'Tracker' Star Melissa Roxburgh Teases Unraveling of Shaw Family Secrets

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melissa roxburgh tracker interview

Melissa Roxburgh is building quite the collection of handsome TV brothers. After four seasons playing younger sister to former Prince Charming Josh Dallas on Manifest, she’s now appearing on Tracker as Dory, the younger sister of Colter Shaw, played by Justin Hartley. And later this month, Supernatural star Jensen Ackles will make his debut as Colter and Dory’s estranged older brother Russell.

“I only do attractive brothers. I don’t work with the ugly ones,” Roxburgh joked to Parade. “I actually got a message from Josh and he was like, ‘You traitor!’ So yeah, I’ve played a lot of brother/sister dynamics.”

Colter and Dory haven’t seen each other in quite a while, mostly due to the family secrets and painful baggage that have plagued Colter all season. They reunite this week as a case brings Colter to a university where Dory teaches physics to chase down a missing kid, and it gives the siblings the chance to see each other in action and begin to work through the mess their survivalist parents created.

Read on to hear Roxburgh’s take on her character and what it was like to reunite with pal Justin Hartley.

Related: ‘Tracker’ Guest Star Sofia Pernas Teases ‘Sexually Fraught’ Scenes With Husband Justin Hartley

Tell me about joining this show and this messed up family.

Roxburgh: So I came onto this show only really knowing, when I first heard about it, that I was playing the sister. So for more information to come out about who she was and the backstory of this family and all that stuff was super interesting. Obviously I’d watched the first couple episodes of the show, and it was a really complicated story that I was excited to dive into. And seeing Dory as an adult, a professor with her life together, she’s such a cool, complicated character. She’s trying so hard to be normal, but the family is not normal. So I’m curious to see how she unravels as things start to happen.

How did you go about playing someone who’s so professional on the outside, but actually so screwed up?

I think everyone deals with trauma in different ways, and the way she’s dealt with it is just by plugging along and pretending stuff hasn’t happened. Or maybe pretending is the wrong word. I think she just knows that if she pulls the threads, she’s not sure what’s gonna come out of it and she doesn’t think it will be helpful or healthy to anyone to go down that path, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s going to have to go down that path.

Much of the ongoing story of the show is about revealing this family’s history, so did you get any insight into that outside of the script?

Yeah, I had some conversations with [director] Ken Olin and Justin, so I got a bit of context. But for me as an actor, I have just as many question marks as Dory does about what happened and what the truth of it is.

It does feel like she doesn’t hesitate when Colter needs her help, regardless of what’s gone on between them.

They were raised in such a unique way that I don’t think that will ever leave any of the siblings. So even though she’s got this academic job now, I think there’s definitely a part of her that still you know…they grew up watching their parents teach them how to kill animals and all that stuff. So there’s this hunter aspect of her as well, and this desire to figure out the truth and this desire to help her brother, at the very least, with what he’s doing.

What was it like establishing that brother/sister relationship with Justin?

Because he and I know each other so well, it was easy to just put that on screen. In real life, he’s definitely like a big brother to me, so playing the logical, rational sibling…it’s more the opposite. He’s definitely given me a lot of life advice in real life.

How does this episode change things between Dory and Colter? Does she think he could live a “normal life” like her?

I think she hoped, but she quickly realizes that it’s not the path that he chose, and he’ll keep doing what he feels he needs to do in life. I think she does gain a bit of respect for him in watching what he does by the end of the episode. She thinks that he was just like tracking down puppies, but then she realizes that it’s a lot more serious, which scares her, but she’s also like, oh, okay, you’re doing proper work out there. I mean, obviously it’s not what anyone would want for their brother. It’s dangerous. But I think she kind of takes on this mentality of well, if I can’t change your mind, at least I’ll help you.

Related: Jon Huertas Shares Secret to ‘This Is Us’ Family Ahead of ‘Tracker’ Reunion With Justin Hartley

What’s it like jumping into a show like this one after so many years in a world like Manifest?

It’s nice, you know. I mean, Michaela wound up being pretty strong in the end. She started off a hot mess, and Dory seems like she’s got her stuff together but may become a hot mess with whatever comes out about the family. We’ll see. But it was a nice change to play something grounded in reality. I’ve played a lot of characters in sci-fi stories that it’s nice to play something a bit more rooted.

You were on Supernatural too, right?

I was! I haven’t seen Jensen since I was 18 or 19, so if I do get to come back and play it will be nice to see him again.

I was going to ask if there had been any talks of a big family reunion.

I think [there will be]. That’s my hope and wish and we’ll see what happens, but I’d love to come back.

Do you know the full family secret?

No! I’m excited to find out along with everyone else. 

Next, ‘Tracker’ Renewed for Season 2: Everything to Know

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