From the notes of Detective Teresa A. Jusino, dated September 23, Yr73
The body was found at 1:47PM. The cleaning woman had arrived for her shift early, but by the way the neighbors say she screamed, looking after dead bodies was clearly not on the day’s planned agenda. When I arrived, I found the victim sprawled on the couch in his underwear, covered in Cheetos, pizza crusts, and empty sushi take-out containers; and wearing an original-model holoband from the days of Daniel Graystone. Forensics reported that the victim had worn the holoband for so long that it had welded to his temples so that, when they attempted to remove it, bits of flesh came with it.
When she had calmed down enough to speak, the cleaning woman told me that he’d been leaving the house less and less over the course of the past several years, and she’d constantly find him sitting in the living room wearing his holoband. There were periods when weeks would go by without him speaking to her, and in the end he didn’t leave his house in a year.
It would’ve been easy to just let this go as just another case of re-fried brain, but the moment I looked at his face, even with the holoband on and under a year’s worth of facial hair, I recognized him. Just like that, the case became personal, and I had to find out what was at the bottom of it.
The victim’s name is Sasha Roiz. And I knew him.
I suppose “knew” is a strong word. I mean, who didn’t know him? He was an actor; a great one. He was the kind of actor who, even if he was performing in something subpar, would be the best thing about it, elevating even the worst puns and cliches to something…more. I’ll admit it, I was a fan. So much so that when that sci-fi network approached our department for police consultants for a television show they were developing based on the history of the first cylon uprising - the show that ended up being the long-running Caprica – I volunteered, because I knew that Sasha had been cast in it. So yes, I did get to briefly interact with him on-set occasionally. He seemed like a sweet, down-to-earth guy. But, I didn’t really know him.
In an effort to determine what would cause someone like Sasha Roiz, who seemed to have it all, to seek solace in junk food and the holoband, I started looking into his background and speaking with people who might have a deeper insight into what made him tick than I would.
Karen Moul, one of the make-up artists on Caprica, says that she often talked with him about his relationship to the role of Sam Adama, Admiral William Adama’s uncle. She remembers him being really funny and, when she asked him how much of himself went into Sam and qualified it with “You’re probably not a really a hit man, but…,” he jokingly replied, “You don’t know.” She also remembers him saying, “I think [actors bring themselves to] any character we play, sometimes even before [we] realize it. Sometimes other people realize it before [we] do.
“I certainly think that when they cast me, they probably saw what they were imagining for Sam before I even knew it because, for instance, there were surprises that I wasn’t aware of until after the pilot…”
What did they see/realize…?
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated September 25, Yr73
Facts about S. Roiz
* born in Israel Province on Gemenon, raised in the Canada region of Sagittauron, spent professional life in Angel City on Caprica. Trilingual. Gold coins cleaning woman left suggest Tauron ancestry (?) **CHECK RECORDS**
* attended the Guilford School of Acting in Caprica City
* is survived by both parents and one younger brother (4 years junior)
* enjoyed karaoke bars
* fondness for comedic television, and period roles.
Another Sasha quote about what he brings to Sam role from Karen:
“There’s many aspects of me in there. I don’t want to say which ones, but definitely. There’s so many shapes to the character and the more there are, the easier it is for me to bring in elements of my personality.
“We all have that. We all have everything from black to white and everything in between. And so I’m able to bring different elements of myself to the character at all times. For instance, the most immediate times were like: my family was an immigrant family so I understand some of that. It’s not to the same degree obviously, but I understand some of those issues.
“I understand the family unit. I have a very strong, tight-knit family. And then there’s certainly other sides because we all have a darker side to ourselves and so you bring some of that in as well.”
**QUESTION FAMILY MEMBERS ABOUT FAMILY HISTORY OF HOLOBAND USAGE**
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated September 26, Yr73
Nancy Harrington, script supervisor on Caprica, mentions that Roiz was able to plumb the depths of the darkness in Sam Adama’s life while being a rather light and fun person in life. She says he said the following re: playing dark:
“The darker stuff is not that difficult, in the sense that when you truly believe Sam’s perspective on life. And he’s a very black and white character. And he doesn’t have a lot of room for doubt. And he’s very much a soldier. With some of the darker elements, when we play those out, I don’t really see [Sam] very differently than a soldier carrying out certain duties and missions that he has to do. And there’s really no room to question them at all.”
Karen says Roiz admired and loved working with co-star Eric Stoltz, who directed episodes of Caprica as well as played the role of Daniel Graystone. She forwarded me an emial of a conversation they had about Eric. Sasha says:
“Yes. Eric directs [“Unvanquished”, Ep 10]. It was great. Eric’s a remarkably talented director. I mean he’s been working on stuff since we wrapped as a director. And it was very interesting to watch him wear two hats so to speak, and to watch him switch from director to actor because his storyline was quite heavy at that episode and so it wasn’t easy for him.
