An interview with Terry Jernigan (TJ)
by Sgt Pepper

Terry Jernigan (TJ) stars as Detective David Sheridan
in the film


BJ: I'm here talking with Terry Jernigan, called TJ

TJ: That's me.

BJ: Yeah there is another Terry in the world guys.
When you worked on "AOK", what kind of preparation did you go into for the film?

TJ: Pretty much the script. I knew that it was based on reality. This was something that happened and a lot of time when you are working on a project, if it's fictitious, you do a lot of research on period.
You do a lot of research on whatever the time that it is.
For example: If you're doing Shakespeare, you do research on the surrounding time. Gather period information. This is something that happened. And I stayed straight to the script.
That is all the research that I did.
I didn't go outside of that because the script was complete, the script was whole... I didn't need to go outside of it. And going outside of it would have brought influences from the actual case that happened... and it's based on the story but it's not necessarily the story so, I stuck right strictly to the pages.

BJ: From my point of view it was more how the six detectives worked through the case then on the entire case itself.

TJ: Exactly.

BJ: Did you know anything the case before you got involved with the film?

TJ: I knew nothing of the case. In fact I had made arrangements to speak with several of the Sheriffs to discuss with them procedures, how they handled themselves, how they walked into an investigation, how they moved. I just wanted to speak with someone.
But the more that I read the script... The more I relied on my own experience in doing things with FBI Files... different episodic TV shows like that.I stuck right to the script.
A detective will walk into a room curious, looking for information and that's the way that I walked on the set. Pretty much everything that I gathered... came right from the pages that Tony wrote.

BJ: The scene itself was not funny but it got a little bit giggle out of me because of the good cop, bad cop routine.
How did you decide to do that?
Was it written in the script?

TJ: It was written in the script and I think from my character's point of view, Detective Sheridan really wanted to put a closure for the case for his ownself. And he picked (________)... (_____) seemed to be the logical choice. He seemed to be direct and Sheridan just went all over him and so whenever he lit into him... He lit into him... I don't think that there was a conscious decision, as characters going into that room, that there was going to be a good cop, bad cop kind of thing but, Sheridan didn't necessarily lose control... he kept control but, he wanted to let this other guy, this kid think that he lost control.
So that whenever he lit ontop of him like punch on toast, like white on rice, the guy had no idea.

BJ: The sound was so terrific that when Sheridan started pounding on the table... you could see the whole audience just jump because it went right through you.

TJ: The amazing thing is, when you shoot a film, you shoot from so many different angles... You never know what is going to be used... It is the director's and the editor's choice. It was a close up of (_____) with Detective Lynn Kendall off to the side and I wasn't even seen.
And it struck me the same way. I think that it is because you don't see that character... You don't see Detective Sheridan slapping that table, pounding it, hitting it that hard. It's a noise and a voice that comes out of nowhere.
When they made the choice to use that take, I think that it spoke volumes.

BJ: Mega volumes...Was that in the script or was that just a reaction from you?

TJ: It was just something that happens.
It was just a choice that I had to do it... Sheridan wanted to throw into this guy. He want to jump from a ten story building landing on this guys head. And it was just one of those throw away lines that could have been delivered any different way. For some reason, I wanted him to know that I was a coat that did not fit right on him and he was uncomfortable with me.

BJ: We got that feeling. It was excellently done.
As you know... HUM90 is a "Tour of Duty" Website and Terence Knox, having been on the program... is one of the reasons why I am here. What was it like to work with him on the set?

TJ: Terence Knox was an amazing person to work with.
He and I had a great relationship. Terence gave me one of the greatest compliments.
He told me that I would run into the wall and I'll smack it and I'll fall down on the floor and I'll get back up and I'll hit it again. He said that you don't back down from anything... you just run straight into it.
That was one of the greatest compliments I think that I have ever gotten. He was amazing to watch. Watching him make his choices. A lot of the times you don't know how it will play out and in the final edit... it's just amazing.
Some of the things, the mannerisms, the choices he used. In my mind, I said, "Ok, I wonder how it is going to play out?" Then when it came through, in the final product... it was exactly what it was... it was real... it was alive.
Working with him was acting lessons, training. You watch these constant professionals, he and Dan, it's just amazing. You see things that you may not think will work but you know that they know because they've been through it, they've seen it, they've lived it. So you know that these choices will either be cut and lay on the editing floor or... they will fly... and when they fly... they are right up there with the eagles.
Working with him was a tremendous experience. I loved every minute of it.

BJ: By us TOD fans, he is a noted prankster... Did he ever tell you of any of the pranks that he pulled when on other productions?

TJ: No he didn't. And the thing is he didn't pull any pranks.
Dan was more of the prankster on the set and I love pranks myself, I love to play pranks, but no... That's a shame to hear... because I would have loved to have been on his prank list.
That would have been a lot of fun.

There was one point, the first day that Terry got there we were sitting there and I had a bag of cashews and we were standing there... it was when the four detectives were standing there... Sheridan and LeBaron meet Kendall and Bannister. Bannister and Kendall are on the scene and Sheridan and LeBaron show up and they are briefing us on what they've seen and we are talking about jurisdiction.
I had a bag of cashew... you know... It's a game of... you're standing around... hum ditty hum ditty hum and then all of a sudden bamm... Productions ready to go and ready to fly.
And so we're standing there... hum ditty hum ditty hum... we're chit chatting and I pull out a bag of cashews and I pass them around. We are sitting there enjoying some cashews and some chit chat... and the next thing you know... "Okay... we're ready to go. The film is on ok and you guys go..."
And Terry had the first case of dialogue, and he just goes right into it.
He spouts off dialogue and cashews are flying everywhere. I'm looking at DJ Perry and DJ is looking at me and both of us are trying our best not to crack up... I'm looking at Dan and cashews are flying all over the place they are hitting us in the face and he is just going whole hog... it didn't matter a bit the fact that he had a mouth full of cashews... like I said we were in the middle of hand to mouth and that was the funniest thing.   I remember watching the daily's on that... going oh my God... thank you for the editor because at the end of that take... I had to walked out of frame because I was laughing so hard. That was about the only prankster kind of thing that happened on the set. No real practical jokes that happened on the set.
We would play with each other off the set... like goofy phone calls and things like that.
That was about it.
I will never forget that. I wanted to bring that up. I haven't seen him at the premiere but I wanted to bring that up.

BJ: I want to thank you for the chance to talk with you and the chance to get some pictures.

TJ: It's been a pleasure...