Premiering July 13, the USA series "Covert Affairs" about a newbie CIA agent, is set in Washington, D.C., but is shot in Toronto, where great efforts are made to be green. “Not only do we have paper, plastic and glass recycling, this week we also started recycling our organic waste. I was really excited about that,” says star Piper Perabo, who tells us that for a scene in episode seven where a soda can is thrown away, she successfully lobbied producers to include a recycling bin. The production also provides biodegradable utensils at catering and craft services and has eliminated plastic water bottles. “They handed out personal water bottles so everybody can just refill their bottles on set,” notes Perabo, who recycles at home, where she keeps her energy consumption low. “I’m always at work,” she explains.
Co-star Christopher Gorham, who plays a blind CIA agent and friend, guide and confidant to Perabo’s Annie, approves of the stricter recycling rules in Canada, where garbage and recyclables are picked up on alternate weeks. “Only green waste gets picked up every week. You get a little bucket for that and you keep your scraps in it in the freezer. It’s all new to us, but we’ve warmed to it, I’ve got to say.”
For Gorham ("Ugly Betty"), playing blind has been “a big challenge and something that I was really excited about. It’s kind of made the process of doing a show brand new again for me.” He got help in learning how to navigate indoor and outdoor space from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and he uses cool props like a Braille keyboard laser cane.
Perabo was doing a Broadway play and reading film scripts that didn’t floor her when "Covert Affairs" came up. She signed on for her first series because she liked the possibilities over the long haul and as a tomboy, she thought the action aspect would be fun — even though she doesn’t get to do some stunts, like jumping from a plane. “USA would have never let me,” explains Perabo, who spent a day at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., speaking to young agents. “I did a lot of physical training before the pilot, predominantly combat training,” she adds.
The "Covert Affairs" cast also includes Sendhil Ramamurthy as an agent, Eion Bailey as a mystery man in Annie’s life, Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett as married agents, and guest stars Eriq LaSalle, Oded Fehr and Gregory Itzin.
The reduce, reuse, recycle mantra is in full effect on the set of the new TNT series "Rizzoli & Isles", where scripts and call sheets are recycled in provided receptacles and water is dispensed from jugs, not single-use plastic bottles. Stars Angie Harmon (above left) and Sasha Alexander (above right) follow the same principles at home. “We recycle, turn off the lights, don’t leave the water running, the normal things that people do to be as green as possible,” says Alexander, who’s looking into buying a diesel car. “We turn the water off when we brush our teeth, recycle like crazy, the whole nine yards,” echoes Harmon, who’s known to dig through garbage cans and admonish, “This doesn’t go in here!” when something is incorrectly tossed. “The most important thing is we tell our children so they’re aware of it,” adds Alexander, the mother of a 4-year-old daughter. “Imagine the way it’ll turn around when they’re the older generation,” Harmon, mom to three girls, says hopefully.
The actresses hadn’t met before they were cast as homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles in the series, which premieres July 12, but they bonded immediately (as have their kids) and have already vacationed together. Both find the five-month shooting schedule ideal, but insist they’re not much like their characters. Jane is more of a dressed-down tomboy than fashion-loving former model Harmon, though “I have the same drive as she does.” Alexander has no head for math and science, and while she loves her stylish wardrobe, wouldn’t wear heels on the job.
Both, however, love the show’s premise and tone. “These two women met at work, and they’re at a point in their relationship where they’re learning a lot about each other and we’re learning as we’re shooting it. I find that unpredictable and organic,” says Alexander. “These two can be all things — silly, vulnerable, sexy, strong, angry. And they’re not competitive with each other.” Gruesome crimes are balanced by lighter moments involving blind dates or running the Boston marathon, notes Harmon, who considers eating, drinking and hanging out with Beantown homicide cops the key to Rizzoli’s sense of humor, “probably the best character research I could have done.” Alexander, who’d met with a medical examiner in her "NCIS" days, can also go to the one the production keeps on set as an advisor for guidance on holding a scalpel properly.
"Rizzoli & Isles" also stars Lorraine Bracco and Chazz Palminteri as Jane’s parents and Billy Burke (the "Twilight" saga) in a recurring role, with guests including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Donnie Wahlberg and Brian Dennehy. Harmon, whose last series was the similarly themed procedural "Women’s Murder Club", sees that show as “a dress rehearsal for this. This is the perfected version,” she says.
“I drive a Honda Civic hybrid, I recycle like crazy, and I use recyclable grocery bags,” says Emily Rose (pictured right), star of the new Syfy series "Haven". Filming the series in a Nova Scotia fishing village (standing in for Maine), she was impressed by the town’s recycling incentives. “They have clear garbage bags so people aren’t allowed to conceal what they’re throwing out. You have to put it on the curb and the garbage men can see what’s in there,” notes Rose, whose FBI agent character discovers that the residents of her new town possess supernatural abilities in the series loosely based on the Stephen King story "The Colorado Kid".
An orphan with her own mysteries to uncover, Rose’s Audrey “has a lot of things that she’s trying to figure out about herself and she comes to a place where these people are dealing with things that they don’t know how to grapple with.” "Haven" premieres on Syfy on July 9.
Additional photo credits: Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander by Gerri Miller; Emily Rose by Eric Ogden/Syfy.