‘The Expanse’ Star Cara Gee Dishes On Working With Olunike Adeliyi, AKA Karal

Season 5 of The Expanse has seen core characters going through major emotional upheaval and character development. It’s also seen the introduction of some intimidating new side-characters, including Olunike Adeliyi’s Karal. Camina Drummer and Karal have been butting heads ever since Karal joined the Dewalt crew, leading to rising tensions. While they may be foes on-screen, Cara Gee is actually already familiar with Adeliyi and her acting talent. 

Karal and Camina Drummer clash

Olunike Adeliyi plays Karal on The Expanse
Olunike Adeliyi plays Karal on The Expanse | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

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[Warning: Spoilers for Season 5 of The Expanse ahead.] Karal (Olunike Adeliyi) is a close associate and friend of Marco Inaros, and used to be very close with Naomi Nagata as well. She works with Inaros to further the political aims of The Belters. 

To that end, she transferred to the crew of the Dewalt when Camina Drummer (Cara Gee) and her faction joined the Free Navy. Inaros demands that each faction exchange crew members within the Free Navy, to maintain unity. 

Karal is wholly radical, and adheres strictly to Inaros’ plans. Meanwhile, Camina Drummer is joining Inaros merely because it’s the only safe option for her crew and family aboard the Dewalt. The two butted heads immediately, as Karal makes no bones about her position of authority due to her connection with Inaros. 

Later, Camina Drummer struggles to maintain her temper when Karal tells her that Naomi Nagata is dead at the Free Navy’s hands. She later discovers Nagata is possibly still alive, and tensions skyrocket as her desire to turn on Karal and Inaros becomes palpable. 

It’s beginning to feel as if Oksana, Drummer’s lover and voice of reason, isn’t going to maintain the balance between Drummer and Karal for much longer. 

Cara Gee already knew Olunike Adeliyi before ‘The Expanse’ 

Cara Gee as Camina Drummer on The Expanse
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer on The Expanse | Rafy/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Olunike Adeliyi has done an exquisite job manifesting the tension between Camina Drummer and Karal. Her tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language all set the scene perfectly. The sign of a good antagonistic performance is when the viewer really comes to feel frustrated by or despite the character, and viewers are certainly feeling that when it comes to Karal. 

However, Karal’s motivations are also understandable, and it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the Belters and their cause, which makes her a somewhat challenging antagonist despite her factions’ deadly actions. 

Cara Gee herself is enjoying the tension, and lauds Adeliyi as a talented performer. In fact, she was already familiar with Adeliyi before The Expanse

“Actually, I’ve known [Olunike Adeliyi], who is the actor who plays that role, for a while. It’s funny because Toronto is a small acting community and, for people of color, it’s a very small world,” she explained to Screen Rant.  

“Anytime there’s a role that could be any ethnicity, we all know each other from audition rooms. So, I’m so thrilled at the chance to work with her, because she is extremely talented.”

“I think that the gravitas that she brings to that role is incredible. She’s giving Drummer a run for her money. To be able to have that kind of an actor to play with and push back against so fiercely makes for really great storytelling,” she added.