The “Code Black” actress dishes on unpronounceable medical terms, the unusual thing she wants for Christmas, and why she’s less hated on social media now.
Photography by John Hong
Styling by Simona Sacchitella
Makeup by Karan Mitchell for Exclusive Artists Management Using Kevyn Aucoin
Hair by Benjamin Terry for Solo Artists/Oribe Haircare & T3 Micro
Story by Esther Lee
Video by Jonathan Navales
Click click click. Snap snap snap. The camera’s rhythmic shutter gently tickles my ear, as I watch Jillian Murray pose during her photo shoot, moving with grace and power with every click. She may be most widely recognized for her role as Dr. Heather Pinkney on CBS’ “Code Black,” now in its second season, but it’s clear Murray brandishes drive and charisma like a surgical resident brandishes a scalpel, both on set and in real life. We sneak in a chat with the actress.
Composure Magazine: So you originally landed a guest role on the first season of the CBS drama “Code Black.” What happened?
Jillian Murray: Last season I booked a one-day guest star on episode 8, and after the table read I got a phone call. They asked me if I wanted to switch roles to a recurring character and dye my hair. I expected two episodes at most, but I ended up filming 10 episodes and was asked to be a series regular for season two.
CM: That’s amazing! And how is Dr. Heather Pinkney different in season two compared to season one?
JM: Well, they made the character have not so much drama. In season one, Dr. Heather was sleeping with a bunch of people and doing a lot of crazy things. I did not receive too much love as Dr. Heather in season one. In season two, Dr. Heather has less conflict. I am hated much less on Twitter. [Laughs]
CM: What is the energy like on set? Do you feel the chaos of a hospital?
JM: Yes, there is so much energy everywhere. I have built respect for all nurses, doctors, surgeons, and anyone else in the medical field. When filming a scene, extras are running everywhere, often covered or sprayed with blood. It’s easy to feel the adrenaline-pumping excitement one might feel in a real life emergency room or trauma center.
CM: Getting adjusted to medical language must have been tough.
JM: Oh, yes. Just recently when we were shooting, I had to pronounce this word: symphysiotomy. It’s doesn’t sounds like how it’s spelled. Symphysiotomy is a surgical procedure where the pelvis is widened to allow childbirth when there is a medical problem. I do this procedure in a scene where I have no medical tools. The only way to save the baby is to perform a symphysiotomy.
CM: If you had to choose a profession in the medical field, what profession would you choose?
JM: I would love to dabble with plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons can artistically fix the body, and I think that’s pretty cool.
CM: Let’s talk about your adorable canine, Lyric. Are you an animal lover?
JM: Lyric is my baby, and I love animals. I used to kiss every animal I would pass by. And for Christmas, I asked my boyfriend to get me a rhinoceros beetle. I think they are beautiful. I currently have a bearded dragon as well at home.
CM: Is your boyfriend OK with that?
JM: He is just as animal obsessed as me! We are the perfect match. We should get married at a zoo or something!
CM: What would you like to work on next?
JM: I really want to do multi-cam. That was actually what I was testing for before I even booked “Code Black.” Getting a major recurring role on a good multi-cam would be amazing. “Big Bang Theory” could be a possibility?
CM: Lastly, what is the attitude you carry on set and in your day-to-day life?
JM: I think gratitude keeps you grounded. Whatever situation or stress you are dealing with, if you step on set and say to yourself, “I am really thankful to be here,” it reminds you of everything you already have.
“Code Black” airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on CBS.