Ellen Tamaki, who some of you may recognize at Niko from Charmed, entered Manifest at the kickstart of season 2 as Drea, Michaela Stone’s brand-new partner.
It didn’t seem like a good fit at first as Mic was adamant about staying partnered up with Jared, her ex-boyfriend, but overtime, Drea began to prove herself as a trustworthy ally.
She would assist Mic in her cases and raids, cover for her when she needed to “handle something” related to the Callings, and stepped in when Mic went undercover as a druggie with Zeke.
All of that culminated on Monday’s Manifest episode “Carry On“ when the partners exchanged notes, surmised that Jared was an X’er, and Drea went undercover to scoop out the shady bar he attends to get more dirt.
We got to chat with Tamaki about her time on the NBC series, the dynamic between Drea and Mic, what it’s like working with Melissa Roxburgh, and well, we tried our best to get as much scoop about the remainder of the season as possible.
Check out the interview below:
Your character Drea and Mic make a very dynamic duo… tell us a little about that.
When I first came on the show it was a mystery. You know, we’ve wrapped the season, so I know what goes on for the rest of the season, but when it first started they wanted her [Mic] to have the new partner and they wanted some new faces in the precinct, and they’re like well what better way to do that then to kind of like create like this new relationship for her [Mic] that isn’t romantic.
I love seeing women on TV who have more relationships than just romantic ones, and I think there can be something so dynamic and professional about female friendships and that’s kind of what we have been discovering throughout the season is the way that these two characters get along and learn from each other. Drea comes in at the beginning and is just so infatuated with Mic and is trying to get Mic to warm up to her a little bit.
Yeah, and I feel like that happened on this Monday’s episode. They teamed up, but behind-the-scenes, you and Melissa were just in the car and you had all these snacks while you were filming.
Yeah, well the thing is Melissa’s my pal, so it was only a matter of time before that started to bleed into the scenes that we’re shooting. The way that TV works is we were in that car for like four hours, there’s a camera set up looking at both of us, there was one looking at me, there was one looking at her, and so, we got hungry, and we’re cracking each other up, and yeah, we had a bunch of snacks, and I think I also tweeted something or maybe Jeff [Rake], our showrunner, tweeted it that we just started kind of ad-libbing at the end of the scene and editors kept it in because it fit our characters and gave it some kind of authentic like “Ellen and Melissa” banter as well.
So many veggie straws https://t.co/gxc0KB4vHq
— Melissa Roxburgh (@melissaroxburgh) March 3, 2020
It’s funny because you guys had so much fun filming it but this scene and what was happening was very serious because they believe Jared is an X’er.
It’s such an intriguing storyline. Why are they so eager to believe that he’s an X’er and to believe the worst in him?
It’s been a long journey between the two of them [Mic and Jared] you know like everything they went through last season and so far this season. We can’t deny that Mic knows Jared better than almost anybody and she’s gonna know if something’s up and if something’s really wrong.
And inherently, these two women — we have to make the assumption that they’re good at their job, they’re good detectives, and they’re good cops, and you have to have an intuition about that. I think it’s absolutely right of them to be really suspicious especially because it’s this hate group… a really dangerous group!
There’s also this other side of Michaela that’s protecting her family as well, and I think it’s right of her to be cautious and for them to really seek out and sniff out what’s really going on.
There are many who believe — myself included — that Jared’s undercover. I know you probably can’t tell me… but…
Obviously, I can’t say anything, nope. But with this show, anything is possible you know. If you’ve been keeping up on it at all, you know. But I also think, in the same vein, that it is possible that someone that you think you trusted for so long maybe not be who you thought they were.
Do you think it’ll like negatively affect any of their careers? I mean, Mic went and told the Captain what she found.
Well, I think what’s so interesting about the dynamic of the precinct this season is that Captain Bowers showed up and was like “oh no, no, no,” like “I am not here to stand for this undocumented kinda woo-woo way that you’ve been solving all of these cases” you know, and she kind of shows up and lays down the law in a certain way that’s like “maybe this slid last year but not anymore.”
And so I think the tap Mic wasn’t allowed to place in the bar and all these things could have really serious repercussions down the line for her professionally or even for Drea professionally. I mean, Drea, keep in mind like I, Ellen, watch the show. I know about the Callings, but Drea has no clue about this huge side of her partner you know.
Right… which leads me into my other question… is she going to get sucked into this mystery more? Or is Mic going to open about these Callings to her?
