More medical drama! Jill Flint talks about “Night Shift”

Night Shift Jill Flint headshot

It’s 10:15pm on a Tuesday night. A patient is intently watching the tv while the doctor proceeds to repair her finger laceration.  Sounds of a medical tv show are heard in the background. Surgical procedures occurring simultaneously: One on tv and one in real life.  As the doctor briefly looks up at the show that has  calmed her patient, she looks into the eyes of TC & Jordan of “Night Shift”– on tv! This is based on actual events as a doctor during my own night shift.   Which leads us to…

We can’t get enough “Night Shift”!  First we had the incredible Brendan Fehr.  Now we have the amazing Jill Flint, who plays  ER Doctor Jordan  Alexander. She joins us to give more behind the scenes look at our new fave medical show.

 

The Night Shift

Jill has had a prolific career.  She is known mostly for her role as Jill Casey in USA Network’s “Royal Pains”, but her other tv credits include “The Good Wife”, “Nurse Jackie”, “Gossip Girl” to name a few.  Her film credits include “Cadillac Records”, “The Women”, “Garden State”, and the “Amazing Spiderman”.  Now she adds Dr. Jordan Alexander of “Night Shift” to her long list of tv credits.

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It’s awesome!  We are having so much fun together.

There is a lot of comradery on “The Night Shift”.  I can definitely see that.

We hoped that comes through.  When the producers put us all together and saw how we got along, all nine of us, they were awestruck.  They said, “They are like little kids on the playground!  How did this happen?”  Gabe Sachs would follow us around and video tape our conversations and what we would do and how we interact with each other and tape it.  This is kind of brilliant. He pays attention to how we talk to, to how we interact with each other, and they used it.  It is kind of gold that all of us get together.

Did you all recently attend the ATX festival?

Yes.  We got there on a Wednesday and left on Sunday.  We wanted to take time to go to San Antonio and meet people and hang out.  San Antonio is great.  It was such a warm, lovely welcome. which means a lot to us since we are shooting a show based in San San Antonio but we are shooting in Albuquerque.  It meant a lot that they were so kind.

Night shift atx

I know it is shot in Albuquerque. Do you ever do do any filming in San Antonio?

It is all purely in New Mexico.  That is not to say that wouldn’t love to do something in San Antonio.  Believe me, all of us top to bottom would love to go to San Antonio so we can infuse more of that awesome city in the show.  It’s a cool place.  

As far as the show itself, I love your character.  It’s great that the characters in the show has the essence of ER doctors.  There is a certain behavior that ER doctors have, so to the cast–great job!

Thank you! I try to base some of her attitude on my brother.  He was an EMT for years.  When you have somebody gushing blood, how do you approach that?  When you have somebody in trauma, your approach to that, your demeanor … How you can command without sounding afraid?  And how do you talk to a patient and put them at ease?  I tried to absorb as much of that as humanly possible.  In real life, I’m terrified of blood.  When my husband cut his hand open a little while back, I stopped the bleeding, wrapped it up and put his hand above his head.  I then promptly sat down on the toilet and put my head between my knees.  He said, “What are you doing?”  I said, “Trying not to faint.  Keep your hand above your head!” I don’t do blood.

There are a lot of medical procedures on this show.  Did you do a medical bootcamp for this show?

Before we started shooting, Zach Lutsky,  an ER doctor who is our ER consultant, infused the medical work on the show.  So yes, we got a medical bootcamp.  We learned terminology – proximal, distal – so we could understand what we’re talking about.  He taught us how to suture.  He explained cardiac arrest.  There were things I didn’t know. It was fascinating.  He showed medical procedures that he had done that week.  It was absolutely disgusting and totally fascinating.  We also have  on our show was Susie Schelling, an operating room nurse and a saint.  She  was there as well as Zachary to show us everything from the appropriate way to hold an instrument to, what it was for, what our setup should be for a certain operation, how we should have the needle.  For every minute detail, Susie was there to walk us through it.  What she would do is , we would do a rehearsal for the words and blocking for the shot.

While the camera and lighting was setting up, we would have 20 minutes or half an hour where Susie would drill us.   We would get some extra or person would lay down for us and I would go over every procedure from how to intubate to suturing a hole in the chest or inserting a chest tube.   Some of it was camera trickery, but being able to attach the words to the movement?  Do not disturb me in those rehearsals.  I was psychopathic!  How to make each moment proper … It meant a lot to me that when I intubated somebody, it looked real. When I’m inserting a chest tube,  I wanted it to look as real as humanly possible.

