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SYFY WIRE Quantum Leap

'Quantum Leap' star Caitlin Bassett on having Superman Brandon Routh playing her TV dad

Quantum Leap serves up an Addison heavy episode and introduces her dad!

By Tara Bennett
Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 5

In this week's new episode of Quantum Leap, Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett) gets to have the spotlight when Ben (Raymond Lee) leaps into an officer on the USS Montana, which just happens to be where her dad is the XO for the legendary Captain Bill Drake. In the 'S.O.S." episode, Addison gets to observe her father (played by Brandon Routh) in a way she's never before been afforded, as they've been estranged since he "abandoned" her and her mother. 

Up to this point, audiences have only gotten snippets of stories of Addison's life with Ben before he jumped into the Quantum Leap accelerator, but this storyline really opens the door on the pain Addison has wrestled with regarding her emotionally withholding dad. With the writers room busy crafting new episodes while the series is in production, Bassett tells SYFY WIRE that she only knew this episode was coming a few weeks before production started on it.

"I got a little heads up," Basset shares with excitement. "And that was really, really exciting for me because I was like, 'Okay, here we go! We have one coming up.'" While she knew the story would center on her character, she didn't know the specifics until she got the script. And she didn't know who would play her dad until just a few days before they started shooting. Her immediate reaction to Daddy Brandon Routh?  "I told everyone!" she says with glee. "I was like, 'They had to get Superman to play my dad!'"

RELATED: Original 'Quantum Leap' producer Deborah Pratt on 'coming home' to direct her first episode, 'Family Style'

Bassett says she loved that the writers also set the episode in the military world, which leans into her pre-acting life as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army and the National Security Agency, who had three international combat deployments, two of which were in Afghanistan. "It was my world," Bassett says of the machinations happening inside the bridge of the USS Montana.

But she does note that it was also an interesting divergence for her because being on a ship was the only thing that she didn't do while she was in the Army. "I did all the things, but I was never on a ship and I wasn't in the Navy," she clarifies. "Unless you're in the Navy or the Coast Guard, normally you're not on a ship much. So that was really cool that I finally got to kind of round out that experience."

Asked if the writers or executive producers used her expertise to make the script more authentic, she says they got her feedback on a couple of moments in the script. "But truthfully, again, ships are their own worlds. I was learning with everybody else," she says. "They have their own rules about when you wear hats and when you call rooms to attention. But I think the one thing I remember commenting on was the rank clarity. Originally, how it was written, there was a bit more of a dichotomy. And I was like, 'Oh, they're the same rank,'" she says of how two characters were levied in a scene. "So just things like that, about how you would talk to each other. Other than that, [executive producer] Dean Georgaris is so knowledgeable in this world that he crushes it every time."

RELATED: Brandon Routh on joining a new sci-fi universe in 'Quantum Leap,' the end of 'Legends of Tomorrow'

As the episode unfolds, Addison comes to understand her father through his conversations with Ben. What comes to light are a host of secrets that he kept from her about his military career and why he left the family. It creates a deeply emotional moment when an unseen Addison forgives her father, and he responds in a way that implies that in some way, maybe he heard her. 

Bassett reveals they had to shoot that important moment at the very end of a long production day, which wasn't optimal. But it worked so well because of her scene partner. "Brandon was amazing," she says. "We had actually decided amongst ourselves to get his coverage first to let me settle in. But honestly, I was so loaded. And [the emotion] was so accessible because my dad was a Vietnam veteran. There's something about meeting your parents, at their age, and understanding them more deeply from an adult perspective, that I was so available. So I was like, 'Actually, Brandon, can you just shoot me first?' He was like, 'Absolutely.' We only did it once, maybe twice."

With Ben and Addison changing the trajectory of her father's future, it begs the question: Could we see a father and daughter reunion in the future? Bassett hopes so. "I do agree that the relationship certainly has strengthened in the present. So yes, it changes things."

New episodes of Quantum Leap air Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, then stream next-day on Peacock. A second season is currently in development.