The Night Shift, NBC’s medical drama, just had its season finale last month and was renewed for a second season. The series, starring Chinese Canadian Jeananne Goossen, will return next year. We interviewed Goossen in our Summer 2014 issue about her role as newbie trauma doctor Krista.
Before Jeananne Goossen ever considered becoming an actor, she studied biochemistry in school and wanted to be a doctor. On May 27, her childhood dreams were fulfilled — at least in TV fantasyland — with the premiere of the new NBC medical series The Night Shift, in which she stars as first-year resident and overnight trauma doctor Krista.
The role of ER physician is a good fit for her. “I’m not an extreme adrenaline junkie, but I’m definitely excited by things that make my heart beat faster, like sky- diving, rollercoasters, turbulence and earthquakes,” says Goossen. “Also, I tend to gravitate toward crisis management situations. When sh-t goes down, I tend to jump in the middle of it, so there’s a lot to draw from in my normal life for my character.”
The Night Shift features an ensemble of doctors, some of whom are former military physicians who have had hardcore experiences performing life-saving operations in Afghanistan (and are more comfortable flying by the seat of their pants), and others who are threatened by the risks posed by these uninhibited rule-breakers while working at the San Antonio Medical Center, a more business-oriented but equally top-notch facility.
Krista is a newbie who is confident and fearless in her skill sets — the pilot episode shows her not wincing at all when faced with the prospect of stitching up a patient’s testicles for the first time — and even though it doesn’t explicitly say so in the script, Goossen imagines her character looks up to Topher, a veteran doctor played by Ken Leung (Lost, The Sopranos).
In real life, Goossen calls Leung “one of my favorite people,” but more than that, she feels a natural camaraderie with him, as a Chinese Canadian hapa who has never had the opportunity to work with another actor of Chinese descent on a TV show before.
Goossen’s parents met in Hong Kong when they were young, and they both ended up getting a master’s in East Asian studies and working in academia in Japan. (Her father, Ted Goossen, is a professor who translates for the famed author Haruki Murakami.) This makes Goossen’s background extra layered, as she identifies very strongly with her hybrid Chinese Canadian community in Toronto, yet because she spent years of her childhood in Japan, she also speaks Japanese and was very informed by Japanese culture growing up.
As a result, she feels very much at home with The Night Shift’s cast, who are not only diverse (co-star Daniella Alonso is of Japanese, Peruvian and Puerto Rican descent) but all happen to be the type of people who are interested in and, more importantly, can stomach the graphic tech rehearsals where they try to get the surgical procedures as accurate as they can be, with the help of medical consultants. Goossen loves learning about these wild, thinking-outside-the-box procedures, like in a scene (that unfortunately ended up on the cutting room floor) where Topher shows Krista how to relieve the pressure of liquid in someone’s brain by using a drill that one would normally use for construction. As the show’s eight-episode season unfolds, Goossen is excited for audiences to learn more about Krista, whether she’s dealing with the unexpected ramifications of inevitable trauma tragedies or confessing a secret that surfaces when she’s the only one who can recognize what’s wrong with a patient with mysterious symptoms.
— STORY BY ADA TSENG
This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here.