TV Guide: When are we going to learn more about DA Jessica Devlin, James Woods' ambitious boss on Shark?
Jeri Ryan: This week's episode is the first one where I actually have a lot to do. You find out about Jessica's past, and it humanizes her. It ties into an old case involving a child murderer, before she was the DA. When she first prosecuted the guy 15 years before, he was being defended by James' character, Sebastian Stark. She was convinced he was guilty and did things that weren't on the up-and-up to put him away. Now she finds out she got the wrong guy, and she and Stark end up working together.
TV Guide: How do you feel about your lack of screen time so far?
Ryan: Of course it's frustrating. They keep telling me to be patient. I am happy to be there, but I'm hoping we're going to see more of the character. I want to see how she develops beyond her scolding Stark.
TV Guide: What's that dynamic about?
Ryan: Jessica's not a fan of the mayor and doesn't like how he stuffs things down her throat, like hiring Stark. They've always liked each other deep down, but she has no respect for his lack of ethics and the methods he uses to win a case.
TV Guide: What's it like working with James Woods?
Ryan: We joke that Jimmy's a windup toy. I have never seen anyone with more energy than he has — and that includes when my son [Alex, now 12] was a toddler.
TV Guide: Will your job as Stark's boss rule out a romance?
Ryan: I don't know if it will go beyond the flirtation and banter, but that's certainly fun. I can definitely see it.
TV Guide: Does airing opposite ER worry you?
Ryan: It's such tough competition. It's a huge vote of confidence for the network to give you that time slot, but it's also an enormous amount of pressure.
TV Guide: We heard you're getting married. Details, please?
Ryan: My fiancé, Christophe Eme, is French, so I'm scoping out the Loire valley. We're planning a June wedding. I'm also helping my future mother-in-law find a house.
TV Guide: What kind of event do you envision?
Ryan: It isn't as small as I thought it would be. We don't want a big American thing. We wanted it to be 60 people tops, but it will still be smallish at 80. It will be very French: simple and intimate. The area is so exquisite.
TV Guide: Where did you and Christophe meet?
Ryan: At a charity food event. He was the executive chef at L'Orangerie in L.A. I'm a big foodie — when I met him, I was cooking at a restaurant on Sundays. He was very cute in his chef's coat. Now we co-own Ortolan, a restaurant in Hollywood. It had always been my dream to do this. I played maitre d' every night for the first six months.
TV Guide: Your sexy turn as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager made you a pop-culture icon. What's that like?
Ryan: I was at the post office with my son yesterday, and somebody said, "Oh, my god, it's Seven of Nine!" It's so surreal, even after all these years.
TV Guide: Men loved that jumpsuit. How about you?
Ryan: It was miserable to wear. It took 20 minutes to get in and out of it. If I needed a bathroom break, production would shut down.
TV Guide: On Shark, Jessica is campaigning for office. You were at the center of a real-life sex scandal during your ex-husband Jack Ryan's run for the U.S. Senate. How did you get through it?
Ryan: You keep your head down. And you learn that Washington is not very different from Hollywood.
For stories on other CBS dramas, Criminal Minds and The Unit included, pick up the new, Nov. 13 issue of TV Guide.
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