Reggie Lee is feeling a little emotional these days. With his show Grimm's series finale only a week away, the end is near, and it's been tough for him to say goodbye to his beloved character, Sgt. Drew Wu, he admitted in an exclusive interview with Syfy Wire.
After being introduced as a character who mostly delivered exposition about the case of the week initially, Wu has become an invaluable part of the team, especially with the fate of the world at stake as Skull Guy tries to take down Team Grimm and deliver hell on Earth.
Lee (Prison Break) chatted with Syfy Wire about the final two episodes, why Wu has changed him as an actor, and the one thing he wishes Wu could have experienced.
Congratulations on the show.
Reggie: Thank you. It's been a crazy, crazy amazing ride. Oh, my goodness. You're in for some surprises.
Talking and yet not talking about what's ahead must be tough.
Reggie: Well, especially this season. This past season has been nuts because we didn't air till later, months later, and so trying to remember back to it ... We all talk to each other on a fairly regular basis. So it's like, wait, what happened? ... It's interesting, because people were expecting a full-fledged mythological series this past sixth season, but they did managed to sprinkle in some fun ones and some standalone ones. We have some semblance of mythology. I think they pretty much kept to what they've been doing, which has been working. It's so amazing.
From your perspective, whatever you can tell us, what do we have to look forward to in these last episodes?
Reggie: It's emotional. It gets incredibly incredibly emotional and, for people that have followed this show, it gets very heart-wrenching. But I will say that with the heart-wrenching-ness that is to occur within the next couple of episodes, the way it ends at the very end, I think the fans will be so incredibly happy with, because there's a lot of things get tied up. But then there's an opening, and it's a wonderful opening that involves the future. It will leave people with a really warm fuzzy feeling, I think.
I know every fan will be happy if we get a satisfying ending.
Reggie: Trying to maneuver it, yet give you something exciting to look forward to and that's what I can say about it. I'm looking forward and I don't normally watch them. But I will watch these last episodes. We're all getting together actually to watch this.
A Grimm Party, for the Grimm folk.
Reggie: It's always a Grimm party. So, yeah, there's a journey for each particular character. Man, I'll tell you, I never would have predicted for Wu what has happened with him throughout this entire series even from the get-go.
Initially he was mostly around for exposition and to say a funny line. Over time Wu's become an important part of the team.
Reggie: I was testing for different pilots at that particular time when they pitched the story to me, they gave me a little a few things here and there. But it was like, how do I fit this into the entirety of the show? I knew I would be doing exposition and in that regard I thought, how do I bring life to this? Because in a day and age when Asian Americans there were not playing a lot of series regulars at that particular point ... even now it's not a lot. But still, back then I think they were forging a different path, and so it was getting to this point where he is integrated and has a life.
I auditioned for all these other things, and sometimes they give me stuff with just exposition of a character because there's so many procedurals, and so you get stuck in that rut. And I go, "Oh, no, I can't – not after having been through Grimm and a life and experiencing what they gave me – will I ever be able to go back." It was a gift truly to have this full circle-ness that comes around, and a lot of the fans will see a very much a full circle with these next episodes.
It'll tie it all up. There are certain things that are still left to the imagination and not tied up, but mostly they tie a lot of things up.
What challenges did you face with Wu?
Reggie: I think because of what will happen in the next couple episodes, I truly think that the biggest challenge was keeping in the story. Because man it's going to get very emotional. So a lot of it was very rough. It was tough on set emotionally. I mean even right now as I talk about it I get emotional. The things that will happen in these next couple of episodes get very emotional. So it's keeping that, being able to fulfill the story and keeping that in check, the emotions of leaving the show, of the show being over and everything that happens within the show. It was almost like a very, very quiet set with the crew all around because everyone just had a lot of emotions. I think that was the biggest challenge for me was. It's so hard to say because I can't give anything away ... The intensely high emotions were the biggest challenge for me, both as a character and as an actor.
What's the one storyline that you wish they would have been able to delve into more?
Reggie: A love story. A Wu-mance.
A Wu-mance, yeah!
Reggie: Every one was pining for a real Wu-mance and it was interesting because with something that started with that whole Midsummer Night's Dream episode where we all fell in love with whatever and it was initially teased to me that might carry over a little bit into whatever they had left. But the thing is they had so many things to tie up. It couldn't fit anywhere and I got it. I got it. But that was the one thing that I really thought, you know a personal life. Some kind of personal life. You saw a bit of it, you know the episode that happened in Season 3, you know with friends, with a cousin, with the younger me, with a grandmother, but it wasn't really carried through that much. But certainly a love interest would have been really nice and it would have been nice as an actor for me to experience that. I think that a lot of the fans [wanted things to go in that] direction. It's like either that or when is he going to get promoted?
