Jasmine Burke on her devilish ’Saints & Sinners’ character and what church folk think of the show
Jasmine Burke’s got an infectious attitude that’s as sweet as a glass of Georgia peach tea from her native city of Atlanta. But Burke can flip the script when it comes to playing her troublesome Saints & Sinners character Dr. Christie Johnson on Bounce TV. And now that Dr. Johnson has fallen from grace, all hell’s breaking loose at Greater Hope Baptist Church in season three of the breakout series.
She still has feelings for Miles (Keith Robinson) but is once again caught between his wife and his one-time mistress but his wife Tamara’s (Demetria McKinney) wild allegations threaten to put Christie away forever.
If you follow Saints & Sinners as one of the millions of viewers who are hooked on the show, then you know that this cast is deep-rooted in their devilish ways. Burke spoke to TheGrio about this season’s juicy season full of deceit and vicious lies and revelations that will finally lend us insight into what Dr. Johnson’s getting into in Cypress.
Burke said although Dr. Johnson’s been down in the dumps, she will likely rise to the occasion. We’ve seen Dr. Johnson make a major transformation and that’s a clear indication of the depth and range this Atlanta native pours into her character each week on the network’s first original drama.
When asked where the show’s creator Tye Scott was going with Burke’s character Dr. Johnson, Burke said:
“One of the things that shocked me most was her physical transformation this season. Tye is always very specific about what she wanted Christie to look like even from season one. There was a very specific hairstyle. There was very specific make-up. Very specific clothing. Now she’s transformed into this whole other person—from being this polished Princess to now being this depressed, broken down woman. In Season three, she’s totally washed out,” Burke continued. It goes along with where she is emotionally. And where she is emotionally is just very down in the pits. That was the most surprising thing.”
Saints & Sinners Season Three premiere becomes the most-watched original series in Bounce history, and averaged 681K total viewers. It delivered more than half a million households, according to recent reports.
When asked what makes Saints & Sinners so addictive Burke gave props to the writers.
“It’s some damn good story telling, right?” Burke said laughing.
“It’s not linear. It’s layered with so much. We have a great ensemble cast and every single character has something going on with them. No one is just there. Everybody is serving a purpose and up to some major sinning.”
For Burke, this character is one that allows her to reach deep as an actress. And she says there’s truth in the storytelling that’s oh-so relatable.
“I love telling human stories. People have definitely been depressed, people have definitely made some very wrong decisions and gotten really depressed about it in their lives,” she admits. “That’s the thing about Christie though. That Johnson spirit is rising up in her, in her own way.”
So, will Dr. Johnson get her stuff all the way together?
“She’s not gonna’ stay down,” Burke retorted. “She might have been down for a minute. She’s trying to crawl herself up out the hole. And that’s what I really love about Christie. I think out of all the characters on Saints & Sinners, Christie has gone through the most transformations. And the most highs and lows and emotional ups and downs. Everyone else you know what they’re gonna do, you know what to expect but with Christie you never know and I appreciate the opportunity to show my range in such a character on television right now and a young black woman!”
And while the series seems to focus deliciously on the second word in the show’s title more than the first, Burke says they haven’t received any backlash from church goers.
“Nobody has ever in church come up to me or given me the side eye,” she said. “Folks really just loves watching the show. And I think people know we’re not bashing the church, we’re just telling a very juicy story. Most of it has nothing to do with saying bad things about the church, more so it’s about the people in the church. People can understand that.”
Truth be told, church might be a holy place, but folks have devilish ways.
“I think the people love the fact that we have taken something that is so precious and been able to make it interesting to watch,” she said.
“I’ve had actual pastors come up to me and say they love the show. They don’t take offense to it at all. They can’t wait until Sunday night. They preach all Sunday morning and can’t wait until Sunday night to watch their favorite show Saints & Sinners!”
So what does Burke want to see happen with her character this season?
“I want to see Christie get out of the hole,” she said. “I want to see her return to her rightful place in the dynasty. It would be great to continue that track of seeing someone starts way up here, high, high, high on a pedestal then gets dropped way down low and then now picks themselves back up and return to even greater than they were before. I think that would be very inspiring for audiences to see that you can sin, but you can return a saint!”
And as for what happens to that baby? Stay tuned.
“We do find out what happens to that baby!” says Burke excitedly. “Christie and Lady Bird, her grandmom, you have not seen nothing yet! And what she finds out about her grandmom and what the audience finds out, is going to have mouths on the ground. Seriously. You cannot guess.”
Tune into Saints & Sinners on Bounce TV Sundays at 9:00 ET.