I credit it all to Zachary and Susie.  They were amazing.  I got an education and they are so open with the information.  It is tv.  Nobody wants to tune in to watch people giving shots all day.  You have a 1 hour time period so you have to truncate certain things.  It is fascinating how the ER functions. I did my research on how it works, it is like a “dance in the chaos”.  It is a choreographed dance in the chaos.  It is fascinating.  Everyone has their place.  Everyone has their job. Even  the concept of how the ER was formed is fascinating.

The Night Shift - Season 1

After playing the role of Jordan, do you feel your overall view of medicine and ER and the night shift has shifted as a result of this?

I’ve always had a respect for the medical profession.  I am endlessly fascinated with diagnosis.  But it does not change the fact that the last place I would ever want to find myself in is the hospital! (laughing) I’m one of those people that if I find out you are a doctor, I will pepper you with questions because I find it fascinating . . . and I respect nurses. I have a whole newfound respect for nurses.  Amen for the nurse.  

They do a lot.  The ER is like a machine.  Everyone has their own function.  If one part of that machine isn’t working, it slows things down.  Everyone has to do their part. The nurse is one very important part of the machine.

I have the respect for the ability for people to stay calm while you have a patient that could be potentially bleeding out on your table while you are trying to find all the bullet holes.   I have a huge respect for that as well.  

Thank you for the respect of the medical profession.  

There’s always been a respect but now it is a whole other level.  Talking with Zachary and talking with Suzy and listening to the stories . . .  And it’s a dangerous place.

Yes, that’s true.

Head trauma can make somebody violent.  You don’t know if you are dealing with somebody who is intoxicated or on something, or if they have a weapon on them.

Was Jordan based on a real character?

TC & Landry are based on an actual person.  Jordan is someone they came up with.  There is no Jordan.

There is a lot of tension between Jordan and TC.  Jordan’s boyfriend appears on the show. 

Yes, he does show up.  He’s played by Scott Wolf.  He’s awesome and lovely and we all love working with Scott.  Jordan fully believes she and TC are over, although in her heart it’s not over for her.  She won’t admit it to herself.  Here’s the thing about Dr.  Scott Clemmons.  He’s the guy who’s good on paper and someone you bring to your mother.  He will show up on time and remember your birthday. He’s definitely the good guy.  It doesn’t change the fact Jordan still has a bond to TC.  They have a loaded past with each other.  She’s trying to make the good choice and choose the good guy, but her heart is somewhere else.   It’s not something she would admit to herself out loud.  Jordan believes it is over between her and TC and TC has moved on as well.  She is just carrying on with her life.

Night Shift  - Jordan & TC

In future episodes, are we going to see more of her personal life or will it stay focused on her work life?

A huge aspect of her life is with TC and how she is there for TC.  There is an episode where they show you why she got into medicine in the first place and what motivated her to be the woman she is today. What motivated her to be this person who doesn’t give up and what pushed her in the medical profession? It unfolds her past and really opens up why she is the way she is.

How did you get involved in the show?

I auditioned for it.  They had been looking for Jordan for quite some time.  I had just gotten off “Royal Pains”.  They sent me the script.  My agent said, “They are shooting on Monday in Alberquerque.”  It was Thursday.    I got the script, read it,  prepared the role, and auditioned within 4 hrs.  I got the role and was in Alberque by Saturday.

That was fast!

It was fast. It helped inform the feeling that Jordan had bitten off more  she could chew and jumped off the deep end when it came to taking over the night shift.  It was kind of how I felt. (laughing)  There was a moment where I was like, “Holy s***.  I just booked the lead in a pilot on NBC. Holy s***.”  There was definitely that moment. There is a lot of work put into Jordan. There is a lot of conversation, a lot of dialogue between me and the producers and how to tack down who this woman was and really make her come into life.  It was a whirlwind and one of the coolest things.  I feel lucky.  

What is the best thing you like about playing Jordan on the show?

I really love playing a woman who has that much passion and that much conviction.  It is unwavering.  I respect that.  She stands on her own two feet.  She doesn’t back down.  I like when you see a role of a woman written that strong, you go for it.  I was very excited.

Jill Flint headshot

You can catch “Night Shift” at 10/9c every Tuesday night on NBC.  Missed an episode? No worries! You can catch them online at their official web site below.

Night Shift. Where the day ends and the battle begins.

Official web site: http://www.nbc.com/the-night-shift

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NBCNightShift

Twitter: @NBCNghtShift