Interview With Kirsten Nelson of Psych on USA

Back in June I, along with five other online media outlets, got the chance to visit the set of Psych. During that visit we had the opportunity to interview the entire cast, which included Kirsten Nelson, who plays Chief Vick. She was the next to last person we interviewed, but the last one before lunch and in the little room you’ll see pictured below.

I’ve been a little lax in getting out some of these interviews, but thought this week would be a good week to post this one, as the interview starts off talking about tonight’s episode, “There Might Be Blood.”

In the episode, we get to meet Chief Vick’s sister Barbara, who just happens to be a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard. They end up bumping heads over who has jurisdiction over a case.

Kirsten Nelson Interview – Psych Set Visit

Kirsten Nelson: Hi there. How are you guys?

Panel: I hear your sister’s showing up this season.

Kirsten: Is that a taser?

Panel: Yes.

Kirsten: Dude! Don’t tase me!

Panel: Standard police issue, you don’t want to answer correctly.

Kirsten: Okay yeah, wow. You don’t mind if I turn the chair?

Panel: No, we’ll try and keep it that way.

Kirsten: Because that’s where I feel more comfortable. Wow, that’s amazing! We are looking at his recording device. Just so that there’s no—there’s no confusion later. (The recording device being talked about was quite large and looked like something you might find on the set of Star Trek)

Panel: [Laughter]

Kirsten: That was him laughing, loudly.

Panel: Could you move chair just a little bit–

Kirsten: Thank you, see, now I will feel better. That’s what I wanted to do the whole time, now I can. Why are we waiting?

Panel: So now that Vick’s got the job–

Kirsten: I do have the job now.

Panel: What now?

Kirsten: More confidence, does that—does that ring true? No, now that Vick’s got the job, I think it’s, like, a—for me, anyway, an ease, an ease in the office, an ease with these cops, an ease with the boys. As far as being able to tell them what to do and not really think twice about it. And I think that they came to a decision too, to keep me more in the office this season as well. So not on cases as much. Which is, I think, more reality. The chief doesn’t really go out, she delegates.

So a little bit more of that. We get to meet my sister. I’m very, very excited about that one. Do you know who she is?

Panel: Jane Lynch.

Kirsten: Damn, damn! That was going to be, like, my—you know. You want—see, this is what I—I was, like, talking to the AD, going, “You let Tim [Omundson] talk before me, because he’ll just talk!”

Panel: [Laughter]

Kirsten: And there’ll just be no stopping him. Yeah, so Jane is coming out and I’ve never met her before but I’m very, very excited.

Panel: What kind of relationship do you have with your sister?

Kirsten: Ooh, I don’t know how much I can give away, but it’s a—she’s the head of another law enforcement body and I am in charge of the police. So we have a very love/hate relationship. Or a competitive one, let’s put it that way. It’s competitive.

Panel: Is she older or younger?

Kirsten: She’s my older sister. Meant—I was meant to follow in her footsteps and I chose to take a different way and so it’s a bit of a point of contention. So I think it should be fun. So yeah, I don’t know how much I should tell you. Of, like, who she is and, like—

Panel: Tim said she’s sort of, almost a female—almost a female Lassiter

Kirsten: Tim again! He’s just [indiscernible]—no, I don’t—

Panel: She’s almost a female Lassiter in some sort of way.

Kirsten: She is a female Lassiter, yes. She is—like I said, she is in charge of another—she’s a commander, put it that way. So she’s very strict, very masculine, yeah, I guess we could use that one since it’s—Tim already told you. So she’s a very female Lassiter, she’s used to getting her way and the fact that I challenge her through—as a sister and professionally.

So we fight over jurisdiction, over a case and we’ll see who wins. Like, where was this murder found? Is it in my jurisdiction or hers and the sparks fly. So I’m looking forward to meeting her.

Panel: Is this the oil rig episode that we’re talking about?

Kirsten: Yeah, yeah, it’s the oil rig episode. Did Tim tell you that?

Panel: Actually [indiscernible]. [laughter] I’m trying to be kind.

