8:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Royal Pains' Star on Divya's Shocking Arrest: "I Knew It Was Going to Cause a Debate"
The doctors at HankMed are frequently in the right place at the right time, but unfortunately that ended up costing Divya (Reshma Shetty) in the season-seven premiere of Royal Pains. In the final moments of the episode, Divya saw a young boy fall down across the street and left her baby Sashi in the car to tend to the victim. Moments later, she found her car surrounded by police, who told her they would have to take Sashi to child services. Divya protested, and she was arrested.
"It was pretty shocking," Shetty tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Especially because I'm about to have a baby, it affected me a little bit when I saw it."
So what's next for Divya now that she has a criminal record? How will her real-life pregnancy be written into the show? And what's the reasoning behind her rekindled romance with former fiance Raj? Shetty spoke withTHR about all that and more.
What was your reaction when you first read the script?
I knew it was going to cause a debate. I knew there were going to be plenty of people out there who would come up, [and say], 'She should have taken the baby out of the car and crossed the street. She should have moved the car over there.' It happened in a moment of quick decision and as a medical professional, she did everything that she should have done. The car was in her eye line. This kid fell down and then started choking, so she had to do something very quickly. I love moments that can produce debate, and there are two sides to it. Maybe she should have taken the baby; maybe this or that. People will understand why certain things happened in the next few episodes.
Where does the next episode pick up? Will we actually see her behind bars?
You'll know on Tuesday what happens, but it all makes sense and it's all very fun and serious at the same time.
This is such a surprising place for the character to go. How does this moment and getting arrested change her going forward?
When I watched it, what shocked me was seeing a mother realizing that someone has the power to take her baby from her because of a split-second decision. That's pretty powerful, I think. Of course, it's going to affect her and how she deals with things down the road. Like everything that tends to happen to her on the show, she just learns from those things and you will see, there are reasons for all of these things to occur that totally makes sense by episodes three and four.
This is happening at a very interesting time for her because the writers have said they plan to address your real-life pregnancy. What can you say about this upcoming pregnancy and how that will impact her?
I'm not entirely sure what they're going to do or how they're going to do it. I'm sure that it will be handled in as logical and as delicate manner as possible. She's got a lot on her plate. She does have her baby, she does have her job, she has the romance factor that's going to start coming up in episodes. It's definitely going to be a juggling act for her, but she's always been really good at that as a character.
Congrats, by the way. You were a mom on the show first, so how do you think that's influenced you as you're getting ready to become a mom in real life?
It's like I'm doing it backwards a little bit, right? I remember the first day that I had the babies on set and I hadn’t worked with babies before. I didn't know how to hold the baby. I was scared that I was going to hurt the baby. When you're shooting, you definitely have to hold the baby at a certain angle, so it was a little unnatural. This baby doesn't know who you are from any stranger on the street, so it definitely was a challenge at the beginning and its still a challenge because most children don’t want to be quiet when they're supposed to be quiet or cry on cue, or anything. But it's definitely taught me, I wouldn’t say patience, but I would say being able to read signs like when a baby needs something or silly things like what sounds the baby likes. … I'm pretty sure though, I'm not prepared for what's about to come. Even with the amount of reading and research I'm putting into it all, I'm pretty sure that it's going to be a big surprise and there will be plenty of interesting hurdles. Good hurdles.
Another big shocker in the premiere was seeing Divya back with Raj. They initially decided not to get married because they didn’t have extremely strong feelings for each other and they had doubts. What has changed that they want to be together now?
What happened to her initially in the Raj storyline, which was such a popular and important storyline in the beginning, was that her parents chose this person, someone who was her best friend. It was a relationship that was constricted already. There was no space to grow; there was no space to have choices. I think that in between that time though she hasn't had many relationships, they have both changed so much as people. She had a baby, she got married in Vegas, he got married, he's going through a divorce, he has twins. They really matured very quickly in life. They're two people that have changed so much, but there's always a core that remains and that's what's drawing them together. There are other things that happen down the road here, and it's going to be a decision for her whether the familiarity of that grows on her or whether she goes on a different path.
When you have your best friend from high school or childhood, there is a warmth and familiarity that you aren't going to have with anybody else if you meet them at this point in your life. I think that's what's drawing them together at the moment. Plus: they had a choice. There are choices now, and she's also seen a bit of the world. At the end of the day, they were always best friends. He was always an anchor for her. It was the other things that she hadn’t experienced and she wondered if they were better or more interesting.
Are you rooting for Raj?
I usually don't know best. Would it be more fun to have hundreds of other flings? Yeah, sure. … I think that it's an interesting choice and viewers will see in episodes down the road, there are other choices that come along too, and I think that is going to be one of her major storylines: what does Divya finally want in that romantic path of her life?
There are lots of Divya-Jeremiah 'shippers. Is that something that's going to be revisited?
I'm not sure what happens with that down the road, but definitely there is a Jeremiah storyline that occurs that Divya is heavily involved with, and it brings up how strong they are in their friendship and whatever it is that they have together. They definitely have, I would say, the strongest bond. He probably has the strongest bond with her over anybody else at HankMed. The Jeremiah-Divya fans, there are some things that happen that I think they will enjoy.
Looking at her growth, what do you think has changed about her the most or how has her portrayal of her changed the most?
In the beginning, she was just a perfectionist. Everything about her was put together. She's very polite and very involved. As time went on, you started to see her let go a little bit and really, especially her relationship with the boys, there's a softness that you see in her and a comedic touch to her. I wouldn't say she's stuck up, I would say she needed to be correct. As the years have gone by, she's definitely loosened up a lot. I mean, she went and got married in Vegas to an underwear model, come on.
Royal Pains airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on USA.