Over the past couple of episodes, you see that Drea is willing to do anything to help the cause. The entire precinct has turned on Michaela and she’s like you know “how do you know that you can trust the people? How do you know that someone not leaking?”
And turns out you know there is a leak somewhere, but she is just staying so loyal to her because I think, at the end of the day, Drea does have a good intuition and does care about her job and cares about the force and wants to do her best and is learning from who she believes is the best. And whether Michaela is the best because she’s having these Callings or the best because she truly is an excellent, moral cop, I think it just makes Drea just want to stay by her side and do the right thing.
Ideally, I guess if, at the end of the day like to be really really close friends with someone, I think you do want to share a lot of special things about yourself, but the Callings are pretty insane, though. How do you know that you can trust someone with information like that? I don’t know. If you had Callings, would you be able to share that with your work partner? I don’t know.
And I feel like Mic did try to share that with Jared before but he never truly believed her, so maybe not…
Yeah, because if you open that part of yourself up to somebody and they reject it well then you’re just gonna put another wall up. It’s going to be even harder for you to open that part of yourself to someone new. I’m sure Michaela really needs to protect herself and protect her family.
On a show like this with so many complex mysteries and supernatural elements, you can’t really trust anyone. And a lot of fans don’t seem to trust Drea.
Or that she has Mic’s best interest in mind really… what’s your take?
From what we’ve seen so far all she has done is have Mic’s best interests in mind.
Before we even hear Drea speak, the first thing we kind of see of her is that she can’t wait to get to Michaela, and she’s always kind of watching her out of the corner of her eye, and so I understand, yeah totally, that is that people may think she may have ulterior motives, but I think up until now she’s really proven herself.
She showed up right in the nick of time when it came to the bust when they go to meet the drug dealer. There’s just been a lot of times when I feel like, “how many times does Drea have to prove that she’s there with Mic’s best interests in mind?”
I believe in her. She’s a character that I really love to play because I think she really lays it out on the table and loves what she does and loves being a really good partner.
You work with Melissa a lot. Is there someone on the cast that you’ve been really wanting to work with more that you haven’t gotten to share any scenes with?
And don’t say everyone…
I mean, that’s the judicious answer, right? To be like “everyone’s amazing,” but it’s true, this is one of the greatest shows I’ve worked on, cast and crew and you know everybody involved, but the person who actually came to mind is Parveen, who plays Saanvi.
I ended up getting close to her hanging out New York and we were able to have like a couple of days on set together, but we didn’t have to get to have a big story-arc. Our characters have two totally separate situations going on and they’re really complicated stories, but I think it would be really cool to work with her and to see how these two women could maybe start figuring stuff out together.
We joked before that there is going to be like the “Drea and Saanvi” spinoff. But I would love to see where her science could meet his detective side of things and see an interesting subplot develop out of there.
She might need Drea’s help because that cure she gave herself that eliminated the Callings seems to have some dangerous side-effects.
Yeah, Drea to the rescue!
Do you/ did you have any of your own theories… since your a fan of the series?
Gah, it’s hard because we did wrap, so I know what’s coming in the next couple of episodes, but I remember when I was shooting kind of around now in the season, I love the way that the writers reveal information to us because I kind of was like rolling with it like a little bit, hanging on every word because I didn’t know exactly where Drea was going, and at one point, I had a writer say to me, “well, we just had something really fun happen in the writers room.” And I’m like what is it?” And she’s like “we just changed a huge part of your storyline,” and I was like “can you tell me what it is?” And she’s like “no.” And I’m like “can you tell me what it was?” And she’s like “no.” So, of course, I had a lot of theories about where Drea is headed and what that could be.
I also love thinking about the new baby and kind of how that baby’s gonna come into play in terms of the Stone Family, and how Grace gets Callings now, and how the baby is now going to factor into the world of 828’ers.
We’re close to the end of the season… can you sum up the rest of the season in one word?
Something I love about watching is that I never feel any lacking in mystery and exciting things, but what’s different about shooting it and watching it is when I’m shooting, I’m really one-track mind. I’m only shooting scenes with Mic and the rest of the precinct, but then when I get the whole script and I see how it fits into the whole thing that really is what the season is about for me.
It’s about how all of these puzzle pieces fit together, so I guess the word that I would give for the rest of the season would be “jigsaw.” To see how these puzzle pieces fit together to figure out this massive mystery, these big questions, and they find a good way to put all these pieces together in a really beautiful way at the end of the season.
You were on Charmed for a good chunk of the season and you played a detective on both the show and Manifest… what other types of roles are you really hoping to dig into?
