'All Rise' actor Jessica Camacho says she went to court and watched public defenders to prepare for her role as Emily Lopez
In an exclusive chat with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Jessica Camacho speaks about working on 'All Rise' which has received a full-season order from CBS
'All Rise' debuted on CBS this fall and the freshman drama has been steadily increasing its viewers. With bold episodes that deal with immigration and ICE, PTSD from racial profiling, and more sure to come, Gregg Spottiswood's show has shown it will not shy away from the oft-ignored topics on primetime TV.
On the show, Jessica Camacho plays public defender Emily Lopez, a young, hopeful lawyer who fights with her heart and soul to defend those whom she finds innocent.
Camacho's list of acting credits is impressively versatile, spanning across genres with shows like 'The Flash', 'Another Life', and more recently, 'Watchmen' on HBO. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Camacho spoke about playing Emily and her other works.
Camacho is quite proud of the character as she talks about Emily trying to find herself on her own terms after a divorce. She says, "We're going to see her make mistakes and try new things some things that work some that she's not ready for."
Emily tries to define her identity aside from her work and outside of a long and unhappy relationship.
Emily also just recently started a relationship with bailiff/law student, Luke Watkins, and Camacho says the two recognize a light in one another, that ignites something within them — for now, Luke and Emily are still figuring it out.
Audiences would have already seen the depth with which Emily emotionally connects with those she is representing and Camacho says that's the kind of person she is.
"She's sensitive, passionate and I believe that's one of the reasons she got into law and became a public defender," says Camacho, adding that Emily believes in something greater than herself.
She continues, "[public defenders] are overworked, underpaid and carry a great deal of burden knowing that a lot of these cases don't win."
She believes Emily will be hardened as time goes on, but we will see her struggle with the heavy stuff, moments when Emily doubts whether she can successfully defend her clients.
To prepare for the role, Camacho went to the court and watched public defenders while they were working. She also watched documentaries and read up about them in the news.
She says of her work on 'All Rise', "there's no action to hide behind, there are no masks or costumes and [the show] is much more grounded in reality".
She says she is learning to be "comfortable with being uncomfortable by being more vulnerable and raw" as she evolves as an actor.
Camacho's character, Emily, shares many of her scenes with Simone Missick's Judge Lola Carmichael as the two play off a mentor-mentee relationship.
Camacho says it is a pleasure working with Missick and says she feels about Missick, the same way Emily feels about Lola and says "she's an immense talent and a graceful human, but she's also really playful".
She says that Emily and Lola are going to have moments of tension where they don't see eye to eye, but no matter what is going on, "there's always this innate respect that you have for one another as women who have had to face adversity to get to where they are."
'All Rise' airs on CBS on Monday nights.