Dead- end job
Jeri Ryan, born Jeri Lynn Zimmerman in Munich, was raised on military bases in Kansas, Maryland, Georgia and Texas. Her rise to recognition began when she was named Miss Illinois in
1989, then won the swimsuit competition in the 1990 Miss America Pageant. Ryan has since carved a career as an actor in shows including Star Trek: Voyager and Two and a Half Men.
She plays Dr Kate Murphy in forensic drama Body of Proof.
Q: What do you like about the medical- cop show?
A: I’m actually a big science geek. Always have been. I love the medical aspect of it. I love that it’s set in the medical examiner’s office. We have observed autopsies, which is amazing. I was so excited when my character finally got an autopsy and I got to dissect a lung. Give me another lung, I love it. It’s fun. Q: Blood and gore isn’t necessarily something we would associate with you, until now.
A: I’m not squeamish. I’m a science geek and I’m a cook, so a body part is a body part. It doesn’t matter what animal it comes from. A liver is a liver. A kidney is a kidney. They’re just different sizes. Q: What did you learn from the people you were shadowing for research purposes?
A: One was in exactly my position [ her role in the show]. Basically she was the first female chief medical examiner in the city where she was working. What really blew me away about the female technical advisers was they were in such a position of power that you would sort of assume they would be focused on work and have tunnel vision. They’re not at all, which is something I tried to base Kate on. I love that they live their lives. They are the most amazing women. One of them drives race cars, shoots guns. She skydives. She mountain climbs. I don’t know how much of that is specific to working around death all the time that you realise how fragile life is and how quickly it can go, so you have to take advantage of every minute you have.
Q: Do these chiefs still care about the victims as you do in the show?
A: That was the one thing we all asked when we got to go to the medical examiner’s office on our first field trip. How do you do this job? How do you do this and then go home? There’s always a respect because it’s a human being, someone’s loved one. But you have to have a disconnect or you couldn’t actually do what you have to do in an autopsy.