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Inside the Mind of FBI's Jeremy Sisto: Unraveling Crime, Character, and Career

In the dynamic world of television crime dramas, Jeremy Sisto is a force to be reckoned with. Renowned for his compelling performances and versatile acting prowess, Sisto has captivated audiences for decades. Currently starring as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jubal Valentine in CBS' hit series "FBI," Sisto brings depth, intensity, and authenticity to his character, captivating viewers with each episode. We recently caught up with Sisto to learn more about his journey in portraying law enforcement, his approach to character development, and the impact of "FBI" on the television landscape.

EM:  Tell us about your experience working on the set of FBI?  How has the atmosphere been among the cast and crew? 

6 years in, we’ve got a good rhythm going, family vibes, a solid foundation of trust in each other and understanding of what we’re trying to do. That’s one of the nice things of being on a long running show, you see each other through different stages of your lives. 

EM:  Your character, Assistant Special Agent in Charge – Jubal Valentine, is a central figure in FBI.  How do you prepare for such a demanding role, both mentally and physically?

At this point, I always have a clear intention of what I want to bring to the scenes, and I know that I can do that with the most ease if I’m in the right state of mind. But assuring that I’m in that perfect mood is the challenge. There are things I do that make it more likely, get good sleep, exercise… the things everyone tries to do, I guess… but it doesn’t always work. The good news is, it’s often on the days I’m feeling less than confident that we turn out some of the most interesting takes. You gotta use whatever you’re feeling to make things feel alive.

EM: FBI often deals with intense and complex cases. How do you navigate the emotional and psychological aspects of portraying the investigative process on screen?

The JOC, the Joint Operations center, is a very dynamic and exhaustive mechanism where up to 50 organizations are simultaneously connected and where information flows quickly and heavily. I try to bring the energy of how that really works to the show while still keeping the audience engaged in the story that we’re telling. The tone of the show provides boundaries that I’ve come to understand and my challenge is finding the place i can ride the line without crossing over into something that doesn’t feel right.

EM: What drew you to the role of Jubal Valentine, and how do you think your character has evolved since the beginning of the series?

What drew me to the show was Dick Wolf and having the opportunity to build a new franchise with him. Using the mechanism that is actually activated when the FBI has an active threat as the engine of a procedural crime deal was a challenge that seemed exciting. Jubal was born out of that effort. His character grew, I think, from a desire to show the humanity of the agents, the sacrifice, the dedication. Jubal is flawed for sure, but no one can question his integrity and his desire to grow. And of course he is damn good at his job. 

EM: FBI tackles real-life issues and challenges faced by law enforcement. How do you and the show’s creators ensure accuracy and authenticity in portraying these situations?

Of course, there is a lot of meat on the bone that comes from reality. The challenges to solving crimes and handling threats to public safety are as vast as the human condition. Our very talented writer Rick Eid and his team are always hard at work at using what is happening in the world to create engaging and relevant stories. It is our job as actors to experience how it would be to handle them. 

EM: FBI has gained popularity for its realistic portrayal of law enforcement.  What kind of research or preparation do you undertake to make sure your performance aligns with the reality of the FBI and its agents?

Early on we had the opportunity to spend time with agents, some of whom are friends still, and we always have an advisor, an FBI agent, reading the scripts and sharing his thoughts and ideas. While It is important to portray the reality of how the FBI handles these difficult challenges, sometimes we must take liberties, as our main objective is giving our audience an exciting ride. 

EM: Are there any challenges or memorable moments you’ve encountered while working on the show that stand out to you?

There have been plenty of memorable moments through the run, some great scripts to play, storylines to ride. Jubal, being an addict, has a past that has come back to haunt him on more than one occasion. He has had to handle the devastation of his son being diagnosed with cancer. He has had to deal with the death of his girlfriend. Those kinds of storylines are great for actors. they’ve allowed me to explore different parts of Jubal. But I think, most of all, I enjoy playing all those scenes in the JOC with Isabelle, Kelly, Elise, Ian, and everyone else, bringing the room to life. 

EM: FBI explores teamwork and collaboration within the Bureau. How do you build chemistry with your co-stars to convey the strong bonds between the characters?

Some of that is just luck. We all just get along really well.  Also, everyone has the same intention; to create a fun, relaxed, environment where every person who works on the show will look forward to being there. 

EM: With the success of the show, the franchise has expanded with spin-offs. Is there any chance we might see your character crossing over to other series within the franchise?

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on FBI international and am actually in Budapest at the moment shooting an episode. Really enjoyed it. Love the team over here and feel really proud to be on a show that has grown into a whole Tuesday night block. Hope to keep popping up in the other shows. Jubal is great multi-tasker. 


Watch FBI on CBS or online at:

And Jeremy SIsto on IG: @sistosistosisto

Show imagery credit: Bennett Raglin/CBS

Other image credit: Josh Telles


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