“So he was always very aware even while he was performing of what was happening behind the scenes. And it was remarkable to see him being able to switch so quickly because I think for him it was the first time he was directing himself as well.
“So, that was really fun to watch. But as a director he was incredibly respectful. It’s obviously a strange transition when all of a sudden one of your co-stars is directing you. So he was very respectful and very gracious about it. And he did a great job. He was remarkably easy to work with because when someone who understands the show as intimately as he does all of a sudden is directing you, it’s – it really lends itself to some great work.”
**NOTE: look into relationships with other Caprica cast and crew. Rivalries? Disagreements?**
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated September 28, Yr73
Jaime Steinberg, AD on Caprica, provided insight into Roiz’s relationships with Caprica cast (transcript from on set interview for DVD commentary for Caprica, Season 8):
“The first person I really worked with was Esai. And that chemistry was very quick. He’s such a friendly and outgoing individual and he’s such a talented actor. And we instantly found a chemistry, back in the pilot even. And so that was very simple, and it was the most important thing – of course [there’s chemistry] with the rest of the Adama family. Certainly with Willy there’s a chemistry.
“And then, as we got to know each other. Sitting [there] for seven months, we definitely developed a great sense of friendship amongst all of us. And it was great because when you’re sequestered in another city for seven months, if you don’t have that, it can be a real nightmare. But for us it was just a joy to get to know each other and spend time together.
“Even though a lot of our story lines didn’t cross, we certainly had a lot of time together and the friendships developed.”
**NOTE: no bad blood on Team Caprica.** Question: perhaps looking at this all wrong? Holoband overdose not related to sadness/anger/depression at all? Dig deeper.
Jaime also notes that Sasha enjoyed communicating with people as well as with fans. Was very active on social media platforms of all kinds.
**Shoots down “depressive hermit” theory?**
(Transcript from Jamie’s on-set video):
“I think Twitter’s just a fantastic vehicle for fans especially because – and for us who are on the other end of it because it’s instant communication with people who otherwise don’t really have access to you.
“And so even if it’s short form communication, it’s so immediate and it’s – I think it’s such a fulfilling way to communicate with friends or people you admire who’s work you like. I think it’s a very instant sense of gratification.
And also for me it’s a wonderful way to keep people abreast of the work I’m doing, and Caprica, and the events that are taking place. And it’s an amazing instant tool for PR and for communication between fans and celebrities and friends and so on. So I think it’s a wonderful tool.”
Troy Rogers, wardrobe on Caprica, mentions that Sasha loved the style of the Graystone Era. (From an e-chat with Sasha dated Yr65):
“I miss fedoras, I’ll tell you that much. It’s kind of fun. I like the classic look that they built for us for sure. They did a great job fitting the old with the new. I mean this is beautiful sort of retro feel yet in this incredibly advanced society.
“I just love the fact that Sam would always wear a tie. He almost looked like the most formal individual on the show considering his job title. And, you know, I just loved walking around in that leather jacket and that fedora. I mean it instantly evoked the character. So it was so – once the tattoos are on and that hat goes on it’s like you instantly fall into the character.”
Re: Troy asking him why he thought Caprica should be made when we already know how the uprising turned out (From same e-chat):
“Like David Eick (Caprica exec. producer) always says, – you know how [the trip to Kobol] ends. But you’re still kind of interested in seeing this play out, or this battle play out or the different characters involved on the course.
“So it’s – there’s always room for these great stories even though you may know what the outcome will be. How we get there is a whole other thing, so…”
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated September 29, Yr73
Lillian Standefer here at the precinct recalls that Sasha was an avid reader. Some of that fed his performances. (From a recorded conversation – pre-consult interview, re: preparing to play Sam):
“I read a few books actually on a lot of the different ethnic mobs back in the early part of last century.and it was very interesting. And, it was very enlightening because you just see these people who – they didn’t come over to enact violence, it was just sort of – they were left no choice because they were just simply not being accepted in the society and they were distance.
“And so, with no hope and no options, they just created their own laws and their own systems of laws. And so that’s, you know, I kind of look towards that as my inspiration for the background to to this family. And that was very helpful.”
Lillian’s assistant, Tom Powers, commented on Sasha’s intelligence and how he wasn’t one of those “dumbass actors” who doesn’t know anything about the Worlds around him (his words, not mine! This is why I don’t have an assistant…).
From Tom’s portion of the recorded interview with Sasha:
“The immigrant status of Sam plays a very, very large role. It’s very significant to the portrayal because it’s really sort of what his outlook is on Caprica, it’s how he sort of perceives himself in relationship to the Capricans.
“And there’s that constant reminder that he’s a second class citizen because he’s not a purebred Caprican. And so that bitterness and that enmity is always sort of present in his everyday, you know, in my portrayal of it and certainly in Sam’s activities.
