Category Archives: 4×20 – Purity

Interview with Lily Mariye

@Paul Smith

@Paul Smith

Lily Mariye knows that nice girls can finish first. As a film maker, she named her production company Nice Girl Films because being nice is also about being appreciative and kind to the people you work with. This refreshing philosophy has served Lily well and she is enjoying extraordinary success as a director, writer and actor in the challenging entertainment industry. In 2000, Lily was named Filmmaker of the Year by the National Organization of Women for her award-winning short film The Shangri-la Café. The accolades continue to this day with her first feature film that she directed and wrote called Model Minority. The film was released last year and continues to make the rounds of film festivals around the world collecting various awards as it goes. Lily is best known for portraying Nurse Lily Jarvik on the TV series ER along with putting a together a long resume of acting credits in film and theatre. In Purity (4×20). Lily guest stars as Ashley Hung. She took some time to answer our questions about her career and the time spent with the cast and crew of NCISLA. Let’s welcome Lily to the NCISLAFamilia!

It’s wonderful to see a strong Asian American woman who is involved in all areas of the entertainment business.  Besides acting, you have written, directed and produced your own feature films.  What made you want to venture into these other creative areas?

Thanks, it’s nice to be called a “strong” woman! My journey into filmmaking started in college. I always considered myself a writer and thought I was going to be an English major, but got sidetracked into the Theatre department at UCLA. I started out as a ballet dancer as a child, added all different kinds of dance to my repertoire, then singing, then acting. When I started getting work as a dancer and an actor (I got my SAG card in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas with Dolly Parton), my writing became something I did on my off-days or during my downtime on film sets. In 1998, I saw one of the actors from ER, Deezer D, headsets on, sitting behind the monitor with one of our directors, Chris Chulack. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was “shadowing,” or observing the job of the director. That looked like lots of fun and a way to pass the very long hours on the set. So I asked our producer, John Wells, if I could “shadow” too. He said yes and introduced me to two of the most talented, prolific directors working, Jonathan Kaplan and Lesli Linka Glatter. They have become inspirations, role models and continue to guide me even now. And John allowed me to observe every single aspect of television production, from meetings with writers to production meetings to casting to location scouting to every aspect of post-production. It was a huge gift for which I am eternally grateful. In 1999, Lesli recommended that I apply to American Film Institute’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women (where she made her first short and got nominated for an Academy Award) and I got in! I had no idea if I could direct or if I would even like it. I wrote and directed my first short film, “The Shangri-la Café.” And as it turns out, I LOVE filmmaking! As an actor, I get to pretend that I’m another person, but in the big paint box of filmmaking, I’m only one color. When you’re a filmmaker, you get to play with ALL the colors. It’s exhilarating.

Was it hard trying to make it in Hollywood as an Asian American actor?  What obstacles, if any, did you face?

I can’t really compare my road to being an actor with anyone else because I’ve only had my experience as an actor. Apparently, it’s a tough road for all of us! I have friends who were blond haired, blue-eyed All-Americans who didn’t get the breaks I did.  I think it’s all about perseverance, doing what you love, or even just trying to do what you love. I’ve been very lucky. Certainly, my 15 seasons on ER is an almost unheard-of gig!  Of course, I’ve lost roles along the way because the decision was made “to go another way.” And I’ve turned down roles because the parts were offensive or stereotypical. But I can’t compare my career to other actors’ careers. That’s a dangerous path to take! I just keep finding ways to be creative and trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

You have a strong television acting background, in comparison, what was it like on the set of NCISLA?  Can you tell us a little bit about your character?

The set of NCISLA reminded me a lot of the set of ER—it’s a well-oiled machine, everyone doing their jobs efficiently and joyfully. My old friend from ER, Consulting Producer/Writer Joe Sachs, wrote a part for me and contacted me saying, “Want to work on NCISLA with LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell?” My answer was a resounding, “WOULD I?!?!” There were quite a few crew members from ER, so it really felt like home. And our director, Eric Laneuville, directed many episodes of ER. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just tell you that I play Ashley Hong, the Operations Manager of an electroplating factory that deals with large silver and gold plating, like you’d find on huge machines or aerospace parts. Something really bad happens, so Chris and LL have come to investigate.