Kirsten: No, no, no, I mean, we all dig each other so much up here, that’s why we can rib each other so much as well, because we all get along just really great. We actually had a barbeque in LA beforehand and, like, the six of us were hanging out with our families and it was really amazing. Because we all kind of sat around and looked at each other going, hmm, we kind of like each other. And just to have everybody’s families there too, like, the kids were on the swing sets and hanging around and running around. And Corbin brought his family as well and so his older one, I think, became the jungle gym for the younger ones, bless his heart.

So yeah, so it’s a good group. It’s a good group, we all like to hang out and we kind of stick with each other. So that’s why I can give Tim such a hard time.

Panel: We’ve been talking about Mafia and heard from various people that claimed to be the best. What—

Kirsten: They’re right.

Panel: [Laughter]

Kirsten: Because I stink at Mafia. I have no, I have no qualms with admitting that openly. I thought I was doing really, really well and then I realized that Dulé was my partner and it all hinges on Dulé. If Dulé and James are matched up, then we’re just dead, everybody’s dead.

Panel: That’s what they said .

Kirsten: That’s what he said? They got no modesty. I’m not, I am not and I don’t care, they’re all lying if they said that they were the best, because there’s only James and Dulé. Tim and Maggie, anybody else, no, they suck and so—

Panel: Tim admitted that he sucked. Maggie—

Kirsten: She’s the best. No, I mean, Maggie will stay in it for the longest, so you had to try to kill her pretty kind of quickly. If she—just even on the remote chance that she is Mafia because she’s so good at it. But if you ever team up with Dulé or James, you’re just toast, you’re just toast. You just might as well be, like, ohhh..

So—but we have a fun time playing it and, you know, like, six—ten o’clock on Saturday nights, what else are you going to do? So—who [goes to] sleep? Really. So we play a couple of rounds, imbibe a little in the drinking and we have—it’s fun. It’s fun because it’s, you know, it also, it’s—you’re building. We invite the guest [fest] or the directors, so just to kind of hang with us and—and they have fun. I hope they have fun. It’s just, like, another way to show that it’s a good group of people and hey, if you’re going to be sent up north to Vancouver, you might as well hang out with some [indiscernible] people.

Panel: Actually it was the writer of this week’s episode, Tim, is the one that said make sure we ask the whole cast about Mafia.

Kirsten: Oh, man! Yeah, yeah, it’s just—they start—these guys, once—they’re on the same wavelength and once they—it’s like they don’t even really need to communicate anymore. It’s like they just osmosisize [sic] with each other and then they just, you know, we’re all doomed and that’s why we laugh, on the set too. So it’s a little embarrassing.

Panel: Do they crack you up?

Kirsten: I try to stay—yes, yeah, they crack me up. I try to keep it together and just look at ears or eyebrows or just ignore them completely. But it’s hard, man it’s hard. Especially when you’ve been, like, in the same—this last episode that we were in, with the—what’s his face’s—Josh’s episode, “The Greatest Adventure in Cable Television.” That we were all in the interrogation room for, like, two days straight and it was fun because it was just the six of us. It was all the main six for, like, two days, because we’re interrogating them, trying to figure out what happened and we’re putting the pieces together. And Shawn and Gus and Henry are telling us their flashback. This is why we’re at the police station and this is why we’re covered in dirt and lost a shoe and I have a cut over my eye.

So it’s—that one’s a fun one. That’s, you know, there’s treasure, there’s pirates, helicopters are involved. So—but Tim didn’t tell you that, did he?

Panel: No.

Kirsten: Okay good.

Panel: Was that the episode that they tried to get a helicopter on, but they—the budget wouldn’t allow? Or was that a different one?

Kirsten: No, we got the helicopter for that one, right.

Panel: It was an upcoming one or one—

Kirsten: I think they wanted a helicopter today, or for the next one. For the one that starts on Thursday and, you know, I think the network said, “You already had one.” You get one an episode. It’s, like, what’s the Schwanzenegger movie? What’s the one with he and Jamie Lee Curtis?

Panel: Oh, True Lies.

Kirsten: True Lies with, like, the Harrier jet. It was, like, you get—I mean, the oil filling that thing up is just, like, that was a small country. So—but that one, we were all stuck together in the interrogation room for, like, two days straight. So, you know, long twelve, thirteen hour days and around hour ten, you just start giggling and it’s all gone and it just turns blue and we just go to dark comedy places, low comedy places. But it’s, again, at the end of the day, you’re kind of, like, ah, I like working, this is kind of fun.

