Karina Ortiz loves Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but still hasn’t forgiven Negan (Exclusive)

Karina Ortiz and Jonathan Higginbotham (Pictures from the AMC Facebook page)
Karina Ortiz and Jonathan Higginbotham (Pictures from the AMC Facebook page)

An uneasy alliance between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) lies at the core of The Walking Dead: Dead City.

Uniting to find Maggie’s son, who has been kidnapped by The Croat, a former associate of Negan’s, the two are forced to battle dead and living alike in post-apocalyptic Manhattan. One of the locals that they chance upon is Amaia, a resident of the zombie-ravaged city.

Amaia's journey came to a rather unfortunate end in the fifth episode of the first season of Dead City. We spoke to actress Karina Ortiz, who discussed her fandom for the universe and her character’s passing on the show.

A die-hard fan of the series, she was thrilled to work with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. At the same time, she can never forgive Negan for killing fan-favorite character Glenn (Steven Yeun), bludgeoning his head with a baseball bat named Lucille in season 7 of the show.

Karina Ortiz understands why Negan killed Glenn, but she still hasn’t gotten over it

The actor spoke about Amaia’s passing in an exclusive interview with SK POP:

"Of course, after getting to know her, and creating her, it was a sad goodbye for me. But also I trust Eli…it’s for the bigger story. It’s kind of part of the world. It comes with the territory. So, I’ll always have a special place for her in my heart. But yeah, it’s Eli’s vision and I think he wanted people to connect in a certain way."

Of course, The Walking Dead universe is no stranger to their favorite characters meeting untimely ends. Ortiz continued:

"I mean I watched The Walking Dead and I was always like (screams) when certain characters pass. It’s like NOOOOO. But it’s for the story and it serves its purpose."

Like many other fans at the time, she stopped watching the show when Negan murdered Glenn.

Ortiz also realized the significance of joining a show helmed by the leader of The Saviors and Glenn's widow Maggie Rhee:

"It was such an honor. I mean their storyline is so iconic. I had stopped watching the show after Glenn’s passing. I had to stop watching for a while. I was like I hate this guy. Why would they take away Glenn? (Laughs)."

Of course, the man who plays Negan is very different from the character he portrays. Ortiz had a blast working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan:

"Oh Jeffrey was awesome to work with. He’s super friendly, super generous, he’s funny in the same way you see his character. You’re like oh that’s why he has this role. He’s a great guy. He’s awesome to work with. Just a pleasure. I really enjoyed working with him. He’s great. Same with Lauren. I love them. They’re great."

So, can she ever forgive Negan for killing Glenn?

"(Laughs) I’ll never forgive Negan for killing Glenn. But I understand why he did it. It wasn’t the right thing to do. But I get why he did it."

Catch the season finale of The Walking Dead: Dead City on AMC and AMC+. Please note that this interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal