Spoilers for the midseason finale of Fire Country ahead.
While Kevin Alejandro’s character Cal Fire Captain Manny Perez plays a big role on the CBS drama Fire Country, the actor himself also plays a massive role behind the scenes too as a director. With his experience starring in and directing some of the major episodes of Lucifer Alejandro was given the keys to one of Fire Country’s biggest episodes, the shocking midseason finale. And now he’s explaining how the DC show helped him take the lead on the latest episode of Max Thieriot’s drama.
In an interview with the New York Post, Alejandro opened up about how directing Lucifer helped prepare him for Fire Country, which has turned into quite the hit on the 2022 TV schedule and has been picked up for a full season. The actor-director explained why he was able to take on such a big job so early in the show, saying:
I cut my teeth as a director at this level on Lucifer. [Creator] Joe Henderson and the showrunner, Ildy Modrovich … said ‘You want to [direct]? We’re going to make sure that by the end of this show you’re going to have no problems getting a job as a director afterward.’ They threw some of their biggest episodes at me and … and when I stepped off that show where people went, ‘OK, he’s been trusted with some pretty big responsibilities. Let’s not overlook that.’
And Fire Country sure didn’t overlook it, because Alejandro was given the responsibility of directing one of the biggest episodes so far. This is because the actor-director has to balance a massive set piece, multiple intense flashbacks, and a shocking cliffhanger all in one episode.
The show has been using massive set pieces, like a rock wall, and this episode was no different, with a car teetering on the edge of a bridge for the entire episode. Alejandro did a magnificent job of showing the intensity of the sequence and simultaneously highlighting the emotional beats of the episode. On top of all this, Alejandro was also tasked with the final scene where Bode falls off the bridge in the car, an incident paralleling what happened to his sister. The way the episode built to that moment left me gobsmacked and needing more. Alejandro did such a good job at making sense of all these moving parts and having them come together in a shocking conclusion where we don’t know if Bode is alive or dead.
The Lucifer star explained that there was “a lot of pressure” going into the episode of Fire Country because of its magnitude, but he also said it was an “honor” to direct because the show trusted him with it.
Based on the actor’s resume, it comes as no surprise that he was trusted with this important episode. Before Fire Country, while he was on Lucifer, Alejandro directed five episodes (including the penultimate episode of Season 6), and he played Detective Dan Espinoza on the show. So he’s been in this situation before where he not only has to lead the cast and crew from behind the camera, but he also has to be in front of it in character, playing a major role in the episode.
While Lucifer did help prepare him for Fire Country, the shows are quite different, and the actor-director elaborated on how the tonal differences of the show changed the way he directs, saying:
Lucifer was about composing the perfect pictures and moving the camera elegantly. It was about the emotions of the characters. Both shows are similar in a lot of aspects, but [Fire Country] is grittier and we’re running with the actors [with a camera] and passing from actor to actor. It’s not so much composing, as we did with how beautiful Lucifer turned out — this is raw and gritty and it leans into that handheld style. It’s almost like documentary-style filmmaking sometimes.
Despite these differences, Alejandro was clearly able to transfer what he learned on Lucifer over to Fire Country, where he did a great job helming an important episode.
Hopefully, we’ll get to see Alejandro directing another episode of the drama inspired by Max Thieriot’s hometown soon. Based on his track record with Lucifer, and the shocking midseason finale, I’d imagine he’ll helm some episodes when Season 1 returns on the 2023 TV schedule.
Sadly, we’ll have to wait until the new year to see if Bode survives the big crash and to see if the actor behind Manny returns to the director’s chair.