Ortiz ready for bumpy ride on ‘Station 19’


Ortiz takes on physical rigors for firefighter role

Jaina Lee Ortiz

Jaina Lee Ortiz is a fitness fanatic by nature, so when she was cast to play Seattle firefighter Andy Herrera on ABC’s “Station 19,” it wasn’t a big jump to get herself physically ready.

Still, she took the CPAT – or Candidate Physical Ability Test – as part of her research for the role.

“It was really hard and I passed,” the Bronx, N.Y.-reared actress says. “I kind of want to do it again just to see like after three seasons what it feels like now. But it was not easy, especially carrying the mannequin that weighs 165 pounds; you have to drag the mannequin across – I forget how many feet it was – but that was really, really hard.”

The third season of the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff gets underway Thursday, Jan. 23, with the two shows switching time slots and the action picking up where the “Grey’s” fall finale left off, with a car crashed into Joe’s Bar, where Ben (Jason George) and Chief Herrera (Miguel Sandoval) from “Station 19” and Jackson (Jesse Williams), Levi (Jake Borelli) and Nico (Alex Landi) from “Grey’s” were drinking.

Lives are imperiled in the crossover episode as Andy and others arrive at the scene but as for whether regular characters are killed off, Ortiz was understandably circumspect, lest she reveal spoilers.

But she allows, “You’ll probably see a lot more death in this one season than Seasons 1 and 2 combined. So the fans will be very shocked and at the same time we’re going to see how these people, how these characters react to all these new life situations that present themselves. … It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”


Birth name: Jessica Ortiz

Birth date: Nov. 20, 1986

Birthplace: Fort Ord, Calif. (but raised in The Bronx, N.Y.)

Family ties: Single; is the daughter of Joe Ortiz, a retired NYPD homicide detective, and Daisey Acevedo

Other TV credits include: “The Shop,” “Rosewood,” “Shooter,” “Grey’s Anatomy”

Movie credits include: “Sad Spanish Song” (2004), “Misfire (2012), “The After” (TV, 2014), “Girls Trip” (2017)


George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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