While 2022 has included plenty of big TV premieres, there’s still time for a few more before the clock strikes midnight on the end of the year. Prime Video’s popular action drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is set to premiere Season 3 on Wednesday, Dec. 21, dropping all eight episodes in time for a holiday weekend binge. TV veteran Wendell Pierce returns as Jack’s friend and mentor James Greer, while Betty Gabriel joins the cast as Elizabeth Wright, a high-ranking CIA officer. As Jack finds himself on the run while working to stop a global conspiracy, Greer and Wright must put their differences aside and learn to trust one another, as well as Jack. Pierce and Gabriel spoke to The Root about highlighting their characters’ Blackness amid all the non-stop action.
As cool as the suspense and action is, Jack Ryan is at its best when the characters are given room to breathe and show some depth. The best of these moments come between Greer and Elizabeth as Pierce and Gabriel expertly portray all the layers of the two officers’ relationship.
“We were very excited about those scenes. We added the element of recognizing that she admired me in the agency, someone that she had looked up to, and at the same time, not willing to risk her career for,” Pierce told The Root. “There’s a familiar connection that they have as two officers of color in the CIA. There’s a relationship that they have as a mentor to someone who was younger, who’s coming up.”
Pierce explained that the two actors created a backstory for their characters, where Elizabeth has looked up to Greer, respecting the doors he opened, while also paving her own path at the agency.
“We want to make sure that both characters were strong. She says, ‘Don’t think I won’t shut you down James Greer.’ And I respond, ‘I don’t work for you,’” Pierce said. “But then there’s a mutual respect that comes about, so I have to earn her trust and she has to earn mine. That was something that we thought about a lot.”
Unlike Jack, Elizabeth doesn’t have the benefit of flying by the seat of her pants. She’s the one that has to make the tough decisions that no one else wants to make. She’s also the only Black woman in a predominantly white male world, so she has to measure every step she takes very carefully.
“I think most Black women can relate to what it is to want to achieve and rise up the ranks and have that be threatened by people that go with their gut. We’re surrounded by people that we need to work with, collaborate with and create with, and we’re talking about the CIA,” Gabriel said. “A lot of the situations she’s put in, they rely on each other and the information and intelligence gathered by each other, and passing it around, so you need to be collaborative. But you also need to be really tough. You have to survive in the world—that especially as a Black woman—is maybe not going to particularly think that you’re capable or give you the benefit of the doubt right away.”
All eight episodes of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 3 premieres Dec. 21 on Prime Video.