Covert Affairs Q&A: A Chat With Sendhil Ramamurthy

It’s down to the wire on season two of Covert Affairs, and so far this we’ve watched with great curiosity to see what Jai Wilcox, played by Sendhil Ramamurthy, has planned for his career.

One of Jai’s big story arcs this season has been a promotion to the Office of Special Projects through less-than-honest methods, perhaps finally accepting the fact that he is his father’s son. In a conference call with reporters, Ramamurthy gave more insight into the obstacles his character will face as we head into the final three episodes of the season and, of course, how he stays in such great shape (admit it ladies, you can’t help but swoon).

Now that Jai is out of the DPD, the question remains how he’ll stay relevant to the story and the protagonist, Annie Walker. Ramamurthy said he had the same thought, but Jai’s figuring out his new position will be a focal point towards the end of the season.

“Jai’s not quite sure what he’s supposed to be doing, and then Henry Wilcox [his dad] actually will figure into informing him about what this is and put him on a path that he kind of goes on which all comes to a head in the final episode,” he explained. “You’ll see what the Office of Special Projects is and then what Jai is going to do about that…. without wanting to give too much away. I know that was pretty broad!”

We always know when Jai’s father, Henry (Gregory Itzen), shows up on screen that the story’s about to get very interesting; perhaps even scandalous. There’s still a lot to learn about the mysterious Wilcox family, an influential name in the CIA, and it’s nice to hear that Ramamurthy puts a lot of time preparing for the “family-oriented” scenes with Itzen.

“I learn a lot when I work with [Itzen],” he said. “We go through all the scenes beforehand. We always meet for dinner when he comes into town. When he flies up to Toronto, we meet up usually the night before – maybe two nights before we shoot our scenes and we go through them all and we just talk through them all.”

He continues, describing the tense relationship between Jai and Henry: “The relationship is an adversarial relationship. They don’t have this lovey dovey father-son relationship, and I would kind of be surprised if it ever becomes like that. I think that so much damage has been done, just like during his childhood, and I’m still very curious to see what happened with Jai’s mom. There’s a lot of baggage there, and I think there’s a lot of hurt there on Jai’s part.”

But moving on from such complex matters, there’s also the issue of Ramamurthy’s dashing good looks. How has Annie Walker (portrayed by Piper Perabo) been able to resist him?! So far, there’s been no love interest for Jai, but probably because he’s been too busy trying to gain power. You won’t hear any complaints from Ramamurthy, though, who claims he doesn’t particularly enjoying taking off his shirt, but he does have a great way for keeping fit:

“I’ve always been a really athletic guy. You know, I was competitive tennis player. I don’t go in and do weights in the gym but I do a lot of Pilates and stuff like that and yoga and I play a lot of tennis,” said Ramamurthy. “I travel everywhere with my tennis rackets and any chance I get, I get onto the tennis court. So I’ve always been a very active person but I certainly – put it this way, I wasn’t there requesting to have a scene where I take my shirt off that’s for sure.”

Fair enough. So if there won’t be an abundance of shirtless scenes in season three, what else might we expect from Jai Wilcox?

“I think that next season what they have planned is to bring Jai more into the fold with Annie because this season Jai was very much kind of on his own show a little bit,” he said. “At the end of the day, the show’s about Annie Walker. It’s not about Jai Wilcox or Auggie Anderson or Arthur Campbell, Joan Campbell. It’s about Annie Walker. So at some point, Jai will have to be brought back into the fold with Annie and I’m very curious to see how that’s done because I think that the one constant has been that there’s clearly an affection for Annie with Jai.”

Covert Affairs airs Tuesday at 10/9c on USA Network.

Images courtesy of USA Network.

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