The Law & Order universe welcomed a new spinoff and a longtime favorite back into the fold with Chris Meloni's Law & Order: Organized Crime and fans are getting to know the team throughout the first few episodes. That includes tech savant and hacker extraordinaire Jet Slootmaekers, played by the talented Ainsley Seiger, who is already one of the key members of the Organized Crime team. Ahead of the next big crossover chapter between Organized Crime and Law & Order: SVU, ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to Seiger all about the episode, her audition for the show, and working with Meloni and Mariska Hargitay on one of the most anticipated crossovers ever.
Organized Crime is actually Seiger's television debut, and while it is undoubtedly cool to make your TV debut as part of such a famous franchise, Seiger admits there is some added pressure.
"Oh, definitely, there's been pressure, whether real or imagined. I was super, super nervous to join the show, especially as a fresh face in the industry, and I was really nervous," Seiger said. "I was like what are people going to think about my character? What are people going to think about me? Knowing that there had been so much anticipation built up to this show, so I definitely was feeling it a lot. I think since the premier it's calmed down quite a bit, and I'm also incredibly grateful for the reception that the show has gotten, and also the reception to Jet, I think has made me so happy to see."
Going into the audition she knew that the role was for Organized Crime, but her character wasn't all the way set in stone just yet. "I knew it was Organized Crime. I knew when I got the email," Seiger said. "I had a lot of details actually when I got it. It's funny because my last name in the audition was originally different and I didn't see... my name had not been changed to Slootmaekers until I actually looked at my contract. I saw it and I went, 'Okay, this is who I am. Got it.'"
"But the audition process was interesting. I had a lot of details," Seiger said. "There's one scene that I auditioned with that was included in this season, which is cool. I read the background on who Jet was, just initially, but my first scene in the pilot was actually one of the scenes that I auditioned for the show with. I didn't hear anything back for about a week. I was like, 'Ah, probably nothing happened from this. I didn't get it. Whatever.' And then I got a call a week later, 'We're flying you up to New York in three days.'"
"My mom was teaching a voice lesson, and I ran into the house, screaming at the top of my lungs that I booked SVU, which was not accurate, but that's what I said," Seiger said. "And then later when I talked to her about it, she was so confused. She was like, 'I was wondering why you were so excited about it.' I was like, 'Yeah, well, it's because it's not SVU. I'm a series regular on a spinoff.'"
Organized Crime is not only a spinoff series in the Law & Order franchise but also the long-awaited return of Chris Meloni's Stabler to the franchise, and fans are finally getting answers and payoff after he left the show. The expectations are big, but the team is having quite a bit of fun bringing. itall together, and Seiger has nothing but great things to say about working with the franchise favorite.
"Oh man, it's been so awesome. I'm constantly trying to come up with new or interesting things to say about him without sounding creepy because I love working with him so much," Seiger said. "And I always say that there aren't enough good things I can say about him. He's so funny, and he has been so welcoming to me."
"I think one of most surreal moments was, of course, the first scene that I ever filmed was actually a shot from episode two," Seiger said. "So I showed up on the first day, and I had just met him. I had just met everyone else, and I'm doing the scene. And I'm reading to him, telling him all about all these things I'm finding on the internet, and freaking Elliot Stabler is looming over my shoulder, and I'm just trying to screw up my lines. That for me, was a total mind-blowing experience."
The crossovers are bringing together Meloni and Hargitay after quite a bit of time apart, but they haven't lost any of the chemistry, and being around them just cements how real their connection is.
"They are so fun together. It the most fun to watch them be together too," Seiger said. "I worked with her for one day. We were on set together for one day, filming one of the crossovers, and it was so nice to see them hang out and laugh and to know that their connection is real, this relationship that they have, that everyone is so ... This on and off-screen partnership that they have. Their chemistry together, not only as actors but as people, it's amazing to witness. And that is really ... I'm jealous. That's a friendship that everyone wants."
Jet is already starting to set herself apart from other characters in the genre, and to try and find her own voice she opted not to look at other hacker and tech experts heading into the show, though some comparisons do end up getting made.
"I really wanted to go in with my own approach to her. Of course, I'm a huge Criminal Minds fan, and that's the one that I keep getting is everyone saying, 'Oh, she's reminded me so much of Garcia, and she reminds me so much of the girl from NCIS.' Those are the two that I keep getting," Seiger said. "It's funny, because I specifically, in playing Jet, I tried my best not to do what they do. I think both of their characters are very happy and well-adjusted people, and I think Jet is not that. I think both interesting qualities to me as a character is this is someone who has hopefully worked by herself. She's now coming into this band of brothers and working on a team with these people towards a shared goal."
"And also, there's a level of bonding with them as people that I think is unfamiliar for her, and it's really awesome to get to play with everyone and figure out over the course of the episodes, well, how is this relationship changing who she feels more comfortable with right now, at this point in the show. And what would have happened to have them get to a point, where Jet maybe actually makes eye contact with them? You know? So it's been really, really fun to explore that," Seiger said.
We did get to see Jet out in the field recently, and the good news is that won't be an isolated thing. "I think Jet is definitely more of an indoor cat, absolutely, but we will get to see her leave the house a little bit more often, and that has been really exciting, not only for me as an actor, to get to go and hang out on location, but I think it brings a new layer of the character to life, which is how does she function somewhere where she doesn't maybe feel as safe as she does in her computer laboratory or the task force, in the precinct? So we'll definitely see more that, and I can't wait. I love when Jet gets to go outside," Seiger said.
You can see Seiger in action during tonight's Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime crossover, which kicks off on NBC at 9 PM EST.
What have you thought of the series thus far? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things Law & Order: Organized Crime and SVU with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!0comments