“Grimm” fans know that for Reggie Lee’s character Sgt. Wu, 2014 was a difficult year.
Drew Wu now understands the supernatural nature of “Grimm’s” Portland, Ore., but the consequences of knowing the truth have been fairly grave. A face-to-face encounter with a childhood boogeyman called an Aswang prompted him to commit himself to a mental health clinic, and although his friends and fellow law enforcement officers, Dets. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) and Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), confirmed to Wu that the Wesen world and, the sergeant’s personal demon, are, in fact, quite real, the information provided little comfort.
With the NBC series set to return Jan. 16, Hero Complex chatted with Lee — whose character has the unusual honor of having a doughnut named him at a Portland bakery — to learn more about how the actor is coping with Wu’s tumultuous time.
Hero Complex: Wu learned some surprising truths about the Wesen-perpetrated crimes in Portland — how would you describe his state of mind this season?
Reggie Lee: I’ve felt like Nick and Hank were lying to me about something. I’d guessed that it had to do with something about “creatures” — whatever they were — but I would never have guessed that it was something supernatural. I thought, me being Wu, that there was an explanation, a scientific explanation, that maybe they didn’t want me to know. But I knew that they were lying to me about something, keeping something away from me that was making me go crazy. When Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) started coming into the picture, I thought, OK, are they doing something completely illegal? I had all of these questions, and it didn’t equal anything to me except that they were choosing not to tell me something and it was driving me insane. And hence, I was getting angrier and angrier.
Come the “Chupacabra” episode, it really just came to a head. It wasn’t pretty. I went to them and said, “You really need to tell me some answers or I’m leaving.”… Seriously, I was frustrated. Wu is the everyman in the show. He’s a layman; he’s the everyday person. And the way I took [finding out about Wesen and Nick being a Grimm] was not the way Hank took it or the way Juliette took it. It’s not like I have a loved one dealing with this. Me? I’m like, “That’s … scary!” Whatever I’m seeing is freaking me out! And I dealt with it that way.
HC: Executive producers Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt stated that you would break down this season…
RL: Yeah, and it’s eight episodes in! It’s not like I had this idea and [Nick and Hank] told me right away. Time-wise, that could be anywhere from three weeks to a month and a half. So, a month and a half of going through this and going home trying to live your normal life [after seeing one of the Wesen creatures], I felt like I was getting some kind of dementia — almost like Alzheimer’s. I felt like I was going down a path that was unrecoverable.
HC: He’s spent time in an institution and even a jail cell. Could you have predicted this turn of events for Wu?
RL: No…. I really thought at some point, there would be some kind of explanation…. All I really got was, “What you’re seeing is real.” I went home and I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like whenever I stepped out, something was after me, and the only way I found to cope with that was with alcohol. But alcohol triggered all these flashbacks, [including] my major flashback, which was the Aswang. I thought I would just get drunk, it would ease the symptoms, and I’d just Uber it home or whatever, but I ended up hitting someone. And what’s more embarrassing for me, now I’m in my own jail cell.
Wu is on top of his game. He can take notes and doesn’t need to look at his notepad. Then he’ll tell you exactly what’s going on… So, for him to be out of control like this is the most embarrassing situation… I like the idea that it’s not easy for him. I like that as an actor because it’s real. All he ever wanted was to be good at his job.
HC:@TeamSgtWu was worried you might leave the series. Should she still be concerned?
RL: I don’t think anyone’s ever safe in this show. That being said, I know that the show runners are very happy with the chemistry that’s going on between the eight of us. So, I hope not.
HC: How do you think Wu ultimately will respond to his current situation?
RL: Well, look at his background. Being Asian, you don’t want to get an A, you want to get an A plus plus plus plus. It’s so inherent of the Asian mentality that I was reared with. He so loves being good at his job … I think he’s going be the best damn Wesen hunter you’ve ever had. Even without him being a Grimm, I think he’ll take it on as a challenge. I think he’ll freak out about it, but… if he ever gets over it, he’d go full-force, 150 percent … and want to go after them.
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