KADIA SARAF: Interview
Kadia Saraf is a NY-based actor, writer and filmmaker originally from Israel and Switzerland. Her work includes the recurring role of US Attorney Anya Avital on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2021–2023), a recent crossover episode on Law & Order: Organized Crime (2023), Blue Bloods, FBI: International (2022), The Good Fight (2020), Counterpart (2018), The Blacklist (2017), Madam Secretary (2017), Blindspot (2015) and Rescue Me (2006).
We linked up with Kadia to discuss her career and the continuously evolving TV and film industry.
Congratulations on your recent success! Tell us about the crossover season finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime.
The season finale of both shows was merged into a two-hour long movie-like episode. It centers around an online platform that is used to cause harm in the world. I won’t share too much in order to not spoil the plot. I think it’s so relevant and important. One of the lines that the writer wrote was “You can’t really know someone until they’re anonymous”. That line stayed with me for days. It really. Made me think, you know? People become their true self when they’re anonymous because there are no consequences. They can say whatever they want. I’m really pleased that his was addressed on the show.
How was it working with both Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni?
Are you kidding? It was a true delight! I had front-row seats to a masterclass! They work so organically with each other and were incredibly generous to the other actors. They are true collaborators. It was one of my best set experiences.
You’re a member of both WGA-E and SAG-AFTRA. Which jobs got you into these unions?
I’ve joined SAG-AFTRA in 2013 and I believe it was my own spec pilot project that got me in. Been a proud member ever since. I joined the Writer’s Guild recently through a “Story By” credit. I’ve been studying ASL for the past two years and have been advocating for the Deaf community and their stories. My husband, Terry Serpico, and myself helped conceptualize a Deaf survivor story which was incorporated into the episode called “Jumped In” (Season 24, Episode 10). And through that we both got into the guild.
You were thrust straight into the strike!
Yes! And I have to say it’s been a trip! I don’t think I would’ve been able to comprehend the strength of the WGA and its members if not for the strike. We’ve been on the picket lines, meeting other writers, and many members of other unions. The solidarity has been truly inspiring and makes me even prouder to belong to this union.
What key issues led to the strike?
There are several issues. The core issues are fair pay and renegotiating streaming residuals, but what I find extremely urgent is the AI regulations. We are facing the existential threat of our profession. AI is progressing fast and furiously, no pun intended, and is a threat to many professions in particular the writing profession. We know AI is not going away, but we want protections and regulations because the survival of the writing profession is at stake. Let’s be honest. Even with all of the advancements of technology, AI will never have “soul”. And soul is the core ingredient of great storytelling.
How is it different this time around from past strikes?
The stakes are higher this time around and the solidarity in the union and with other unions! This is truly historic!
I hope that a successful deal will be negotiated soon so everyone can go back to work.
Thank you! That makes both of us! We’d all rather be at work writing and filming. But for now, we’re in a fight.
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