'We Didn't Expect Things To Unfold': FBI: International's Vinessa Vidotto Talks Vo's New Role After Cast Departures And Intense New Episode

 Vinessa Vidotto as Vo in FBI: International Season 3x05.
Vinessa Vidotto as Vo in FBI: International Season 3x05.

FBI: International is only five episodes into Season 3 on CBS at this point, and has already seen two agents leave the Fly Team and one newcomer find her place in Budapest. Those changes have particularly affected Cameron Vo, whose plans to rise the ranks in the FBI were accelerated by Forrester losing his second-in-command when Kellett departed. Now, ahead of the intense sixth episode on March 26 that will address sexual abuse, actress Vinessa Vidotto opened up to CinemaBlend about her surprise in stepping up and what to expect next for Vo in the 2024 TV schedule.

Despite the cast not knowing at the end of Season 2 how the explosive cliffhanger would pay off, Vo survived mostly unscathed to step up as a leader in the Fly Team. Her situation was all the more complicated by Powell – who became the second member to leave the Fly Team in Season 3 – and Raines’ near-death experience. When I spoke with Vinessa Vidotto, she weighed in about her experiences with Vo stepping up after Kellett left:

I love this question, because I have been experiencing it myself! [laughs] It has been very challenging, in a good way. Obviously, we didn't expect things to unfold the way it did, and in my eyes, I was thinking, 'Okay, Vo is still the new one to the team. So she's still trying to prove herself. Obviously, she wants to be the Director of the FBI, so that's what she's striving for.' But I didn't think it would be into Season 3 and then she's stepping up into a higher position. It was a lot to take on quickly. It wasn't an easy transition. And I was trying to tell myself, like, 'Okay, just imagine you're auditioning for a different character, and this character is already in this position. Just play it like that.'

Seemingly, Heida Reed’s departure wasn’t expected ahead of Season 3, and Vo stepping up was a reaction to the sudden absence of a secondary leader to support Forrester. News broke that Reed was leaving back in December 2023, months before International debuted Season 3. At the time, it was cause for concern that perhaps Kellett wouldn’t survive the explosion; luckily, that wasn’t the case, and Vinessa Vidotto tackled the challenges of taking on “a lot” quickly. The actress continued:

But it's easier said than done, because I've been Vo for two years and it's just weird to jump to another level so quickly. So the transition was hard. I mean, I saw it in one of the episodes, so I think as I've gone on, I've adjusted and I've tried to step into the big shoes and be more assertive and call the shots. And I know we're talking about [Episode] 306, but we just finished 308, and I really think I came through with that. It's been a wonderful challenge.

Viewers will see Episode 6 of Season 3, called “Fire Starter,” on March 26 in International’s usual 9 p.m. ET time slot on CBS, but the actress had finished filming through Episode 8 when we spoke. So, fans clearly have a lot to look forward to with Vo even beyond the case that will shine a spotlight on her.

Vinessa Vidotto as Vo in FBI: International Season 3x06
Vinessa Vidotto as Vo in FBI: International Season 3x06

In “Fire Starter,” the Fly Team travels to Prague when an American college student is arrested by local police after showing aggression while making sexual abuse claims in a hostel. Vo’s history in working in sexual assault advocacy from her army days pre-FBI will come in handy in connecting with the victim. It’s a sensitive subject that International doesn’t address often, and Vidotto previewed how she approached it for the episode:

It was challenging, but I think one thing I've done really well transitioning into is bringing heart to Vo, and I think in the beginning Vo is like a smart aleck, tough girl trying to climb up the ranks, but I think as the show has gone on, I think she has a very tender side and she's really good with all the victims. Yes, it's tough, but it almost came second nature to me. I think I just have the instincts to kind of navigate this sort of topic.

It’s no surprise that Vo has gone through some changes over the years after everything that the Fly Team has endured, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy for the actress. Vidotto had some personal experience with helping people in need that particularly helped her when it came to “ Fire Starter,” however, as she explained:

I kind of pulled back to my college days. I was a resident assistant, I was a desk assistant, a night assistant, a coordinating manager, and I had to deal with some pretty tough cases. One was like an alcohol poisoning that was next door to me, so I had to be hands-on with that live as I'm calling 911. I've had to talk someone down from suicide. Even though sexual assault and alcohol poisoning and suicide are all very different topics, I think the baseline is providing guidance. Making sure that you give confidence to them, you give space to them to talk. There's trust there. I'm not specialized in it, I'm not skilled in it, but with the training that I knew from college and just having the heart of understanding where people are coming from, I think that's all you really need.

While the series in the nine-show Dick Wolf TV universe that deals with sexually-based offenses on a regular basis will always be Law & Order: SVU over on NBC, FBI: International tackles a difficult subject in the next episode, with Vinessa Vidotta facing the various challenges head-on. For another taste of what to expect, check out the “Fire Starter” promo below:

Tune in to CBS on Tuesday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET for the “Fire Starter” episode of FBI: International, between FBI at 8 p.m. ET and FBI: Most Wanted at 10 p.m. ET, all on CBS. You can also revisit earlier episodes of Vo’s journey in Season 3 of International streaming via Paramount+ subscription and the first two seasons streaming via Peacock Premium subscription.