Roshawn Franklin discusses his role on Dick Wolf’s FBI.
Ahead of the third season One Chicago Center connected with Roshawn to discuss his role, if he’s developed his own interior life for Hobbs, and the connection he has to the One Chicago franchise that FBI fans don’t know about.
Get to know him in our interview while we wait for FBI season 3 to premiere (a premiere date for the new season has yet to be announced). You can also stream episodes from season 2 on CBS All Access.
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One Chicago Center: We know why fans love FBI, but why do you love the show as an actor?
Roshawn Franklin: Dick Wolf shows are legendary shows. Obviously, they’ve been around for a couple of decades. Growing up as a kid, I would listen to Law & Order when my mom was watching it, and now being able to work on one of his shows is just amazing. It’s pretty much a dream come true. Also, filming in New York is a dream come true, as well.
OCC: Hobbs isn’t in every episode, so do you ever wonder what he’s doing when we don’t see him? Or think about what you would do in a given storyline?
RF: You definitely keep the storyline going in your head as an actor, especially with a recurring role or also as a series regular as well. The filling in the blanks is kind of done for you with the writers. But yeah, when you’re recurring, especially on a hit show like that, you want to kind of keep those characters and that storyline going, and it can send me sort of crazy at times. It’s like, “Hey, if I was in this episode, I would’ve said that too.”
The thing with a recurring role as well, you probably do a lot of the heavy kind of character development before the season starts. That heavy work early on carries throughout the season. For instance with Hobbs,why does he work so hard at his job? Does he have a family at home that he takes care of? This and that. These are kind of like backstories and character development that you’ve done ahead of time, and that kind of drives you through the season.
OCC: Do you have favorite moments from the FBI episodes you’ve been in so far?
RF: I work in the FBI headquarters [so] it’s kind of similar work every episode. You’re trying to find the bad guy and I’m pulling up information and everybody’s in a rush…I would say it kind of all blends together after so many episodes, honestly. It’s about I can look at this blue screen and figure out what’s going on. There’s nothing that really stands out because my job is kind of the same.
OCC: You had read for parts in the One Chicago franchise before being cast in FBI. Did that help you in this role because the shows have the same creator and a similar tone?
RF: Yes. Honestly, I think that’s where a lot of actors kind of miss the mark. Because with any brand of a show, you have your genre shows, you have your big Wolf shows, you have certain producers that have a similar tone and a brand. As an actor, if you understand that brand, then you’re going to understand the tone of the package that’s going on. If you don’t understand that brand, you’ll just miss the mark and you won’t really get those jobs.
To your point, going in for Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, I started to understand the brand a lot more, and then by the time I moved to New York and finally went out for FBI, I just knew the brand at that point from an acting standpoint, not from a viewer standpoint.
The viewer standpoint, you understand Dick Wolf, because Law & Order‘s been around for ages and you know this is what I’m getting. But that doesn’t really translate into being an actor and on the storytelling side. You have to really study it and understand the technical aspects of the tone or the brand. It took a while and then I got there, and now here we are.
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OCC: But now that FBI has crossed over with Chicago PD, you could still end up on PD. Would you be up for that?
RF: It would be awesome to go over to Chicago…I’m open to wherever this ride takes me, and that’s up to the powers that be. It’s an exciting universe to be a part of. That would be great to fly out to Chicago, and meet all those guys and have a good time like that.
OCC: What other roles would Roshawn Franklin recommend to FBI fans who want to see more of you outside of Agent Hobbs?
RF: I had a big movie come out last year called What Men Want. That was really cool, to see me in a comedic role and I was opposite Taraji P. Henson and Tracy Morgan [in] a big Paramount Pictures film. I played a fiance that was not on his best behavior.
As far as other television stuff, I had a really big episode of Grey’s Anatomy that a lot of people still recognize me for. It made me a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan. I believe that was season 7, and the episode was called “Push.” That was interesting because I played a guy that needed to have breast implants in order for me to live. I don’t want to give too much away on that episode, but whenever I bring that up, people are like, I remember that episode. It was great.
I’ve been very fortunate to be able to bounce around TV a lot with recurring roles and guest stars and things. And [I’m] just looking forward to the future—finding a permanent home on TV and moving on from there.
OCC: You also have a number of interests outside of FBI and outside of television, too. What else do we need to know about Roshawn Franklin?
RF: Interestingly enough, when the quarantine hit, I went into a screenwriting program up in Julliard and I started writing a couple of screenplays. I do have a short film that I will be shooting at the top of the year, and it’s basically about my journey moving from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, New York, and all the interesting things that have come up with the cultural differences and things like that. I’m going to be directing that as well as producing and starring in it.
I started writing my feature film, which is more of a passion project. I’m going to give myself a few years to get that going. That’s kind of like a period piece of the 1940s with a black journalist that moves from Harlem, New York to Los Angeles to fulfill his dreams as a journalist and all the trials and tribulations that came with that. That’s more of a long-term passion project for me.
And I also launched a YouTube channel. That’s going to be pretty fun; it’s just giving my perspective on motivation, lifestyle, and smart money ideas. That’s also a fun project as well as just teaching people stuff on the YouTube platform.
For the latest FBI season 3 spoilers and news, plus more on all of Dick Wolf’s other series, follow the Dick Wolf category at One Chicago Center.