn that you know people who have been affected by some of these things it intrigues you to dig deeper. I felt like I was in med school. I’m learning all this stuff that I’m talking about with my medical encyclopedia and dictionary and I’m watching all the ‘Forensic Files,’ ‘Dr. G.: Medical Examiner.’

So, I think I have learned a lot and I have been able to use it at times. Like this time where I was at an event with Omar Benson Miller (CSI Miami) and he was choking on something; I was looking at him, like, ‘Put your arms up! Put your arms up and take a deep breath!’ And he did it and was like, ‘Wow. That really worked.’ I’m like, ‘Yes. They tell you do that with babies, but it works for adults, too.’ That’s something that was tossed around on the set at one point.

Thanks for the tip. People will think I’m dancing, but I’ll be trying to breathe.

Tamala Jones: Yeah, you’ve got to take some deep breaths in so your lungs can catch the rhythm again.

But you don’t feel like you can dissect a human body just yet?

Tamala Jones: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that, to be honest, because I have a weak stomach. The stuff that we see on set is all fake and the people are alive really and the smell is not there and neither is the real blood. If I had to do that, ew.

What kind of storyline do you hope to see for your character this season or in upcoming ones?

Tamala Jones: I would love for them to bring a family member in for Lanie. I had the pleasure of meeting this young little rapper named Lil’ Mama. She’s sassy and straight New York, Brooklyn. She’s adorable and I immediately got this idea, like, ‘What if Lanie has a little sister who is just bad and that’s where you really see her toughness,’ like that’s where it comes from because her parents aren’t around and she basically looks out for her sister and can’t always be there. So, the sister is into stuff and somehow she gets involved in a crime and ends up at the police station and I have to come down there, like, ‘What the hell?!’

Lil’ Mama would be awesome.

Tamala Jones: Yeah, it would really help. Maybe she becomes friends with Alexis. I don’t know, but I plan to bring her down to the set and talk to Andrew and let him see her and see what happens.

Can you tell us something about your character that nobody has ever asked?

Tamala Jones: Lets see. I think that no one has ever asked if Lanie has ever been married before or what was her situation before Esposito, dating wise. You saw a little bit, like, ‘Where you going?’ where Lanie came up to a crime scene dressed in a dress.

There was a scene where Castle was looking at her girls and she was like, ‘Castle, stop looking at the girls.’ Her boobs. But she was coming from somewhere, but you don’t know what happened before Esposito. There were little things like that you’d see where you’d think that Lanie was dating. So, I think that people really should ask, ‘Who were you dating before Esposito and what made you become a medical examiner? Why did you do that?’ I think Lanie, if she wasn’t a medical examiner would be a basketball wife with that attitude.

Or maybe a criminal on the wrong side of the law?

Tamala Jones: Maybe I would be on the wrong side of the law. I like that.

If you could guest star on any other show, which one would it be?

Tamala Jones: Game of Thrones.’ I F’ing love ‘Game of Thrones.’ That is my show. I have only read the first book. I refuse to read the rest of them because the show is so good. I know that the books are usually better, but that show, the casting, the characters, the way that they adapted it from the book to the script is amazing. It’s amazing.