It’s really funny, but when Charmed came along, my family was cracking up about that like “oh, Ellen,” cause in my day-to-day life, people who are closest to me have always just been like “you? A cop?” But when I got this second one people started going like, “okay, well, you’re the oldest sister. I guess you’re kind of bossy,” and we were just joking around trying to figure out where the casting came from.
But when I think like into the future and the projects I want to work, I feel like I love and gravitate toward roles that are super grounded and driven and moral. I’ve read some scripts recently that are really fascinating about incoming new Congresswomen who want to evoke change in the government. Or maybe even in the vein of a detective, but the scrappy detectives who figures out that there’s something wrong with the system and she goes on and tries to fix it.
But it’s also acting and maybe one day I want to play someone that is in a ball gown and goes to the Met Gala. That’s something that I just do love about acting is that you can go into all of these different very far reaches of a character where anything is possible.
I’d also love to work on something really physical. My training is in physical acting, and I once played Billie Jean King, the tennis player, and so I think that if there were something where I could use my physical acting training maybe like a superhero that I would love to dive into.
Catch Ellen Tamaki on Manifest on Monday’s 10/9c on NBC!
Manifest Review – Wingman (3×03)
A Peacock, peacock feathers, ancient Egyptians — what does it all have to do with Flight 828?
We’ve been asking ourselves that question for two seasons, but on Manifest Season 3 Episode 3, the mythology begins to bubble up to the surface.
It’s promising a sign that we aren’t completely abandoning the symbolism because it’s part of a larger plan.
However, we’re kind of past the point of continuously seeing the peacock without any context. Audiences want to know how it fits into the overall mystery of the plane’s return.
We find comfort in knowing that there is a piece of the puzzle out there just waiting to be found that may provide some of the answers we’re seeking.
The Callings tried to lead Ben to the papyrus, but sadly, Eagan decided to dispose of it while pawning off some of the other artifacts he stole from the storage unit.
Even without the papyrus’ missing piece, we know the peacock is a symbol for two things: immortality and resurrection.
Manifest Review – Deadhead (3×02)
Is it just me or is this season of Manifest more action-packed?
The pace and momentum picked up even more on Manifest Season 3 Episode 2 as Angelina and her Callings were thrown into the mix. Not a moment wasted!
Not only did her Calling connect to the methheads, who have been resurrected from their underwater slumber, but it continued down the religious trajectory with a vision of Archangel Michael, best known as a healing angel who served as the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil.
Could the Calling be implying that the passengers of Flight 828 were sent back to Earth to fight against the darkness?
The Calling also brought Angelina and Peter together, but what’s the connection?
It doesn’t seem like their paths have crossed before in a meaningful way, and yet, the Calling’s wanted them to find each other.
Pete wasn’t just a random stranger in the background of her photo.
It was a little frustrating that Mic didn’t even try to get any answers before bringing Pete into the precinct.
She could have still done things “by the book” while also getting some clarity as to how the methheads relate to 828 and their latest passenger.
The Captain gave Mic a stern talking to as she returned to work, but at this point, I think she’s realizing that whatever Mic is messed up in, it’s not normal.
Even the most rational person cannot rationalize three guys emerging from a lake after three months of being presumed dead.
The Captain knows that logic doesn’t apply here, so maybe she’ll be on Mic’s side soon enough?
And how is Drea assisting with cases but not asking any questions? Olive openly talked about following Callings. Wouldn’t that make you want to question what’s going on?
Drea and Mic seem to consider each other really good friends, so it’s borderline insulting not to clue her in at this point.
If she’s going to be putting her life on the line, she should at least know what’s at stake.
I’m glad that Pete chose to break free from Jace’s toxic grasp.
He and Korey were both aware that they needed to make the most of their second chance, and they weren’t interested in ruining it by making the mistakes of their past.
Jace is the one we should really be concerned about because he’s dangerous and vengeful.
According to Ben and Mic’s theory, the trio remained dead for 84 days, which likely means they have 84 days to live.
But what happens if they follow the Callings? Will that buy them more time as it did with Zeke?
The chase sequence gave audiences a good dose of adrenaline, even if it was cut short by Jace firebombing Mic and Drea.
Also, why wouldn’t the Captain send Jared along for the ride? I’m not saying Mic and Drea can’t handle themselves, but it would be nice to have some backup when dealing with dangerous criminals.
I didn’t think I’d be interested in adding another passenger to the mix, but it’s nice that Olive has someone her age that she can team up with.
