Living in California makes you an expert in numerous climate-related disasters and events. But among all of the droughts and earthquakes, if you call California home, your biggest concern is wildfires. You learn how to anticipate fire season, keep a go bag ready and stay on constant alert if a wildfire is anywhere in your vicinity. This kind of first-hand knowledge makes the premise of CBS’ new drama Fire Country very interesting. The series revolves around prisoners working on fire crews to reduce their sentences and specifically centers on Bode, an inmate who ends up back in his hometown and must work through the program while dealing with all the people and events from his past.
The pilot episode follows a very familiar formula of introducing a smart, handsome and emotionally broken hero who’s in a bad situation, but is still a good guy on the inside. There are no real surprising moments, but it’s still a fun watch and tells viewers exactly what to expect from the season. If you like NBC’s #OneChicago universe or Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy, this is right in your wheelhouse.
While the show is definitely about Bode’s redemption story, and how he handles returning to his hometown, it also has a great ensemble that includes Jules Latimer as Eve and Jordan Calloway as Jake, two old friends Bode must reconnect and reconcile with. So with Fire Country set to premiere on Friday, Latimer spoke to The Root about preparing for her roles and the importance of her characters’ representation.
For Latimer, a Juilliard grad, the action and stunts of a show like Fire Country are way outside of her comfort zone, but that’s exactly what pushed her to take the role.
“It was kind of a dream come true. I went to Juilliard and it can only prep you for so much. This show, every single episode tests my limits and I can only imagine what the real thing is,” she told The Root. “A lot of the things that you’re seeing happen or they happen on a stunt. I don’t think anything can prepare you for it. I wasn’t prepared for how intense the shooting would be. We have such a great cast and crew that I’m willing to try some stuff out and do it as safe as we possibly can to get the story across.”
Like other series in the genre, Fire Country offers a heavy dose of romantic entanglements. Latimer is very excited about the representation her character brings in these moments. As a queer Black woman, she’s portraying the person she always wanted to see on TV, and that importance isn’t lost on her.
“We’re dealing with a lot of interpersonal drama, and I can’t wait for more of that to unfold. Especially being a queer Black woman being able to play one on network television is kind of huge for me. I never saw that growing up and that was one of the reasons why I took the job,” she said. “You see somebody who’s in their 20s, they have a career, but didn’t want to move to the big city, they wanted to be a hero where they built community, right where they grew up. So I’m a big fan of that and it’s been wonderful work.”
Fire Country airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBS and is available to stream on Paramount+.