Panel: What’s been your favorite episode so far?

Kirsten: In this season? I really liked that one, Josh’s. “The Best Adventure on Cable Television.” They’re all running together right now. I’m kind of in this haze. This one, the next one I’m really looking forward to, because it’s working with Jane and having a sister and actually having more of a story line for me there. “Roller Derby,” this past one, I mean, come on. All you have to just do is mention roller derby, what can you not love?

But I think “Greatest Adventure,” the pirate’s one, the gold one, I think it’s a great story and Steve—that’s the one that Steven Weber is our guest star in. It was going to be somebody else but we got him later, so that was—that’s really, really great. We’ve had some amazing guest stars this season. Just say yes, okay good.

So, you know, starting off with Rachael Leigh Cook for the first one and little—what was it, their thirteenth high school reunion. So the guys, they missed planning their ten year, so it’s, like, their thirteenth, because Gus finally got around to it. And she plays a love interest for Shawn and it was really great. It was nice, they had a lot of chemistry together and you see a lot of people’s hearts breaking because they’re, like, what about Miss Juliet? Miss Juliet! So it made them want her even more. It was, like, bring her back, bring her back, and it was hard to watch some of that because he was totally denying her.

But don’t worry, everything works out just fine. But yeah, we’ve had some really fun guests stars and Cybill. Cybill was in that one as well and who else? Who else have been our guests stars? Cybill and Rachael and Steven and—

Panel: And we’ve got Gary Cole coming up.

Kirsten: Gary is coming up in the next one—or two and then Jane with the next one. Who else has been?

Panel: Jeff [Fahey] [indiscernible].

Kirsten: Jeff Fahey, that’s right, motorcycles. That one was fun too, the daredevils.

Panel: Is there an actor you’d really like to be a guest star?

Kirsten: Oh, Hugh Laurie, I would love to see him. If I had to—just like, right off the top of my head, who would I like to work with, it would be Hugh Laurie and it would probably involve a piano. So that would be amazing. Of course I think he’s busy.

Panel: [Indiscernible]?

Kirsten: Yeah, he’s doing something, a TV show, a little show, [maybe some] Emmys. But he’s—yeah, that would be a real dream. I would love to work with any British actor, actor or actress. Just because I think they’re born funny. I think there’s, like—I think even Helen Murin has got to have, like, a funny bone inbred in there. It’s just—you just kind of insert chip [indiscernible]. So that any British I would say yes to.

I don’t know but I think I might be out of touch with, like, the ten years younger sect, some of those hot guys. I don’t know them, I don’t know them at all. But we’ve never introduced my husband so—a new lover. So I have no idea who—Hugh Laurie!

Panel: [Laughter]

Kirsten: Why not? See, we might as well—why not? We could shoot for the stars.

Panel: What about Jamie Bamber?

Kirsten: Jamie Bamber? Who’s that?

Panel: He’s from Battlestar Galactica.

Kirsten: Oh, [inaudible]. See this is what I mean, if I watched TV a little bit more, maybe I’d have, like, an idea.

Panel: Jamie Bamber happens to be local at the moment.

Kirsten: Oh, so he’s working now, but over—is this on Battlestar or is this on Capricorn?

Panel: I think it’s Battlestar, a couple of more days, get him quick. [Laughter]

Kirsten: I’m, like, dude.

Panel: [Laughter]

Kirsten: Now he’s selling his house, he’s feeling all bad, a couple of more days, oh. Those are people that I miss. I miss the Men in Trees, speaking of days—numbered days. They shot on our lot. They were, like, you know, a couple of stages over and they were a great group of people. I knew some of the actresses and that, I miss them. So it’s like a—you know, we always talk about The Sutton Place, you guys staying at the Sutton?

Panel: Yep.

Kirsten: You’re staying at Camp Sutton? Yeah, you—I’ve run into people in that lobby I haven’t seen in, like, twelve years. It’s seriously, it’s just a funny, funny—it’s a weird place to be.

Panel: LA North.

Kirsten: It’s LA North, it’s LA North, it’s LA Camp North. Because you just meet in, like, main hall and you just kind of wait around, you’re bound to see somebody. What’s my point in bringing that up, Camp Sutton?