That was a question I had. Wu should have gotten a promotion.
Reggie: I know. Interestingly enough because they treat me like a little lackey on the show, but a sergeant is above a detective. The reason I'm at crime scenes is because I have to manage and oversee all the crime scenes and actually dole out to different detectives which crime scene they should be on. I did more management stuff. So the interesting part is that it seemed like he was an underling, yet he was really ranked above.
He was always being ordered around by everybody.
Reggie: Correct. Exactly, and I had to justify that to myself. It really was like taking this management position. Yes, you would do that for the good of the case, for the good of this. But in some ways you had to retain some semblance of having some kind of power over them in some way, shape or form. But it's hard to say once they start with that particular thing.
The one storyline that annoyed me over the years on Grimm was when Wu winds up in the mental institution because they won't just tell him about the Grimm and the Wesen stuff. It went on for so long and didn't seem to make sense. Why would you do that to a friend? I was really annoyed by that.
Reggie: A lot of people were. That was the moment I think I felt a wonderful appreciation from fans and press alike. And it was interesting. I did a round of interviews [about then], and they were like, "We were sad, we were angry, we were all of the above," and I remembered on the Internet it popped up Nick and Hank, like their picture with the word, 'assholes' written on it. And then I think the writers room ended up printing that out and putting it up all over the writers' room. It was the first time I felt like, "Wow, they really got into this like emotionally and they got invested." And it was a really wonderful source of support and I felt very inspired after that to do right by this character.
I liked seeing the Wu and Monroe investigation. That was fun.
Reggie: Yeah, we had a really good time with that one. The funny part is Silas and I have worked together. We did Prison Break together. We were in acting class together before we even did this show and we both were doing a scene with each other. It was a scene from a play called Beckett which was very, very a wonderful, wonderful play. But we were like, okay, should we go back to acting class and go back to where we left off in Beckett? Those two characters, interestingly enough, were both more in real life, more dramatic material. But we ended up being the ones that were the funny ones on the show.
Wu and Monroe and Hank always had the best lines.
Reggie: I tell you what, it's a blast. The one thing I got out of this is like I'm not a real sarcastic sardonic person, but boy I think I can be now. I've learned a few tricks from Wu and now it is integrated into my entire persona.
All the characters have evolved in such wonderful ways over the series.
Reggie: I know and the thing is they've kept us all together all this time. I know people get pissed because it's like, "Wow, someone can die." But I think it was a testament to the writers and to Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt in particular, them feeling a semblance of family outside of the show. Wanting to keep the show together regardless and it was their loyalty that kept us as actors together and I don't think it was to the detriment of the show.
We can't stop watching now, not with Skull Guy and the healing stick and the fate of the world and everything. We want to see how it's going to end.
Reggie: Oh, yeah, I mean, it goes there. It delves into a very different world, I'll say that. It's going to be very interesting to see how the fans react to it and I can't wait. I mean I can wait for it to be over because right now you feel it emotionally that it's winding down. It is going to end, like really end. Like there's not going to be another episode. It's going to air, and now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty. So I'm going to take a big old vacation after this last episode.
You deserve it. Do you have anything else coming up? Anything you signed up for?
Reggie: Right now we're going through pilot season and it's crazy. There's a lot of things that you say no to. But I did do two other movies that are coming out probably in the summer and the fall. One I actually play a detective that takes care of the entire case throughout the entire movie and that's called Sunflower and the other one is a horror thriller called Behind the Wall, which is really fun. So look out for those. But in terms of another show I don't know that the want to sign up for another show immediately. It's tough.
What was the biggest surprise, the thing you weren't expecting in the last season?
Reggie: Boy, I'm really trying to sit myself down with that one because there were a lot. I think to me the biggest surprise really was how they ended it, the entire thing. I never in a million years thought it would wrap up in that direction and it did. At first, I was amazed. I was truly amazed because these writers ... That's why I'm not a writer because I can't come up with this sh**. The stuff they actually came up with, I'm like, "Holy crap, wow. That really wrapped it up and left it very exciting with possibilities." I think that what the ending holds was the biggest surprise to me. It's going to be fun ride, it will be fun and sad and fulfilling and all the above.
Grimm airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on NBC.