Emily Coutts character, Keyla Detmer, is recognizable to Trek fans due to her haircut and the eyepiece she gained after Star Trek: Discovery‘s Battle of the Binary Stars. The actress spoke to StarTrek.com about joining Discovery and about Detmer and that unique eyepiece.
Coutts wasn’t a Star Trek fan before being cast in Discovery. “I knew people were very into it, that it was a show about imagination and about a world that I really didn’t know much about, but that was really exciting for a lot of people and really important for a lot of people,” she said. “But I hadn’t seen much of it. My family didn’t watch it. So, when I got the call I had to brush up and learn everything, and the more I learned, the more I realized how much of a magical world this is. We get to create a reality that is full of hope and full of what the future hopefully is going to look like.
“I started with The Original Series. My boyfriend gave me a ‘best-of’ list, and he enjoyed showing me, because he was a big fan. And then I went to TNG and really enjoyed that one and watched a lot of episodes. So now I’m still going through the shows. I’m just starting Voyager and watching the films.”
Coutts auditioned for a role on the show, but after a few months had gone by and she had heard nothing, she figured that she was out-of-luck until she got the call while abroad. “I auditioned once in the room with a Toronto casting director, and that was in October, and I didn’t hear anything until January,” she explained. “So, I had assumed, like every actor does, that I didn’t get the part. And then I got a call when I was traveling overseas in Morocco. I had very limited reception, and I was on a rooftop with some friends, and I just saw this Star Trek email come through from my agent. I was like, ‘No way.’ It just made the trip.”
Coutts has her own ideas on Detmer’s history and character. “I did come up with a backstory,” she said. “I’m also waiting for that collaborative process of revealing the character and the backstory. I’m excited to hear about what the writers are thinking for her.
“She’s extremely dedicated to her job. She’s a bit awkward and nervous. Because she came from the Shenzhou, she was used to one atmosphere, and then she gets thrown in with Lorca, the Discovery, and things are very different. His energy is very different. So, I think she’s just trying to maintain her calm, be professional, and grow her knowledge and rank with the people around her.”
Coutts spoke about the unique eyepiece, saying that “it’s fixing an injury from the Battle of the Binary Stars,” and “hopefully we will find out more about the piece soon.”
What can fans expect in the second season? “It’s going well,” she said. “Very well. I love the scripts. Every time we read a script, we’re all just sitting in the room after, tears or laughter, everything in between. It’s going to be a great season.”