Designated Survivor welcomes Wynonna Earp’s Melanie Scrofano to the White House

ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg
ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg

Washington D.C. is a far cry from the likes of Purgatory, but that’s where Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano will find herself Wednesday night, when she debuts on Designated Survivor in a guest role. On the Syfy series Wynonna Earp Scrofano plays the great great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp, but she’ll enter Designated Survivor’s world of the White House and politics as reporter Lisa Jordan, a journalist that Seth (Kal Penn) takes a keen interest in. However, Lisa has some disturbing news–one of her sources says that Leo Kirkman (Tanner Buchanan) may not be President Kirkman’s (Kiefer Sutherland) son.

In order to get some more details about this new role for Scrofano, The TV Junkies recently caught up with her to discuss the experience. She recounted for us what she’s learned from new costars Sutherland and Penn, and why it was good for her to play someone so different than Wynonna Earp during the hiatus. However, Scrofano, who was born in Ottawa, did share how eager she is to return to Calgary to shoot Wynonna Earp and the challenges she’ll face returning to the role in Season 2.

The TV Junkies: I know you can’t say much, but what can you reveal about the character you’re playing on Designated Survivor?

Melanie Scrofano: I play a reporter named Lisa Jordan who is very ambitious and hardworking, but also funny and likable. The news she has about Leo causes things to get complicated around relationships within the White House and that information.

TTVJ: They have a pretty talented ensemble cast on Designated Survivor. What was it like joining that group for a few episodes and working with the likes of Kiefer Sutherland and others?

MS: They are all really dedicated to their job. Kiefer, and so does Kal actually, comes in with the biggest monologues you’ve ever seen, and he does the blocking before we rehearse and he already knows it. He’s so prepared and professional, which is quite rare. That’s really refreshing.

Kal worked in the White House so he’s an incredible source of knowledge. He’s really into the little details–such as where I sit in the press room–and it gives you an appreciation for what goes on that most actors don’t get to have because Kal knows and he can fix things. I am getting an education beat on film in this production. Kal is so passionate about politics that his light reading on set will be California legislation. [laughs] I really respect how serious he takes it and I think it really shows in his work on the show.

TTVJ: The world of Washington D.C. on Designated Survivor is quite different from Purgatory and Wynonna Earp. How does this experience compare to shooting Wynonna?

MS: I always feel like the most boring actor in the world when I’m not shooting Wynonna because on Wynonna I can literally do anything. On Designated Survivor I’m not playing someone who can kick all ass, so it’s hard to make that transition. I was really worried they were going to go a weaker way with her, but the way they ended up writing her in the end actually gave her some of Wynonna’s strengths. So I was glad to not be back to playing a woman who needs a man to do everything for her.


TTVJ: With Lisa being such a different character than Wynonna do you find that good for you as an actress to get out and play a totally different role?

MS: Yes, I always think it’s so important to stretch yourself, even if you’re not sure. I’m so used to playing Wynonna and she’s just so outrageous that I feel like she’s always interesting. It is hard and a good challenge to make sure that you can play normal people that actually live in this world, and not turn them into a boring, two-dimensional reporter, but still a full human being who is interesting and capable of kick assery.

TTVJ: You guys are getting ready to head back to Calgary soon for Wynonna. Are you as eager as everyone else to get back and get going on Season 2?

MS: I haven’t read any script and haven’t really asked too much of Emily [Andras, showrunner], so I only have some idea of what’s going to happen this season. I can’t wait to see how it plays out. We’re not getting some of our crew back because some are on Fargo which I’m devastated about, but it’ll be fun to get fresh blood and see what they bring.

TTVJ: When you guys shot Season 1 you were all sort of in a bubble working on the show since no one really knew about it yet. You’re going back now with some pretty passionate fans with high expectations. Does that change at all how you approach things or approach playing Wynonna in Season 2?

MS: I really have to look out for that and I think the bubble that we were in is what made the show so good and not pandering, just making the show we were making. The danger is then playing all these labels of who Wynonna is–for instance in the twittersphere–versus just still playing her as a human being. So I think I am going to take a twitter break, as much as I love everyone, and reenter the bubble so I can focus and make sure I’m honoring her.


Are you excited for Scrofano’s Designated appearance? Sound off in the comments below!

Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC and CTV.