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Jeri Ryan Previews the Layers of Her ‘Quirky’ Villain on ‘MacGyver’

A short interview with

She “had a ball” reviving her iconic Borg character Seven of Nine on CBS All Access’ recent Star Trek: Picard. Now Jeri Ryan (above) looks to keep the good times going with an arc on the rebooted action drama MacGyver.

Ryan makes her debut tonight as Gwendolyn Hayes, the maternal aunt of Phoenix Foundation operative Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till) — who never knew she existed! When Mac’s father, James (Tate Donovan), aka operative Oversight, is nearly killed, the trail leads back to Codex, the nefarious group Phoenix has been tracking. Surprise! Gwen — a former agent for Phoenix precursor DXS (Department of External Services) who was presumed dead — heads it!

Ryan previews the tense family meetup.

What was it about Gwen that made you want to play her?

Jeri Ryan: Part of it is [executive producer] Terry Matalas wrote [this episode], and I love him. He’s been a friend from our Star Trek: Voyager days. I like that Gwen is not your typical network-drama villain. She’s got a lot of layers. She’s a little more quirky. It’s not black and white with her. Her motives are noble, as far as things go. In her mind, she’s the hero — she’s saving the world.

Mac doesn’t agree.

He can’t argue with her science; it’s sound. I don’t want to give too much away. The biggest part of her struggle is to try to get him to understand her way of thinking and get him to support it.

What do she and Mac have in common?

Certainly the intelligence and the love of science and the savvy. She’s his mother’s sister. Genetics is a real thing.

His father never told Mac about her, but she’s always known about him?

Yes. She’s tracked him throughout his life and kept an eye on him. Her love for her nephew has always been there. He never knew his mom, so this pits his desire for family against his loyalty to his friends. We have some cool twists.

MacGyver, Fridays, 8/7c, CBS

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Three Video Clips

I’ve added video clips of Jeri’s scenes from Star Trek: Picard 1.09 Et in Arcadia Eco, Part 1 and a clip of her auditioning for The Last Man (2000). The can see the new additions in the sidebar as well as at the bottom of Video Library page.

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Jeri Ryan Is a ‘Star Trek’ Icon—and One of the Most Important Political Figures of Our Time

A nice interview at The Daily Beast:

Jeri Ryan is still haunted by those five little words. “It’s the scene that I’ve always hated,” she says with a sigh. “The notorious Then you wish to copulate? scene. Hated everything about it. It was so on the nose, so gratuitous. I haven’t gone back to watch any of it.”

It occurred in “Revulsion,” the fifth episode of Star Trek: Voyager’s fourth season. Ryan’s Seven of Nine, a statuesque Borg in a silver, form-fitting catsuit, attempts to seduce Harry Kim, the Operations Officer of Starfleet’s USS Voyager. After an extended monologue on the nature of human sexuality, she asks that he remove his clothes; he panics, stammering awkwardly. They remain friends.

“That scene annoys me so much, because it stands against what this character was. She was completely asexual and innocent, and had no clue,’ offers Ryan. “I remember saying, We’ve really got to slow this down. So we pulled it back after that.”

She adds, “Plus the catsuit was a pain in the ass. I had to have someone dress me and undress me all the time, and it was a 20-minute production shutdown to go to the bathroom.”

When Ryan joined the cast of Voyager in Season 4, the show’s ratings reportedly jumped 60 percent. “I’ve heard that,” says a chuckling Ryan. “When they added the character, UPN made no bones about how this was their chance to break Star Trek into the mainstream, and so they put the publicity machine into overdrive.”

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