Exclusive Interview: Claudia Ferri on Playing Rogue’s Toughest Cop

May 1, 2013

Lieutenant Sophia Hernandez is the law-abiding black sheep of the Rogue cast, but she’s also a superfun character to play according to actress Claudia Ferri. Our Rogue insider, Ira Parker, sat down with Ferri to find out what she did to prepare for the role, including jogging with the Vancouver Police Department.

Ira Parker: How would you describe your character?
Claudia Ferri: My character’s not career oriented, but vocation oriented. She’s very focused on trying to do the right thing, as she’s a professional. She’s mature. She’s probably been on the force for 20 odd years. She’s been in different departments and now she’s in major crime and she’s a woman in a position of power. And I think, right now in the first season, she’s still very somber. She’s not the kidding type, really. But I think maybe gradually that’s going to start softening. I saw a glimpse of that as the series evolved. I mean, she’s dealing with very serious matters, and when police officers are doing that kind of work it’s really just all about getting the facts, getting the bad guys, and protecting the people. So she’s very much oriented that way, very focused.

IP: How did you prepare for your role as Hernandez?
CF: I walked into the Vancouver Police Department and I basically said, “Hello I’m such and such and I’m going to be working on a series. I would love to be able to shadow someone who is the equivalent of a lieutenant in your office.” And so finally we landed on a lady who does the same thing as Hernandez, and she basically took me under her wing and took me for a three-day police conference. So I’ve been dwelling in the police culture ever since I got here. They are now my friends, and I hang out with them. I run with them. I told them I had a goal, a physical goal. So every other day they pick me up, we go to Stanley Park, and we run for an hour. They really opened their doors to me, to the whole department. I was definitely taken to all the floors like gang squad, sex crimes. I was able to view interviews that were now public domain, so I was able to look at how they interrogate suspects and study their reactions.

IP: What part of Hernandez’s personality would you say is most like your own?
CF: Probably her seriousness. Ha ha. She’s not kidding with serious matters and when it’s serious, it’s serious. For example, when I’m dealing with education for my kids we don’t negotiate. That’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t kid around with things that I consider important. And I think Hernandez is like that.

IP: What kind of songs do you think we’d find on Hernandez’s playlist?
CF: Believe it or not, I think you would find some Baroque style music. When she wants to close off the noise from either the little voices in her head, or echoes of work that she doesn’t want to bring home, she’ll turn on the Baroque. Ha ha.

IP: What was your favorite scene of the season?
CF: I am really looking forward to spelling it out to Wilson that he’s through. That he’s done. I gave him a fair warning, and that’s it. It’s little, it’s short. It’s just en passant.

IP: What’s the best and worst part about being on set?
CF: The best part about being on set is to be joined by professionals like Thandie, Marton, Ian Tracey, Ian Hart, and Joshua Sasse. The whole cast really. It’s awesome to be able to really be actively doing what you love. And the worst thing is the fact that you give yourself and you become so close with everyone, and then everyone goes their separate ways when the show finishes. Also, it’s hard to shoot in the rain. It’s hard for the ego as well as for the health. Cause I get poofy hair.

IP: Ha ha. On that note, how have you been enjoying Vancouver?
CF: Vancouver, I used to live here. I did a year here in Vancouver in ’89 and then back and forth on Vancouver Island for about 18 years. And I find it extremely hard to be in the rain so much. There was a great bout of summer from August until early November. And that was great. I don’t know if it’s the European side of me, but it’s not as friendly because it rains, because it’s grey. Probably because people are always holding their coats – not wanting to get water on each other. There’s not much chance to say, “Hey how are you doing?”

IP: Hernandez doesn’t seem to get a lot of respect. From Wilson, Campbell, Jimmy, or even Grace. Why do you think that is?
CF: Because she’s a straight shooter and she doesn’t like to footsie-tootsie. She has to be black and white. Ultimately, she’s very focused and goal oriented. I think she’s a bit of an oddball and not necessarily quirky, but she’s like a bull. She represents the law and she is probably the most straight forward and law abiding.

IP: Why do you think Hernandez decided to become a cop?
CF: I think it came naturally. Probably as a little girl she must have been playing security guard in the hallway with a set of keys, and you know, not letting anybody into any doors unless they ask for the password. I think she’s driven that way. I would say I am drawn to acting and I couldn’t do anything else. I think it’s the same way for her. It’s in her genes, it’s in her bones.

IP: How does she handle being a female lieutenant in a male dominated environment?
CF: It goes without saying that it’s always been tough. Even in the schoolyard as kids it is tough to be the girl who likes to run, who likes to throw the ball, who likes to score goals. Is it tough for her to be in a guy’s world? Maybe, but she’s one of those people who likes to bite at the rag. She doesn’t mind the tug of war. She doesn’t mind a fight. I think she loves it actually. It’s a challenge and she will challenge anyone who crosses her path in the name of the law.

IP: If you could hire any fictional cop to work under you in Oakland, who would it be?
CF: It would be Bond. I think that would be good. Oh yeah. Why not go for the best?

IP: Everyone seems to have a romantic interest in the show except for Hernandez. Are you going to push for that in Season Two?
CF: Ha ha. I don’t know. I think there are many directions you can take her. The one main stroke that has been done about Hernandez is that she’s a straight shooter and she’s tough. At this point, I’m totally open to the continuum. Whether it’s love or some other affectionate side, meaning does she have children? Does she have a relationship? Is it a man, or is it a woman? What inhabits her, it’s awesome.

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