After roles on BET, CW, Spike TV and Showtime, College Hill native Gabrielle Dennis says she’s having “super fun” on the biggest acting role of her TV career on Fox’s new “Rosewood” medical drama.
The 1996 Hughes Center graduate plays Pippy, younger sister of Dr. Beaumont Rosewood (star Morris Chestnut) on “Rosewood” (8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox).
She’s a toxicology expert in Rosewood’s sophisticated private autopsy lab in Miami, and the one who nags him about missing family dinners with mom (Lorraine Toussaint) and getting tickets for running red lights.
“The show is super fun to film because, although it is a medical drama, we have tons of laughs because the writing lends itself to a good balance of humor, intelligence and drama,” Dennis says.
“It's always fun putting on those lab coats and stumbling through the medical jargon.”
DNA expert Tara Milly Izikoff aka TMI (Anna Konkle) is more than Pippy’s lab partner. She’s her fiancée.
“I play a lesbian, but if you blinked you would almost miss the reference in the pilot episode, which is what I liked most about the character when I read the script. The writers don't make a big thing of our characters being lesbian. We are just smart women who happen to be in an inter-racial lesbian relationship,” she says.
As a child, Dennis attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts for seven years and appeared in two movies shot here, “A Mom for Christmas” and “A Rage in Harlem.” After high school, she hosted BET’s award-winning “Teen Summit” show and attended Howard University. She also worked for Cincinnati Vice Mayor Minette Cooper in 2003 before moving to Los Angeles.
Her TV credits include “The Game” (CW and BET), Spike TV’s “Blue Mountain State,” “Bones,” “Franklin & Bash,” “My Names Is Earl,” “Southland” and “The Underground,” Damon Wayans’ Showtime sketch series.
“Rosewood” is paired on Wednesdays with Fox’s hit “Empire” (9 p.m.). But for “Rosewood” to become a hit, viewers must accept two improbable made-for-TV situations: That a doctor could operate a profitable private autopsy lab which finds things the county coroner routinely misses, and that a major metropolitan police department would have a detective working without a partner (Jaina Lee Ortiz as Detective Villa) so Rosewood could help her solve cases. Think of this as “CSI: Miami” meets “Castle.”
Dennis says the strong characters will draw viewers at 8 p.m. opposite ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “Survivor.”
“Outside of the lab and cases, the show focuses a lot on the relationships of the characters which is what I think will be what keeps people tuning in each week,” she says.