Vanessa Ray knows what it’s like to be playing two characters at opposite ends of the scale, and she’s glad to have fans on board for the whole ride.
The actress is about to film more episodes as devious CeCe Drake on ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” which resumes its fourth season this winter after its Halloween episode Tuesday, Oct. 22. Ray is able to do that by taking a brief leave from the Friday-night CBS drama “Blue Bloods,” which she has joined in Season 4 as Eddie Janko, the new partner of NYPD Officer Jamie Reagan (Will Estes).
“It’s so fun to do,” the lively Ray tells Zap2it of her “Liars” gig, “and what a crazy character I get to play. She’s sort of a sociopath. I think she’s so weird because she’s, like, 22 but hangs out with high-schoolers. It’s like, ‘Hey, girl! Get a life!’ But I’m so lucky to get to play a character who really is a ‘character’ … an off-the-wall, self-centered, bizarre fashionista.”‘
Eddie is anything but that on “Blue Bloods,” which often shows Ray wearing a police uniform. “What a year for me, right?” she says with a laugh. “It’s so good. I get to play a good guy and a bad guy all year. This is a good time, though it’s weird to switch on and off [between the roles]. Luckily, they’re shot on separate coasts, so I can have them ‘live’ in their separate studios.”
At the same time, Ray believes the two series have something in common: “‘Blue Bloods,’ like ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ is a show you watch when it’s actually on television. You don’t DVR it, though you can, of course. You want to watch it when it’s on, and I think that’s a big testament to how much people love both shows and the characters. Just like me, they’re excited to see what CeCe or Eddie is up to.
“It’s really cool to be on shows like that, where the response is immediate,” she adds. “Parents will watch ‘Blue Bloods,’ but they’ll also watch ‘Pretty Little Liars.’ After my first ‘Blue Bloods’ episode, they were like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get my daughter to watch the show.’ And now, kids and adults are watching ‘Blue Bloods’ together, and the tweets and the Instagram comments and all of that have been adorable and lovely.”
Ray finds it sensible that families would watch “Blue Bloods,” reasoning that “it’s a family-based show, yet it has that mystery-solving thing ‘Pretty Little Liars’ also has. Teens can watch with their parents, and they can all watch a great TV show.”