“I think it’s very true to many immigrants [today] as well. They’re part of a society that simply will not absorb them and we see that in many examples throughout the world. Then they have their own secondary societies and sort of play by their own rules and their own laws, and much like we did in [the past].”
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated October 1, Yr73
I remember talking to Sasha one afternoon as he prepared a scene. I asked him if he could tell Sam Adama one thing – advice, compliment, criticism – what would he say? Thought his response was sweet, and love his sense of humor. For all that he played this tough historical figure with a checkered past, he really was just a big softee. He said:
“I would be like ‘Dude, enough with the tattoos already! We get it. I don’t know if I’d want to have Sam standing in front of me, truthfully, or what we’d talk about!
“Yeah, I don’t know if I’d want Sam in front of me. Sam’s the kind of guy you want flanking you, like making sure that everything’s okay. I don’t think he’s the guy you want to sit facing across, because I think then you’re pretty much in trouble.”
I asked – Would he even have a beer with the guy?
“A beer? Yes. It’d be interesting but I don’t…I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s just kind of imposing. He’s an imposing character. I’d just sit there quietly sipping my beer trying not to get hurt!”
I remember thinking that he’d probably fare better sitting across from Sam Adama than he thought…
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated October 2, Yr73
Facts about S. Roiz (cont’d):
* Favorite episodes of Caprica to shoot: “Gravedancing,” “The Dirteaters”
* Found speaking S. Adama’s native language difficult when it was called for in certain scenes.
* embraces the gay community and was flattered by their appreciation of his portrayal of Sam Adama.
* cites Admiral Adama’s close family ties as a source of strength.
*NOTE: he speaks so highly of his family, friends, castmates…WHY DID HE STOP LEAVING THE HOUSE?!*
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated October 3, Yr73
DISTURBING – Tom brought me a video he took of Sasha and I chatting on set. I’d totally forgotten we’d had this conversation. Almost as if he was predicting his own demise. Creepy. I don’t know what made me think to ask this, but I asked him if he’d ever tried a holoband, and he hadn’t. He then went on to say:
“I’d be a goner. If I had a holoband I’d feel like I’d be sequestered in my house from this day on. I’d probably just turn into a mess. They’d find me, like, sitting, rotting away in my underwear somewhere.
“I don’t know. It’s too tempting. It’s like the ultimate drug, right? You can just escape to wherever you want to escape. So, I think it’s a very, very dangerous tool. So I could understand why it’s become such an issue in [the Worlds] because who doesn’t want to escape?
“I mean that’s really, when you look at society, that’s all people do, you know, from drugs to television to everything we do is really just a form of escape. So this ultimate form of escape would just destroy society.
“That’s kind of negative. Oh my God. I was so pessimistic it was awful!”
And we both laughed, because that scenario he described for himself just seemed so impossible. Especially for someone as social and outgoing as he is. Then:
“Yeah, just me living off cereal and that’s it… (laughs) No, I think it’s just too, too tempting. I can understand how [people] give into things like that, you know… …an entire virtual world that you don’t have to be responsible in.”
Holy frak. Did I put the idea in his head? Was I the reason he went out like this?
Gods, what have I done…?
From the notes of Det. Teresa A. Jusino, dated October 5, Yr73
They’re airing old episodes from the first season of Caprica today on that sci-fi channel. I’m more inclined to watch them today than ever! I mean, they’re airing the episodes from the second half of the first season, and that’s when the action just EXPLODED. But I’m watching them for Sasha, too. Because of all the brilliant actors on that show, he’s the one that popped. At least, to me.
Every show has that character – the one that was orignally supposed to be cursory, but suddenly struts to the fore and captures the audience’s imagination. I heard that, originally, they weren’t going to include Admiral Adama’s uncle in this show. I mean, why would they, right? Like, who gives a crap about a celebrity’s uncle? But Sasha was so talented, he found what was interesting about the guy and made it soar. Now, he’s universally acknowledged as one of the best parts of that show.
He also seemed like a really nice guy – and I corrupted him. I wish I’d gotten to know him better. I wish I could take back that conversation.
RIP, Sasha. Rest assured, I’m never going to touch a holoband again.
This case was declared closed October 5, Yr73.
Everything in this piece is true…except for the part about me being a police detective on Caprica. Or Caprica actually existing as a place in which there is an actual Adama family with actors playing them. I just Charlie Kaufmaned the CRAP out of this interview.
THE SECOND HALF OF THE FIRST SEASON OF CAPRICA BEGINS TONIGHT AT 10PM ET ON SYFY!
Teresa Jusino was born on the same day that Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, Tor.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com,. She is currently working on several fiction projects, including a web series for Pareidolia Films called The Pack, which she hopes to debut at the beginning of 2011! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, Follow The Pack or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.