Olive may not get the Calling’s, but she has plenty of experience navigating them, so helping Angelina figure out what they mean is giving her some purpose.
Ben is his own worst enemy.
What part of Vance’s “don’t come save me” speech was unclear?
Instead of heeding Vance’s instructions to let him handle things in Cuba, Ben couldn’t help himself and needed to find a way to help his partner.
Vance was able to fake his death for more than a year, so it’s safe to say he probably had an escape plan for Cuba anyway.
I know Ben thinks he’s doing the right thing, but what makes him think Powell can be trusted? What if he was wired?
Vance has chosen to remain under the radar and has purposefully kept his circle tight.
If he thought he could trust his partner, don’t you think he would have told him the truth on his own terms?
Ben, come on! I think it’s been made pretty clear that government entities cannot be trusted when it comes to Flight 828.
The fact that Vance’s wife blamed Ben for everything that was happening was also slightly ridiculous.
The government turned on Vance, which caused him to fake his death in the first place.
However, she knew the man she married — a man who seeks out the truth no matter the danger, so it’s not like he would be fine with ignoring the biggest mystery to ever come across his desk.
Vance is a grown man who is responsible for his own decisions, and while Ben definitely contributed, none of this is his fault.
I wasn’t entirely sure if Powell leaked the tail fin to reporters or if it was a result of the video that was taken by the young boy in Cuba, but either way, everyone is now aware that a piece of the plane was found in the ocean.
But these people also watched the plane land with all passengers on-board about a year-and-a-half ago in New York City, so it’s understandable that they have questions.
Manifest Season Premiere Review – Tailfin (3×01)
Manifesters have been patiently waiting for this day to arrive, and rejoice we must because Manifest Season 3 Episode 1 is packed with action that will hopefully move the central mystery of Flight 828 swiftly along.
In the premiere, we’re still trying to figure out the how behind the 828’ers returns, but there are also several new mysteries taking shape throughout the hour, including a brand new passenger and the possibility that religion plays a much deeper role in the return that previously imagined.
Manifest has hinted at religious undertones before, so Ben’s revelation isn’t exactly new.
The series is filled with biblical references and parallels. For starters, all the characters have names with biblical origins: Grace, Ezekiel (Zeke), Michaela, and even newborn, Eden.
The 828’ers have been called false prophets, they’ve been seen as angels who have returned to the Earth, churches have been built around their miraculous existence — the writing has always been there.
And it’s not lost on anyone (especially because the episode calls it out) that the fisherman’s ship responsible for finding the tailfin is named after Saint Anthony, the patron of lost things.
So again, Ben’s “aha” moment that they’ve all been resurrected isn’t exactly jaw-dropping. Though, admittedly, it does fit in nicely for a premiere that lends itself to Easter weekend.
The theme of resurrection doesn’t just apply to the 828’ers because, in those final moments, we see the trio of methheads, who kidnapped Cal and then mysteriously disappeared in the frigid lake on Manifest Season 2 Episode 13, also resurrect.
There’s definitely some credibility to Ben’s theory.
In addition to the “how,” we’re continuing to ask ourselves “why.”
Why are they the chosen ones? Is their mission to help people on Earth? Are they still stuck in some kind of purgatory?
One of the biggest issues with the first two seasons of the series was that nothing was getting resolved as the questions began to mount.
It looks like this season — even with Ben’s vague “we’re about to find out” answer when Mic questioned why this is happening — will tackle actual plot development that aims to answer the questions surrounding the central mystery.
At least, that’s what we’re hoping happens. The random side plots are engaging, but I don’t think the audience will hold out for much longer if no progress is made this season.
With the tailfin, Ben and co. are starting to form a working theory that’s backed up by something tangible.
The episode kicked off in Cuba where the tailfin was retrieved.
Ben arrived at the destination with Vance and another agent hoping to find some answers. And he immediately hit us with a dramatic removal of his glasses.
Wow, I’ve missed those.
While he wasn’t certain about what he was looking for when he got there since he was going off Cal’s drawings, he knew it had something to do with 828.
However, the tailfin revelation put him in a tailspin as it proved that something sinister likely happened to their flight.
Getting blasted across the room after coming in contact with the tailfin also quelled questions about the tailfin’s authenticity.
There was also the shared Calling between Ben, Mic, and Cal, who saw themselves burning up along with a brand-new passenger.
This Calling doesn’t seem all that subtle. Paired with Ben’s previous vision of the flight exploding mid-air and his glowing hand after coming in contact with the plane debris, it seems pretty obvious that they likely didn’t survive the initial flight.
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