Fire Country's Sabina Gadecki on That Shocking Cara Twist and the Impact of the Smash CBS Drama

at .  Updated at .

With the opening episodes of Fire Country Season 2, the character of Cara, portrayed by Sabina Gadecki, quickly emerged as a new fan favorite.

A single mom navigating some very tricky circumstances, Cara embodied much of what makes the show so different from other network dramas:

With her daughter's father behind bars and a new love emerging as the father figure her daughter deserves, Cara was in difficult terrain and often uncertain of the right path. But her devotion to Genevieve was never in question.

Sabina Gadecki Photo

If there's a central theme to Fire Country, it's that we're defined by our present actions, not our past mistakes. And Cara represented that idea as well as any heroic inmate.


Sabina Gadecki Pic

So it came as a shock when the character was killed in an ambulance wreck just as fans were beginning to feel that her best days were ahead of her.

But while we were sad to see Cara go, it was thrilling to see Sabina rise to the occasion with a devastating death scene that doubled as the announcement of a major talent in the world of TV drama.

We recently had the chance to sit down with Sabina and talk about her character, her career, and what makes Fire Country so special. Take a look:

So! Was that your character's biggest episode yet?

Yes, I think so! For so many reasons, I think you get to really get a step into my history, my past, why I made the choices, I made, why I said what I said. I think it really answers a lot of questions, and I feel it's my favorite episode I've filmed.

Sabina Gadecki Image

Any chance we'll somehow see more of Cara going forward?

Well, unless we have flashback scenes, I don't think so. I mean, I hope we have some further exploration of my history with Jake and really us coming to this beautiful, loving place that we'd come to.

And I hope there's further exploration of maybe Bode, and I when we were young together and sort of what that was like. So I hope there's flashbacks, but yeah, I really enjoyed this episode, minus the verdict.

A single mom whose ex is behind bars is not the sort of character we see portrayed on TV very often. When Cara told Bodhi that she can't afford to make a single mistake when it comes to Genevieve, that was a moment that must have resonated with single parents all over the country.

How important is that representation to you and do you ever hear from viewers who are in similar situations?

That episode (Fire Country Season 2 Episode 4) was a big turning point for my character.

I feel like 204 was a real chance for me to connect with audiences, which I feel grateful for. I feel like there was a real opportunity to get to know who I am, why I make the choices I do that.

I think before people are like, I'd see it in my comments and people would be like, "Well, I don't like her. She's a meanie." And I'm like, she's not mean. She's just being protective, still a kid figuring it all out and trying to make the best choices for her daughter.

So yes, I do think that my character finally had the opportunity to really connect with audiences versus just being, you really got to take a step into Cara's world and know why she ticks and makes the choice that she does. Yeah.

I spoke to Jordan Calloway last week when we talked about how this is a compassionate show that asks viewers to root for people who normally maybe they wouldn't normally root for.

Jordan Calloway - Fire Country

There's this very powerful narrative about redemption at the heart of this series. Not many shows depict people with troubled pasts in such a positive light. How do you feel about Fire Country's potential to spark important conversations about the criminal justice system?

I love that part of it because ultimately, there's always a point where choices, decisions kind of turn.

I like to say everyone's a good person at heart; I don't know if that's that's fully true. But everyone on our show, I think, is a good person at their core.

And I think the show does a good job of teetering -- one minute you're not rooting for them, the next minute you aren't, but we're all not perfect.

And I think the little cracks along the way make the characters feel relatable. And yeah, I think the show does a really good job of balancing that.

Sabina Gadecki on the Red Carpet

At the end of 204, you see that Jake and Cara are kind of at this important turning point in their relationship. They're both great characters, but both complex characters. Do you think it would've been a good idea for them to get married?

That's, I think, why I wish that Jake and I had the chance to explore further. Because I see people were really starting to root for us as a couple.

I really see him for him and I think he really sees me for me, and he reiterates time and time again just that my past has nothing to do with my present. And I think that's really a beautiful thing about our relationship.

Even in our first episode last season, I'm saying to him, I'm like, I want to know who's in there. I want to know you for you. And I think I'm the first person who sees him.

And vice versa, he's the first person that really sees me as an adult. So I do think taking the next step is, I like that choice. I just wish we had a chance to sort of explore that real genuine bond that we just really started to scratch the surface on.

Sabina Gadecki in White

One of your co-stars is also one of the series creators. Is it any different sharing scenes with Max Thieriot, considering what a big role he plays behind the camera, or when you're acting, it's just acting?

It's funny. I don't know if a lot of people know this, but Max and I are our friends in life. But I didn't even tell him when I was auditioning for the show. I didn't even want him to know.

And this was the second Jerry Bruckheimer show that I had done, I had done L.A.'s Finest as the show with Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba before this, so I just sort of hoped all the right people were going to be in my corner.

And then I get to this point and I have these really heavy scenes with Max, and the first thought I have is I want to do a really good job.

You always do with your work. I mean, I take my work very, very seriously and come 10 times prepared more than I should, just so I can feel really free with my acting.

Bode Prepares - Fire Country Season 2 Episode 3

But I feel it's funny, because you have to step out of the friend role into this ... I feel like that made me more nervous of the friends working together versus him being a producer.

It was like I just wanted to make him proud. And I feel like we were super connected in our scenes. And we don't have a ton of scenes together, they're always kind of scratching the surface with our daughter a little bit.

And I'm hurt from our past, so we haven't really had the opportunity to really connect as two actors because of our relationship on the show.

But I feel proud of the work we got to do together. It was really, really so beautiful to work with him.

It's always complex working with friends and family.

It's almost like even when my husband was on set and it's almost like I couldn't have him be there for the really heavy scenes.

Sabina Gadecki With Tyler Rich

I could have him be there for some scenes, but the really heavy things, it's almost like you feel more intimidating.

The whole entire crew doesn't get me nervous, but it's different to know my husband's there. I almost felt that way with Max for a moment, but it was just the second we just got into the ambulance and just connected two actors just really being present for one another. I feel really grateful and proud of our work.

Speaking of your husband (country singer Tyler Rich), you guys are both having these just explosive moments in your career right now. What has that been like? Are you living the dream?

I feel really grateful. We've worked our whole entire lives to really chase our dreams.

And whether someone does or doesn't make it so often has nothing to do with talent, it's, I don't know. Right place, right time, grit, hustle, stamina, heart. I mean, there's just so much that goes into it.

Sabina Gadecki and Tyler Rich

But I feel really proud of us. It's not easy, and I feel lucky to have someone who's supportive, he emotionally shares in my joy.

When I book something, and I cry happy tears, he's right there with me, feeling what I'm feeling. And so I feel lucky to have someone who's supportive in my career like that. He's awesome.

Kane Brown guested on Fire Country. Do you think you could talk Tyler into making an appearance at some point?

I would love that. His song, "The Difference," was on the last episode, which was a surprise to both of us.

We didn't know, it was a surprise. So I mean, that would be awesome if Ty could be on, that'd be really cool. I'd love that. But then also there's a part of me that's like, no, let's keep our work lives separate. Then again, it does feel like a big family show.

Tyler Johnson is an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic and the other Mediavine O&O sites. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and, of course, watching TV. You can Follow him on X and email him here at TV Fanatic.

Show Comments