Rosewood’s Jaina Lee Ortiz says that she owes her success as a tough TV cop in Miami to her dad – a real-life detective.
Jaina Lee Ortiz has been a hit as troubled Miami cop Annalise Villa. Season 1 Mondays Universal Channel (*117) 20:50
Sassy, sexy and comfortable with using a gun at work – that’s all in a day’s work for 29-year-old newcomer Jaina Lee Ortiz, aka detective Annalise Villa in action show Rosewood (2015- current). Together with Morris Chestnut, who plays series star Dr Beaumont “Rosie” Rosewood – her partner in fighting crime on the sunny streets of Miami, they’re putting the bad guys behind bars (plus maybe falling in love…) And it looks like there are a lot of new cases on their way with the series being renewed for season 2.
Tell us about your first day. We shot the pilot in March 2015 in Miami and it was hot and humid. I wore a leather jacket, skin-tight jeans and three-and-a-halfinch boot heels. My first scene involved me chasing a suspect down a historical street in Little Havana. I must’ve sprinted about 50 times, I almost lost balance and rolled my ankle because my handcuffs flew out of their holder. The next day I could barely walk. In all honesty, it was a dream come true. Half the time I was thinking, “Is this really happening? Am I really shooting with Morris?” I was like a kid in a candy store! So did you undergo any training with weapons or for stunts? The only training I’ve received was from my dad Joe Ortiz, a New York homicide detective. He took me to a gun range when I was a teen to experience handling and firing a weapon. All of my other stunt experience is from my dancing background – I was a professional salsa dancer for 14 years before I started acting in 2010. Understanding choreography helped me pick up fight sequences quickly and I always want to do my own stunts. Did your dad help with the detective part of your role? Absolutely. He played a Jaina and her dad Joe, a real-life cop. And tell us about Rosie and Villa’s relationship. They’re partners at work, but will it ever become romantic? They have a special relationship. They’re opposite ends of the spectrum but they work well together despite the constant banter. And there’s no denying it – there’s a deep attraction, but I think the foundation is what is being built. They’re building immense trust and respect, which are the main ingredients for a healthy relationship. Will that build into something romantic? Maybe. Will they finally get past the denial stage and give it a shot? I’m dying to know! Rosie (Morris Chestnut) and Detective Villa on the job.
What makes Rosewood so popular? It’s a fun show. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and fans can relate to the characters. It’s a procedural [a crime drama with new cases every episode] with a serialised element that makes people fall in love with every story arc. Was filming all serious business, because it looks like you have fun… I love catching Morris sleeping. I take photos or videos of him and post them on social media. And are you busy with any other projects? I’ve been keeping busy binge-watching The Walking Dead (2010- current)!