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Jesse Metcalfe on Slow Burn Romance & Jeff’s Injury in ‘Martha’s Vineyard Mystery’

Jesse Metcalfe as Jeff and Sarah Lind as Zee - Riddled with Deceit: Martha's Vineyard Mystery


Jesse Metcalfe heads back to Martha’s Vineyard for another mystery, Riddled with Deceit, in Sunday’s Hallmark movie.

Following up on the previous Martha’s Vineyard Mystery installment, A Beautiful Place to Die, Metcalfe’s retired detective Jeff Jackson once again joins forces with medical examiner Zee Madieras (Sarah Lind). This time, they’re looking into the disappearance of an emerald brooch from India and the attack on the woman who was wearing it at a gala.

While Jeff tried to leave the crime-fighting back in Boston, he jumps in to help because the case is personal. “It involves the safety of Zee’s best girlfriend, who has recently become a friend of Jeff’s,” Metcalfe tells TV Insider.

He hopes this isn’t the last movie in this series. “I don’t want to promise a specific number, but as long as people keep tuning in and we keep getting great ratings, we’ll keep churning out the Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries,” he says.

Here, Riddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery‘s Metcalfe discusses his character, the series’ slow-burn romance, and more.

Martha's Vineyard Mystery Jesse Metcalfe Riddled with Deceit Jeff

(Hugh Tull/Crown Media)

Clearly helping out on a case can’t be a one-time thing for Jeff, so what keeps drawing him in?

Jesse Metcalfe: It’s probably the detective in him but also the fact that he has a personal relationship with a lot of people on the Vineyard who happen to be involved in these various mysteries is definitely pulling him into the cases.

How much should he probably stick to staying retired considering his injury? How concerned should we be about that?

It’s definitely a concern for Jeff, especially when solving these mysteries tends to get relatively physical. We’re going to explore that more in future installments of Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries.

What makes Jeff and Zee such great partners on these cases? What do each bring that isn’t necessarily the other’s strength during the investigation, besides their expertise from their careers?

In any great partnership, you have to challenge one another. Zee is the perfect yin to Jeff’s yang. The fact that they’re both highly intelligent but they both challenge each other makes them the perfect crime-fighting duo.

What’s keeping their personal relationship a slow burn right now?

They both have very strong personalities, which touches on your last question. They’re both [also] relatively vulnerable because of some things that have happened to them in the past and the baggage that they bring to the present, with Jeff’s early discharge from the force and his PTSD and Zee also touches on a failed relationship that she had, which brought her back the Vineyard in Riddled with Deceit. It’s their vulnerability that keeps them from really opening up to one another fully.

Martha's Vineyard Mystery Hallmark Riddled with Deceit Chief

(Hugh Tull/Crown Media)

Speaking of Jeff’s past, there’s what happened to him in Boston. Is that going to play out slowly as the mystery of the series or will we get big answers sooner than we expect?

It’s going to be one of the many storylines throughout the series. I can’t necessarily reveal when you’ll get a lot of information concerning that, because that incident and Jeff being shot and discharged from the force is quite the rabbit hole and a lot is going to be revealed that people don’t expect.

How has returning to Martha’s Vineyard changed Jeff for the better?

It’s probably softened Jeff, having both Chief Madieras and Zee back in his life. He has people around him who understand him and understand what he’s been through and are nurturing him in a lot of ways. Also the Vineyard holds a lot of fond memories for Jeff. Even though he spent so much time in Boston as a detective, he’s finally home.

And Jeff’s relationship with the chief is important.

Chief Madieras is somewhat of a surrogate father for Jeff. Jeff had somewhat of an adversarial relationship with his own father at times, and after losing his father, the chief really steps up as a paternal figure for Jeff.

How has his forced retirement and working cases in Martha’s Vineyard changed him as an investigator?

He was a bit impetuous as a detective in his career in Boston, and that’s what got him into the situation that led to him being shot and discharged from the force. He was a bit of a hothead and didn’t necessarily do things by the book.

Martha's Vineyard Mystery Riddled with Deceit Sarah Lind Jesse Metcalfe

(Hugh Tull/Crown Media)

He’s learning how to work with people to a greater degree on the Vineyard and working with the chief and Zee as the acting medical examiner, and the pressure is really off of him to save the day and solve the case solely. He can depend on the people around him. They say everything happens for a reason, and in Jeff’s case, he’s learned how to work within a team and depend on the people around him.

What are you enjoying most about playing Jeff and learning about the character with each of these movies?

I just love that he is an incredibly layered character with a somewhat dark past, and he generally deflects any deep question or hides from his emotions with his humor and his irreverence, so there’s a lot of opportunities to make a lot of interesting choices with this character because he’s somewhat of a flawed hero in his story.

Will we ever see a musical side to Jeff?

I don’t think Jeff is the musical type. Maybe he sings in the shower, but he’s probably tone deaf.

Riddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Movie Premiere, Sunday, February 23, 9/8c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

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