Panel: That we should camp out in the lobby and just [indiscernible].

Kirsten: Bust [indiscernible] who goes in, see who comes in, yeah. But I miss them, yeah, because—oh, that was it. The people who are even up here, at the time, like, the—even the shows or—you might not even know them but you know that, you work. So you automatically will start talking to them. You might not have had an interest or felt the gumption of talking to them in LA on, you know, like, neutral territory. But here it’s kind of like, well, we’re all up here for the same reason.

So you feel a little different in the ability to approach somebody who you might like a little bit more and—

Panel: Pressure’s off.

Kirsten: Pressure’s off, definitely the pressure’s off. So it’s just—it’s nice. It’s a nice atmosphere there.

Panel: Do you find the working environment up in the Hollywood North a little bit easier than being paced out of LA?

Kirsten: Yeah, there’s a little bit more hands off attitude towards Hollywood North in the sense of—at least that we feel. I mean, obviously from, you know, production, I’m sure that they have phones in their ears at all times. Like, we’re watching this live. You know, it’s probably streaming in somebody’s office down in LA. But we have—I feel a little bit more freedom. Especially when I would do the sitcoms or even the one hours down in LA. Suits were always walking onto the set, “We’re just dropping by.” You know, and it changes the vibe on set completely, as soon as the producers or the executives just decide to drop by.

Nobody drops by here in Vancouver. You know, there’s usually a [indiscernible] memo and there’ll be time to prepare and, like, the transport’s going to get them and they arrive at the airport, they’re stuck in customs. So it’s a lot of hard work to get to Vancouver. But it’s a good town, the people here are amazing. The crew we have is fantastic. They’re very, very, very, you know, professional and could easily run with the big boys down in LA. Because this is their life, I mean, up here too.

So I like it up here. I miss my family when I’m up here. But I—it’s a good place to be sequestered for a couple of months.

Panel: You worked here before though, haven’t you?

Kirsten: I mean, just the past couple of seasons.

Panel: Like, not even before that?

Kirsten: No, I shot a commercial here, as customs told me. Like, “have you ever been here before?” It’s, like, a trick question. I said, “yeah, I don’t remember.” “It was 1997.” “Oh, okay, well, if it’s on there, why are you asking me?”

So I worked up here on a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial shoot in 1997 and—but that was the last time that I had worked up here, you know. But—and I go back and forth, kind of like Tim. But our families, both of our families moved up over the weekend, so we’re all kind of living up in a house and all together, so we don’t have to travel back and forth. So—oh, because the baby, the baby that was in my belly, for the pilot, that’s right. She’s a living being now.

Panel: We saw her picture on your desk.

Kirsten: That’s her, that’s her, that’s when she was, like, six months. She’s, like, two and a half now, that’s, like, crazy. So—but yeah, so the family’s up for the summer and we all can just hang and enjoy, enjoy the time that I don’t have to commute anymore.

So that’s the bummer about being up here, is the commuting. Because I—the family back there. It’s hard, I think that’s hard on all of us, is the going back and forth. Or the wanting to go back and forth to see our families, just to make sure that we still are in touch with them.

So, you know, we don’t—Corbin likes to get on a plane, very quickly, Corbin will get on a plane. That doesn’t say anything about Corbin, but [let me see] I think so. But he likes to get on a plane every now and then. He’s, like, “I’m wrapped? Good. What time is it? Four o’clock I—” I think he knows the schedule of all the flights in his head. He’s, like, “I can catch the four o’clock or I can catch the seven thirty, and I’m done at five, I can go.”

But I don’t get to work with him so much, I don’t work in the past, I’m not working flashbacks.

Panel: He doesn’t come into the station very often?

Kirsten: Not very often, no, because Shawn tries to deal with dad, you know, away from the rest of us, you know what I mean? But when he does come in, it’s fun, there’s a different energy and it’s—I like it, I like it. Because it just kind of brings the whole master story plot about people’s histories and pasts. Because we find out that he worked at the same time that Lassiter was a rookie, you know, we get to see Lassiter—

Panel: We saw that on the [indiscernible] the pilot, yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah, the moustache?

Panel: Yes.

