Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Prison Break
Warning: The following Q&A contains spoiler information from the Dec. 22 midseason finale of Prison Break.
Has Gretchen committed her last double cross? For now, yes. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe's season-and-a-half Prison Break run came to a close this week when the former Company operative took a bullet in the belly and got carted away by EMTs, never to be seen again — this season, at least. TVGuide.com spoke with O'Keefe about her admirably extended stint on the Fox series where, like 24, nobody is ever truly safe.
TVGuide.com: You made it pretty far; 28 episodes is pretty impressive on this show.
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe: To be a bad guy, yeah.
TVGuide.com: And to be a female.
O'Keefe: That's also true. I'll give myself extra credit for that!
TVGuide.com: Are you happy that they kept Gretchen alive? Do you think it was for a reason?
O'Keefe: Yeah, I do. At the beginning of the year it was touch-and-go. There even was an article about how I was dead for a minute, and then I wasn't. [Gretchen originally was supposed to die in this season's opener, but producers changed their minds and rewrote her storyline.] I'm actually still breathing on-camera — I'm just mortally wounded — so you never know.
TVGuide.com: If the series goes on another season, she could resurface. Or, if Fox ever pulls the trigger on the Prison Break: Cherry Hill spin-off, it could be Gretchen breaking out of the women's prison.
O'Keefe: Yeah! [Laughs] That would be great.
TVGuide.com: You once teased for me a Gretchen/T-Bag romance. Was that something that got scrapped or ...?
O'Keefe: That's just something I heard. They tell us a lot of things, but not always the truth. They learned their lesson with me because apparently I give things away. [Laughs] I don't mean to, but ... I get excited!
TVGuide.com: And I guess we won't get the kind of Gretchen/Sara faceoff that fans really wanted.
O'Keefe: Not like the one I was hoping for. We had a little bit of a faceoff, but no guns were drawn. I handed Sara a whip and she kind of wimped out, like, "Nah, I'm good. I'll get you when the time comes."
TVGuide.com: The introduction of Gretchen's daughter was a nice element. It gave you interesting places to go as an actress.
O'Keefe: It actually made me human, which I appreciated. You can't be all-bad all the time. And that little girl was awesome — she looked just me, and she was the sweetest little thing! Her name is Reagan, and she drew me pictures on my birthday.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel like you proved to yourself that you could pull off this extreme of a role?
O'Keefe: Yeah. You know, I wasn't really sure if I could do it or not. I wanted to take a really good shot at it, but it's unlike anything I've ever done before. And me being the head cheerleader for security, I wasn't sure if it would work out. [Laughs] I could only hope for the best and dive in head first.
TVGuide.com: Gretchen showed herself to be a force to be reckoned with, a real live wire.
O'Keefe: Thank you. It's bizarre, because everywhere I've been going people have been stopping in their tracks to say just how much they hate me — and that's great. People must be liking it to say, "Hey, you're awesome. We hate you so much."
TVGuide.com: What was harder — getting in Dominic Purcell's face or being mean to Wentworth Miller?
O'Keefe: [Laughs] Being mean to Went is always hard. He's such a great guy and so sweet and funny and considerate. He's a lovely human being to be around.
TVGuide.com: Your final episode had this sexually charged moment between Gretchen and Linc, where she had this great line: "After all the mercenary humps I've thrown at guys in my lifetime..."
O'Keefe: " ... I think I'm due for what I want." Yeah, I was like, "He's not buying any of this!" [Laughs] He didn't believe me for a minute.
TVGuide.com: Yet there was a brief flash across his face where he seemed to at least be considering it.
O'Keefe: I hope so! I was giving it my best effort, like, "Please buy this! Please!" She was just looking out for herself, trying to get everyone on Team Gretchen. She's probably horny also. What other way can she use to get what she needs?
TVGuide.com: Do you have your next job lined up yet?
O'Keefe: No, I just finished with the whole Prison Break thing and now it's the holidays, so I came back to Jersey to hang out with my family. Everything will start back up in the new year — depending on what goes on with the [possible Screen Actors Guild] strike.
TVGuide.com: Do you think a SAG strike might happen?
O'Keefe: I certainly hope not. I understand the points, but it feels like such a bad time, with the recession and everything that's going on. I just felt so lucky to be employed. Granted, only six percent of us [actors] actually work, but I would thank god every morning that I have a job. To go back to another strike 0after last winter's WGA walkout]... I can't even imagine.
TVGuide.com: A final Prison Break question: Did you get to keep Gretchen's schoolgirl outfit?
O'Keefe: Uh, I gave that back immediately. I was like, "Oh, thanks. This was great."
TVGuide.com: Besides, you already have one in your closet.
O'Keefe: I do. I have several.
Read our full recap of this week's Prison Break here.
Watch our compilation of favorite Jodi Lyn video moments: