Timeless has begun to give its fans some answers, especially in its most recent episode, and Rittenhouse will continue to be a focal point moving forward, as BuddyTV found out from Claudia Doumit, who plays Jiya.
Read on to see what the actress had to say about her character’s changing relationship with Rufus, the rest of the team and more.
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BuddyTV: Can you start off by talking about how you joined Timeless and what you knew about your character going in?
Claudia Doumit: “I joined Timeless during pilot season. I went out for the role of Jiya and the project was honestly just so fascinating to me. I love the concept of time travel. I love anything that’s sci-fi/fantasy. I’m immediately drawn to all of that, so I was really excited about it and it just seemed like such an incredible show.
And on top of that, the role of Jiya just really stuck out to me. I found her to be such a strong, but kind of still character, you know what I mean? She’s not really out there. She doesn’t give too much away at first glance, but there’s a fire to Jiya and there’s a fierceness about her that really just pulled me toward the character. The second I read the sides and the second I read the script, it pulled me in completely, 100%, and I was taken away with it and I was completely on board. That’s really what brought me to the role and brought me to the show.”
We’ve only seen Jiya at Mason Industries, behind a computer, so can you talk about her role with the team and what we’re going to see for her coming up? More of the same? Anything new?
“Hopefully something new. Jiya’s primary job is as the team’s techie, when we first meet her. She’s a programmer at Mason Industries and her job is to basically ensure the safety of the lifeboat during transit into the past and combing back to the present and the safety of the team with that. I don’t get told too much about it, they don’t reveal the world to me about it, but you’ll see change with Jiya’s character, as with all the characters at Mason Industries. They will delve more into their lives and not only that but their stories will become more involved in the show. I don’t think they will just stay at Mason Industries, I can’t say for sure, but what do I know is that Jiya will not just be at her desk forever. That’s what I can give away.”
While there is the question of whether we’ll see Jiya travel through time, is there the argument to be made that because they need her at Mason Industries, she can’t?
“I feel like she would definitely want to pilot the ship and she would definitely want to go time travel as anyone would, but that’s where it’s hard, that’s what makes it difficult. You’ve got Rufus, who’s in the lifeboat, and then you’ve got to have whoever else on the other end, and Jiya is that person. That’s her job. She’s the most qualified for that. She’s the only person who really can do that. She’s the best person for that, so that’s where the struggle is.”
According to the description for the next episode, Jiya thinks that Rufus might be able to communicate with the present. What can you tease about that? And if he can, is there a question of if he should because it could mess with history?
“Well, I would say, if Rufus needed to communicate with the present, I think he’s smart enough to know that it would need to be a dire circumstance for that to happen. Because he and Lucy and Wyatt and everyone at Mason Industries are well aware of the repercussions of that, of messing with history, and I can tell you that the situation is pretty desperate for him to have to contact her.”
Moving on to Jiya’s relationship with Rufus, what do you know about what it was like before we met the characters in the pilot? How has it changed and where is it going?
“I’m laughing because it switched back and forth so much. And I remember being asked my input on it. They were like, ‘What do you think? Where do you think their relationship is at?’ And I remember that was my first meeting in the writers’ room and I was like, ‘I have no idea what you mean. You guys wrote the character.’ So that was pretty funny.
But I think Jiya and Rufus’ relationship definitely changes completely. Because in the beginning, initially, the only interaction they have with each other is working two desks away from one another and their only interaction is probably to talk about the progress of the lifeboat or anything like that, just work-related. Rufus is a pretty timid guy when it comes to Jiya so I don’t think that they’ve really spoken at all outside of their work space, their little nooks. So that’s how it was in the beginning, and as we go forward, the dynamic of that relationship definitely shifts, it definitely changes.”
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How has Jiya’s opinion on Lucy and Wyatt changed since she first met them?
“When she first met them, they were complete strangers to her, you know? She didn’t know these people. She wasn’t invested in their lives. Same with Agent Christopher. These are outsiders coming into the world that she’s used to. She’s only used to Rufus and Connor Mason, so when she meets these people, she doesn’t really have any attachment to them in the beginning, but I think after everything that happens, everything they go through, you know, Lucy losing her sister in the pilot episode, and the internal struggles.
… It’s not just a job, it’s not just work for them anymore, so as the episodes go along, you begin to see these people not as just the soldier, the historian, the engineer, you begin to see them as human beings who are actually going through a struggle and it’s hard to keep the professional life and the personal life separate. And Jiya sees that. Jiya sees that in Wyatt, and Jiya sees that in Lucy and it’s kind of hard to continue on seeing them as just work colleagues.”
Will we have an episode where we see what those left behind in the office are up to while the others are traveling through time?
“I hope so. That would be great. No, I don’t know if it’ll just be a full episode of just Mason Industries, but you will see more of the present day.”
After the most recent episode, we seem to be getting answers about Flynn and Rittenhouse. Is that something that’s going to continue with each episode or is that being held for closer to the finale?
“I think Rittenhouse is a constant throughout the episodes, because it’s the main focus of Garcia Flynn. It’s his mission, to find Rittenhouse, so it’s definitely a focal point and the more we go into it, we realize that Rittenhouse has eyes everywhere, so it’s definitely a strong plot point.”
Should we worry that Jiya might be those eyes? Someone we might not be able to trust? Could Jiya be hiding something?
“I think Jiya is a pretty loyal and truthful person, and I think what you see is what you get with Jiya. I don’t know if she has the capacity to do anything like that.”
Is there a particular episode or storyline that you’re especially excited to see play out on screen?
“Next episode actually is pretty exciting. It’s a different story structure, next episode, so that’ll be interesting to see for the audience, with the present and the past.”
Timeless airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of NBC)