Who did you work with on screen in terms of the main characters of the show, and can you share a special memory of your time spent on set?

I worked with LL and Chris. We had a scene where we were going down a freight elevator into the basement of the factory. We shot on the lot at Paramount, under one of the sound stages, in the basement. I didn’t realize how tall LL is, so even though I was wearing 3” heels, he and Chris tower over me as we descend down this elevator with moody lighting coming out behind us. I spent a lot of time alone with the guys in a huge elevator with big wooden gates that lift up. I guess nobody thought about who was going to open the gates until Eric yelled, “Action!” I realized that it’s my factory so I should be the one pulling up this ENORMOUS wooden door. But then Chris leaned over to help! It was very sweet. They are both very funny and very nice. It was fun to watch them interact with each other, much like they do on screen.

@Julia Ransom

@Julia Ransom

Tell us about your latest film, Model Minority and what it was like to write, direct and produce that film? 

Model Minority is set in South L.A. and follows teenagers as they survive the treacherous world of peer pressure, drug dealers, juvenile hall and dysfunctional families. Kayla, an underprivileged Japanese American 16 year old, endangers her promising future as an aspiring artist when she becomes involved with a drug dealer. I enjoyed every moment, every aspect of making this film. And I can’t wait to make my next one.

What was it like to be recognized with the best film and director award from the Asians on Film Festival for Model Minority?

It’s humbling and amazing that my first feature and my first feature directing efforts have been recognized and rewarded! Along with those two awards, which were the most recent ones, I’ve also won the Emerging Filmmaker Award from the DC APA Film Festival and the Special Jury Outstanding Director Award from the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.  But the one I’m most proud of is the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature in New York at the Asian American International Film Festival. Awards from judges are always great, but knowing that your film was loved by an audience is why you’re making films in the first place.

What’s up next?

Heaven knows! I’m still auditioning for acting roles, and writing my next feature, which is tentatively called “What I Did For Love.” This one will feature dancing, taking me back to my roots. It’ll be nice to go full circle, because in my heart, I’ll always be a dancer first.

Lily lives in Los Angeles with her husband Boney James who is a Warner Brothers recording artist and her cats, Sammi and Oscar.   A big thank you goes out to Lily and we appreciate her taking the time to talk to NCISLA Magazine!  You can find out more about Lily on her websites and watch a trailer for Model Minority:

And follow Lily on Twitter and Facebook:


Diane Interview

Purity (4×20) Review by Phillydi

Purity 3

Purity (4 X 20)
DIRECTED BY: Eric Laneuville

After all the controversy surrounding the Red episodes, it’s good to see our LA team back at work and together again  and free from all the Red Team diversion.  Tonight Callen and company are investigating a military death which may have profound homeland security implications.  Joe Sachs (Drive) has written his second episode this year and Eric Laneuville’s returns behind the camera for the first time this season.

In this episode, a communal water jug has been found to contain a lethal dose of cyanide and has already killed a Navy officer and incapacitated another. The team needs to find out if this is an isolated incident or the work of terrorists.  Jihadist groups are taking credit for the death but Sam has his doubts after reading the internet chatter. The source of the poisoning is coming from a water cooler which was probably tampered with before the bottle was opened and Deeks just found the murder weapon…and empty syringe.   Callen and Sam are trying to get more information from the other victim but other than a discharged sailor that caused some problems in Lt. Gordon’s past…they still don’t have much to go on.  But one dead sailor is the least of the problems for the team.  A two hundred pound drum of cyanide is missing from a factory and could kill close to a million people.  Things just went from bad to worse!

