She plays the tough as nails Officer Marlo Cruz on Rookie Blue, but off screen Rachel Ancheril is a sweetheart. She shared some thoughts and plenty of laughs with BFTV on Monday as we previewed tonight's episode, "Deception," in which Marlo is in trouble after her unauthorized investigation into a pedophile comes to light.
"It's exciting. It's a chance to really play and play a whole range of things. Getting juicy stuff for an actor is just like a godsend. It's awesome," enthused Rachael, who said that Marlo's evolution over season four has been "So much more and then some. I didn't know Marlo was going to be bipolar. I had my first meeting with [executive producer] Tassie [Cameron], and she was like 'We're thinking about Marlo being bipolar, what do you think?' I was like 'Yes, please!'"
"Deception" truly puts Marlo in the center of the action, giving Rookie Blue fans a major glimpse at who she is outside of the relationship triangle that's come to exist between her, Sam Swarek and Andy McNally. For the first time, the audience has the opportunity to see what drives Marlo and makes her tick, and Rachael's aspiration is that it's enlightening. "I'm hoping they empathize with her," she said. "She made a mistake and she made choices that maybe she shouldn't have. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone screws up."
Beyond deepening our understanding of her character, she also wants the episode to shed some light on the subject of mental health. "I'm hoping that people will have an interest in understanding bipolar [disorder] and what that means. I was totally naive coming into it until I did my research," she explained. "I'm hoping that people will stop using the term 'crazy.' I would love to say to people, become educated on mental illnesses. A lot more people are becoming aware of them, and a lot more people are coming out that have mental illnesses, and a lot of people are becoming educated on what they mean."
Being bipolar isn't even the most talked-about topic when it comes to Marlo. Far and away, that title goes to her relationship with Sam Swarek [played by Ben Bass], a development which has caused a portion of Rookie Blue's fanbase - the part that believes Sam is meant to be with Andy McNally [Missy Peregrym] - to be wary of Marlo purely because of who she's dating. We asked Rachael just how frosty the reception has been.
"I got some choice words," she admitted with a laugh. "But for the most part the fans have been like, 'Listen, you seem like a great person, but I don't like your character. You're standing in the way of my OTP. We hope that you find love of your own.' That works for me. I was a fan from season one. I was totally on board for Sam and Andy, You can't take the fan out of the girl!"
No matter how popular the Marlo/Sam relationship is or isn't, Rachael did have plenty of praise for Ben: "He's awesome," she continued. "He was super supportive. He had my back, and that really meant a lot to me."
She told us that the best part of putting on Marlo's uniform has been "Playing the character that is totally different than I think anything they've had. I think her storyline touches on some storylines that they've had in the past, [but] Marlo is so different than anything else that they had. Same goes for Chloe [Price, played by Priscilla Faia]. We're two very different characters that have definitely shaken up the dynamic of 15 Division."
As the season comes to a close, there are plenty of other opportunities for viewers to check out Rachael, who's established a presence on TV. "I've done an episode of The Listener, I've been on King. There's another show coming out this season that I'll be a recurring in. Keep your eyes open," she teased, but also credited her current gig for making her better at her craft. "Rookie Blue has allowed me to grow so much as an actor," she added, "and develop different parts of my technique."
With Rachael enjoying playing her, and clearly fitting into Rookie Blue's close-knit ensemble, is it safe to say that Marlo will return for season five, which begins filming in January? The actress couldn't confirm or deny specifically, but told us, "The best thing to say with that is I think fans will have a better grasp on what Marlo will be potentially for season five come the finale of this season." Cross your fingers, Rookie Blue fans, because we'd be better off if she sticks around.
Rookie Blue is all new tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC. You can also keep up with Rachael by following her on Twitter (@RachaelAncheril).