Summer favorite "Rizzoli & Isles" is returning for its sixth season June 16 on TNT, and with it, gonzo Senior Criminalist Susie Chang. Fans of the show have come to expect the unexpected from Susie, played by Tina Huang. This season the spotlight will definitely shine on her from time to time.
Perhaps things will be heating up between Susie and the beau she met at a nudist retreat? Perhaps the eclectic education that bespeaks Susie's brilliant and unusual mind will come into play? We know she's done art school and med school and is an expert builder of dioramas in addition to being a crime lab wiz. For all we know, maybe Susie's done clown school, too.
Huang isn't issuing spoilers, of course, but does affirm that some Susie-centric episodes are on the way. "I love that Susie is the kind of character they can throw anything at," she notes during an afternoon's chat between camera calls. "She takes her job seriously, but can also be weird and eccentric."
Beyond Susie, Huang has plenty of eclecticism in her real-life world. The beautiful, energetic performer has been juggling "R&I" and her other TV jobs — as Dr. Linda Chu on daytime's "General Hospital," and, formerly, as Lily Park on Nickelodeon's "Hollywood Heights." She is fresh from Albuquerque as we speak, having been there to shoot episodes of "Night Shift" for the NBC medical drama's third season. Then there are her Ammunition Theater Company in Los Angeles — she's a founding member of the recently-launched company — and her "Fairy Tale Theatre: 18 & Over" sketch comedy show, which was such a critical and commercial success in Los Angeles, it's now set to be presented at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival in August.
"It's fairy tales for adults," she elaborates. "People come and leave the theater with huge smiles on their faces." Sketches include characters like a closeted gay spider, a co-dependent Eskimo and a bipolar bear.
Doing many and varied things comes naturally to the married, self-proclaimed foodie. Her mother, she says, was always a big multitasker. She lost her mom to Parkinson's disease last year, and now aims to raise awareness and help in the fight against that devastating illness.
Huang's background, also, is eclectic. Born in Dallas, she was raised in Chinatown and the Lower East Side of New York City. She is first generation Taiwanese-American and fluent in Mandarin. She studied theater at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and NYU's Tisch School of Arts. Though she lives in L.A. nowadays, her ties to NYC remain. She's a member of the Lower Eastside Girl's Club, an organization that provides programs and services for young girls and young women in her old neighborhood.
It's easy to imagine, Susie would be so pleased.