Callen and Sam track down Gordon’s protagonist who is now out of the military.  The only thing he can share is that Gordon seemed to be a man with a lot of secrets.  Does this have anything to do with the cyanide poisoning?  Deeks and Kensi run down the janitor who installed the jug from the water cooler.   Other than a new lead regarding a strange man hanging around the club looking for work, the killer is still out there and if things were bad before….Sam and Deeks just found out there are more drums missing with the potential now to kill four millions people.  The stakes just got higher!  People are having heart attacks and if it’s not in the water delivery service jugs, then it’s in the city’s drinking water.  It looks like a local attack….maybe homegrown?

Kensi and Deeks finds the source of where the cyanide may be getting into the drinking water and Eric and Nell track down a possible radical group called Designing a New America (love their acronym-DNA) who may be using guerrilla tactics to  make their point.  Seems like the team may have found their homegrown terrorists.  Callen infiltrates the group after bring Sam down during a protest. (I’m surprised Sam didn’t have a few words for Callen after their head-to-head.   Callen finds it all goes back to the beginning of the story with their first suspect who is the leader of the radical group.  Oh no, Callen is forced to drink the cool-aide!!  Luckily, he has the antidote close by and gets to live another day.  (The man has more lives than a cat!) The team goes on to take down the radical group and secure the cyanide despite the tears of a misguided child.  Callen does a great job talking the kid off the ledge.  The ball tossing scene at the end was a nice touch but I’m not too sure any child after all that brain washing would act so normal a few days later.  But it was nice to see Callen showing his parental side.

I have to say it wasn’t one of your more exciting episodes but it had a few shining moments for individual members of the team.

Show Highlights:

I loved seeing Ron Howard’s father Rance Howard as the old man who let’s Kensi into his house to check the water system.  Dwarfs?  That can’t be good!

Always enjoy seeing Sam in uniform.  Also fun to see Callen getting in Sam’s face too.

Hetty has such a great sense of humor, doesn’t she?  I loved her April Fool’s joke on Deeks.   Did you see the look on his face when he thought he was going to be fined over $100,000!  I think he would rather be drinking that cyanide instead!  Ha!

Best Lines from the Show:

Deeks:  If you built a time machine and didn’t tell me about it, I’m going to be pissed!

Eric:  Close…it also starts with a C and ends with an E.  Anyone, anyone?  Ding…times up…we were looking for cyanide.

Bromance Moments:

Sam:  God, I love algebra.  It’s logical.  It’s clean.

Callen:  That’s right.  You use to be a mathalete.

Sam: No I wasn’t a mathalete.  I was a junior math Olympian.  There’s a big difference.

Callen: You guys count on your fingers, or something?


Densi Moments:

Sam:  Kensi seems to have lost something.

Deeks:  Shocking!


Kensi:  We’ll take the bikini bar?

Deeks:  What?  We will?

Kensi:  I don’t like to see him beg and plus he would mope all the way to Point Mugo if we didn’t.

Deeks:  This is fantastic news but I don’t beg.

Kensi:  Oh, you beg.

Deeks:  I definitely don’t mope, because you’re the moper…you’re like MopyDick.


Kensi:  Feel free to take the pole for a spin.

Deeks:  Touche.

The cast tweeting live during the show.

The cast tweeting live during the show.


Check out our interview with ER alum, Lily Maryie, who played Ashley Hong on tonight’s episode.  She has some interesting insights on working in the entertainment industry and why she had a blast working with the NCISLA team on Purity.  We want to thank her for taking the time out to speak with NCISLA Magazine!

Looks like we’re going to have another break next week but when we return it’s the long awaited Densi-centric episode we have all been promised, written by Dave Kalstein and Gil Grant.  Later that week, our roundtable panel of writers will be back again to talk about the episode and to see if some of our predictions came true regarding the Box! (I predict by then that the damn prop will soon have an agent and publicist!)  Join us again in two weeks for Resurrection (4X21) and check out my review and the subsequent discussion.

Follow me on twitter @phillydi

Exclusive Review