Kirsten: Oh, I think Tim had a really fun time with that, he got a moustache [indiscernible].

Panel: I liked James’s hair, with—

Kirsten: Oh, James, he’s Judd Nelson, he just is Judd Nelson. Because he was walking around he was, like, “Oh!” I wasn’t working obviously that scene, I worked earlier in the day and I came on set and just laughing. It’s all you can do is just laugh and then it’s kind of like—I think they have fun with hair. Like, once they go backwards, they have fun with hair. Because we have Gus with, like, the total [inaudible] it’s [hidden] play action going on, it was, like [hidden] play is our guy [indiscernible]. So that was Gus and then—now we know James is Judd Nelson.

Corbin just keeps getting more or less hair. But Tim, his whole little rookie outfit and then I’m so—you know, the chief has a history with Henry, that we had worked together, we’ve known each other. But we haven’t seen any flashbacks of that.

Panel: I’ll text it over.

Kirsten: I know, dear Steve. [BFF], I have a question.

Panel: Are there any questions we should be asking Corbin, to get some good stories out of him?

Kirsten: I don’t know enough. I’m sure there are, I’m sure there—just ask him about his son playing football. He’s so—he’s a proud, proud father, when it comes to talking about his kids, his boys. He’s very private about them, but when he talks about his kid playing football, it’s just—you see a whole different side of him. And, like, working with his wife, working with Corbin’s wife Amanda, last season, it was—you know, there’s, like, a certain person that you work with, this is your buddy and then you saw him as a husband and a father and it’s—you see why they’ve been married for, like, twenty years. You’re, like, “oh, you’re so sweet!”

So again, I kind of like—I like everybody. But yeah, there’s no dish. I wish I had something just to hold over his head. I mean, Tim’s obviously giving you a lot. But no, nothing to—nothing to fun about.

Panel: Anything you want your character to be going towards this season?

Kirsten: Not that—I was happily surprised when we had the writer’s meeting back in early April, I think it was. We—which is a great—not every show that I’ve done has this. Where they get the writers together with the cast before the season begins. It kind of gives them—I mean, they literally were pitching us storylines and that’s rare, rare.

So “this is what we’re working on and what do you think about this and we’re going to go this way and that way.” And it was, like, wow, you’re actually—I mean, we knew we were there to listen and not be really included in the process. But it was nice that they decided to share that with us. So to hear that these storylines were coming up was exciting and I was really excited to hear about this one with my sister, the one with Jane coming up.

So I kind of trust their instincts about where they want to take all of our characters. I mean, first and foremost, we have to make sure that Shawn and Gus stay on track. Everything else is kind of like, nice icing, it’s nice little frosting. But I like where she’s going. I think it’s smarter to keep her more in the office and that that’s where, you know, to kind of delegate and lead [indiscernible].

Panel: Are you disappointed that you don’t get to go undercover?

Kirsten: Oh, let’s do that. That’s what I would love to do. I would like to have an episode maybe where the chief and Henry have to go, like, they have to use their combined post, like, their past knowledge of working some former cases. And they’ve got to maybe go undercover. Juliet gets to go undercover and she looks fantastic. [Indiscernible]. Me again.

Panel: Still here with [indiscernible].

Kirsten: Still talking. But yeah, no, that would be fun. I mean, Juliet’s gotten to go undercover a couple of times and that’s great and she has so much fun and we just giggle about it too.

Panel: She said she wants to do a WWE episode where she gets to go undercover.

Kirsten: She would be hot! I think she’d win! Of course when Mickie James was in her corner, that one she’d win. If she was, like, by herself, she’d get smacked down. But, you know, it would be kind of fun to do, like, one of those crossover episodes of, like, suddenly, I’m in the left corner, Maggie Lawson—WWE wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.

But that would be a lot of fun and you could—you know, it’s—we could do—have we even talked about doing—I think they were talking about doing that last time. The crossover with Monk, with the boys and that just keeps falling through, doesn’t it?

Panel: [Indiscernible] just, you know, it’s just ideas.

Kirsten: Yeah, it’s fun ideas, it’s fun ideas because USA has got some pretty—they’ve got a good load of shows, you know what I mean? And it would just be—it would be nice to be on somebody else’s playground for a little while.

