Covert Affairs' Sendhil Ramamurthy: Jai Becomes a Force to Be Reckoned With
Who did Jai call at the end of the Covert Affairs summer finale?
His dad Henry (Gregory Itzin)? Liza Hearn (Emmanuelle Vaguier)?
Sendhil Ramamurthy had his guess, but was more than happy to be wrong. "I called up [creators] Matt [Corman] and Chris [Ord] ... and they said, 'No, no, no. This is what's happening,'" Ramamurthy tells TVGuide.com. "As soon as they told me, it was like, 'Wow!' It became clear what they were going to do. I was very, very excited."
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He hopes fans will too after the answer is revealed in Tuesday's midseason premiere, which will set off a "huge arc" for Jai in Season 2's remaining six episodes. Irritated with the lack of advancement and recognition at the DPD, Jai spent the bulk of Season 2 moping in the background until boss/frenemy Joan (Kari Matchett) dropped a bombshell on him in the finale: He's being relocated to the DPD's Southwest station in Phoenix, forcing Jai to make that mysterious call.
"He's trying to change his fortune. He's backed up against the wall and he really doesn't have any options," Ramamurthy tells TVGuide.com. "He's always been a little bit of a boy scout. He's, in a way, kind of institutionalized. He went to Yale, he goes through all the right channels. The last scene of the first season, between Henry and Jai, Henry basically says, 'There are two kinds of operatives. There's your kind and there's the kind like Ben Mercer who doesn't follow the rules. Maybe you need to be a little bit more of that.' I think Jai has gone against that simply because of Henry and who he is as a person and his bad reputation in the CIA. Jai doesn't want to turn into his father, but, I think at this point, he realizes that he's going to have to go out to get what he wants."
In other words, Jai has no one to rely on but himself now. Perhaps rather naively, the second-generation CIA officer has displayed steadfast loyalty to everyone from his dad — despite Henry trying to blackmail him — to Annie (Piper Perabo) only to have it bite him in the butt. Not even CIA father figure Arthur (Peter Gallagher) came to the rescue after his Phoenix dispatch.
So does he turn on one of them with the call? After all, Jai knows Henry is the leak and has so far kept that on the down-low. "He knows he has to leverage any and all information that he has to get out of this situation he's in," Ramamurthy teases.
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"Jai is a smart guy," he continues. "What I really like about him is that I really like that when things don't go his way, he's going to sulk a little bit, but he doesn't take things lying down. He figures out how to fix them, and that's what you're going to see now — this new, aggressive Jai. He wants to make sure he's not going to move to Phoenix, that he's not going to be ignored any longer in the CIA. He's not going to sit around, ask and wait."
Regardless of whether Jai moves to Phoenix or not, Ramamurthy can promise one thing: There will be more Jai in the next six episodes than ever before.
"Whenever fans come up to me on the street, they're like, 'Listen, we like the guy. We just don't know what he's doing. He's just there in the background,'" he says. "I'm like, 'I didn't either, but now I do. Trust me, it's worth it. Just watch these next few episodes.' ... I think this episode coming back is a huge step in the right direction for him. Jai becomes a force to reckoned with."
Covert Affairs returns Tuesday at 10/9c on USA.