Rachael Leigh Cook – Miss Perception
by Jay S. Jacobs
Rachael Leigh Cook looks like such a sweet, charming, harmless sort that it is always entertaining to see her play a tough character.
That is doubly so in the case of her fascinating current series Perception. Cook plays Kate, who is trying to be a hard-boiled FBI agent against her own inner niceness. Kate has brought her friend Dr. Daniel Pierce (played by Eric McCormack of Will & Grace) to the Bureau as a specialist on mental disorders.
The problem is, despite the fact that Dr. Pierce is a brilliant, world-renowned authority on neurology, he also has his own mental issues, which make him quite unpredictable. As a former student of Dr. Pierce’s, Kate feels a need to protect the man and yet she also needs him for her own career advancement.
As if the politics of the Bureau and fighting crime wasn’t complicated enough, the second season returns Kate’s ex-husband Donnie (Scott Wolf) into her professional life. Her intrinsic anger towards him is only slightly tempered by the fact that she must grudgingly acknowledge that he is something of a help in her job.
Soon before the second season of Perception debuted, we had the opportunity to have this exclusive chat with Cook about the return of the series.
Congrats on the second season. This year the show went from ten episodes to fourteen. Was it nice to see that TNT was so strongly behind the show to let it stretch out more?
Absolutely. We thought we were making 13 this season, which was going to be great. Then they bumped us up to 14. I don’t know how we got that little extra credit assignment, but I think that the writers were definitely up to the challenge. I love our finale. I [also] love the winter finale (episode 10 of the season). I’m so glad that we’re doing it.
In the season premiere, Daniel notes that he is so happy he’s no longer even cynical. Can Daniel survive without his cynicism?
Oh, no way in hell! (laughs) He probably didn’t make it that way until the commercial break. Yeah, he is who he is. That’s his greatest asset and his Achilles heel as well, in some aspects. His cynicism is going to keep him questioning everything, which will hopefully continue to make for a great show for us.
The first couple of episodes look at Daniel’s relationship with Caroline, who is of course the real life inspiration for his hallucination of Nicole. Do you think that there would ever be a chance that the real woman could live up to the one in his head?
Oh, man. Can a fantasy ever [be] lived up to [by] what someone can be in reality? Probably not. That’s probably the case for our heroes as well. I don’t know how she would be able to pull that off. As irresistible as Miss Kelly Rowan is, it would be tough.
In last season’s finale, Daniel kissed Kate. It turned out to be one of his hallucinations, but it was obviously on his mind and there have been hints of romantic tensions previously as well. Do you think they will ever try a romantic relationship or that there is too much to lose on a personal and professional level?
They both know there’s a great synergy there between the two of them. Whether or not it could ever turn into something else is not something that I think either of them would take exploring lightly. So, in that sense, and in the sense that we want to have a job a few seasons from now, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But you can definitely expect varying levels of tension to appear throughout the season – with a serious wedge thrown in the works played by Scott Wolf, who plays my ex-husband.