Panel: I can see Monk coming to your precinct and you having to direct Monk a little bit.

Kirsten: Psst, psst, psst, [indiscernible] alone, just carries a bottle of Windex. Yeah, that would actually be—that would be really fun if Tony came up here. I don’t know if they can get him back to Vancouver, I think he’s got a no Canada policy.

Panel: They shot the pilot here.

Kirsten: They shot the pilot here, right, it was [indiscernible]. I think it was the first season or two, were they here though or were they Toronto?

Panel: No, here because [I] did it in Vancouver [indiscernible] all in the first season.

Kirsten: They were up here, right, and he’s done, he’s done. So no, that would be really exciting but—

Panel: It was raining lots [indiscernible].

Kirsten: He was what?

Panel: It was raining lots probably.

Kirsten: Yeah, yeah, it was. That was last season. I think last season was, like, the rainiest year on record and it was crazy. We were all depressed. Everybody wore black and gray and you just kind of came to work with your shoulders humped. Actually my son, the very first day that they moved up last summer, he was kind of sick already and they got off the plane and they were all tired. And then the next day they went out, I’m like, “okay bye, bye, mama’s got to go to work,” and my husband took him to, like, the playground. And it was, like, okay, it’s stopped raining, come on, come on, let’s go to the playground.

So they went to the playground and they literally got the tennis rackets out and it started pouring and there he was. He was, like, five years old, he’s, like, “Man, I hate Vancouver.” It was, like, this poor little sod crying in the rain, that’s how we started our summer. Like, all right! We’re ready to go! Two and a half more months! So it’s very rainy.

Panel: August is nice, August last year was—

Kirsten: August is a fantastic month.

Panel: You weren’t working in August, or were you working in August?

Kirsten: I was hanging, I was hanging, I was here. No, because I had, like, four episodes off in a row last season because of my contract and then—I was just—but I was still in Vancouver for some reason. But yeah, it was gorgeous, it was absolutely gorgeous and I think I saw a beer sign once coming from the airport, it said, you know, for both of Canada’s seasons, winter and July. It’s like yep, that is—that’s my town, that’s my adoptive home city.

Yeah, so they’re here, it’s not going to rain this year, it’s been fantastic, it’s been a glorious day if that—if that means anything right now, sweet. We can only go up, or down.

Panel: Do you guys get a little bit of a break between the next [indiscernible] episodes [indiscernible]?

Kirsten: We have a hiatus for two weeks, we get a two week hiatus beginning on July 17th. I think we’re probably just going to stay put. Maybe go see family back in Ohio. But yeah, that way the writers can kind of catch up and James can kind of put his seatbelt on, strap himself in. Because his episode is coming up next. So he’s right off the top after the hiatus and [indiscernible] that he’s so gung ho, he’s very gung ho.

Panel: Is that the episode he wrote?

Kirsten: He’s going to write and direct.

Panel: Going to be busy.

Kirsten: He’s on episode nine. So I don’t know if he’s really having a hiatus, per se. Because he’s, like, in the process of—in pre-production for his own movie that he’s, like, going to shoot right when we wrap. So he’s a busy little camper. But if anybody can handle it, he can. I mean, the man is just, like, “what do you have, three pages? I got—“ you know, he’s just—the way his mind works, it’s amazing. We just kind of sit there and we—our jaws are dropped when he has to do his big infamous wrap ups at the end. They’ve broken those up now this season, so it’s not just kind of like him talking.

But it really is incredible. Even some of the guest stars are, like, “How does he do that?” I’m, like, “we don’t know. We don’t pretend to know, we just kind of like ride it, hang on and go.” So yeah, so he has his hands in many, many a pot right now. But he’s really keeping it together, he’s very, very capable, very capable of it.

Panel: Thank you for joining us here.

Kirsten: You’re welcome, for joining—joining us—

Then we took the following picture:

Update 8.28.2008: There seems to be a problem with the photo gallery with WordPress, so I had to take the photos out of this post to get the interview to display. Am working on figuring out a fix and then the photos will be back.

In the picture above from left to right: Reg –, Lisa – MediaBlvd Magazine, Rae – RTVW Online, Kirsten, John – Canada Channel, Michael – TV Verdict and Me on the arm of the couch.

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