Parminder Nagra's Reaction to Alcatraz Premiere: "Already? You're Killing Me Off?"
Despite being shot by a sniper in the two-hour series premiere of Alcatraz, Dr. Lucy Banerjee will not mysteriously disappear from J.J. Abrams' new Fox drama — which is, of course, a relief to her portrayer, Parminder Nagra.
"When I was told that was happening, I was like, 'Already? You're killing me off?'" Nagra recalls. "They went, 'No, no, no, no. This is what's happening.' It's always disconcerting when you've been shot as an actor because it's like: Are they going to survive or not?!"
Dissecting Alcatraz's Mysteries: Who are the '63s?
Lucy — with the help of San Francisco cop Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), Alcatraz expert Diego Soto (Lost alum Jorge Garcia) and federal agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) — has been tasked to hunt down a group of more than 300 guards and prisoners who seemingly vanished into thin air in 1963 from Alcatraz. The big twist? She's one of them.
"You'll begin to start seeing a bit more of the backstory," Nagra says of Lucy, who was once a psychiatrist on the island and now works closely alongside Hauser. Both of them worked at Alcatraz when the '63s disappeared, but it remains to be seen whether they knew each other then — though he was especially distressed when she was shot. One thing is sure: Both are hiding a wealth of secrets.
Nagra previously starred on NBC's ER, where the biggest mystery to the audience was the medical jargon. Now, she finds herself almost as much in the dark as the audience about her character and the mysteries surrounding the '63s. "It's good actually, because that's been the fun part of doing something like this because you're only given limited information, and if you are given any, it's relevant to a little bit of the story line," she says. "It really is like going with the flow in the truest sense."
"Jorge was like, 'Well, this is sort of what happened on Lost," Nagra adds. "Eventually, you go, 'Well, I guess this is just what it is and you've got to go with it.' Very quickly you learn that's what you have to do."
Alcatraz's J.J. Abrams: New Fox drama is on an island, but it's not Lost
One of the bigger mysteries Nagra is interested in learning about is why even her own character doesn't know where the '63s were for the nearly 50 years they were missing, as evidenced by Lucy's interrogation of Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce) in the premiere. That's one mystery that won't be revealed for a long while, though.
"Hopefully, in the next few more episodes we have left to film, we will get some of those things answered. I wouldn't be surprised if it was kept secret a little bit longer just to really frustrate [the viewers]," she says with a laugh. "It keeps people coming back for more."
Alcatraz airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.