Midway through Episode 6 of The Diplomat, Keri Russell‘s titular emissary Kate Wyler takes a nasty spill down a stairwell as David Gyasi’s Austin Dennison understandably looks on in horror. Viewers of the Netflix drama were no doubt similarly distressed considering the sequence was shot without any well-timed cutaways — and with Russell in full view the entire time (see for yourself above).
Series creator/EP/showrunner Debora Cahn tells TVLine that Russell “wanted to do the stunt” herself, adding, “We had a really great stunt coordinator there and they taught her how to do the move, and she did it beautifully. And I’m delighted and relieved to say she didn’t hurt herself.”
But while Cahn concedes that the tumble appears “horrifying” on screen, she notes, “It’s one of those stunt tricks where it looks really dangerous, but was controllable.
“Also, Keri is a dancer,” Cahn adds, “She knows how to handle physical stuff. But we were definitely prepared to cut away. And we were prepared to use a stunt double. There was a stunt double in a very convincing wig standing by [just in case].”
This wasn’t the first time Russell’s stand-in took a knee. A hilariously frenzied (yet nonetheless violent) outdoor brawl between her and Diplomat hubby Rufus Sewell in Episode 3 was performed entirely by the actors themselves.
“They were game,” Cahn marvels of her leads. “Our stunt choreographer gave them a lot of tips on how to make sure they weren’t hurting each other. And they just went for it.”
This story originally appeared on TVLine