Franklin & Bash Bring in the Closer
by Jay S. Jacobs
It seems like whenever a TV series wants to shift things into overdrive, they call on Heather Locklear. Locklear has become the television equivalent of a shut-it-down relief pitcher, joining a game that is already in progress and ensuring the home team hold on to the lead.
The lovely Miss Locklear has been a staple on our television screens since the early 1980s. She had been a teen working her way through UCLA when she took a guest starring role on the popular show CHiPs. This guest shot brought her to the attention of TV super-producer Aaron Spelling, who championed her career for the next two decades. By 1982, Locklear had the very unique situation of being a star on two concurrent popular series: playing spoiled heiress Sammy Jo Carrington in the classic nighttime soap Dynasty from 1981-1989 as well as perky young cop Stacy Sheridan on TJ Hooker from 1982-1986.
This alone would be enough to make Locklear a TV star, but for her it was just the beginning. In the early 90s, Locklear was signed on to a four-episode arc on a recently debuted series called Melrose Place, which was having trouble finding its footing. Locklear came in and took the apartment complex and series by storm – her character of Amanda Wentworth became a 1990s icon.
When Melrose went off the air in 1999, Locklear shook things up, taking a break from her dramatic roots and joining Michael J. Fox’s popular sitcom Spin City right after Fox announced his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Locklear played off of Fox for his final season with the show, and then helped the show convert to new lead Charlie Sheen for two more seasons. Since the show went off the air in 2002, Locklear has been brought in for recurring roles in such established series as Scrubs, Boston Legal, Rules of Engagement, LAX, Hot in Cleveland and the attempted reboot of Melrose Place.
Her latest gig is shaking up TNT’s lawyer dramedy Franklin & Bash. She plays Rachel King, a smart, savvy lawyer brought into the firm Infield and Daniels by the firm’s head (Malcolm McDowell) to run things, meaning she occasionally has to babysit the firm’s loose cannon litigators Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar).
A couple of weeks before her debut in the third season premiere of the series, Locklear was nice enough to talk with us and a few other media outlets about her show and her career.
When you first joined the cast, was there instant chemistry between you and Mark and Breckin or did it take a bit of time for you all to gel?
You know what? I think anyone have instant chemistry with those two boys. So that was pretty much right away. They were joking and laughing right away.
What was it about the role that interested you in being a part of this show? It’s sort of a comedy mixed with a drama.
Right. First, because of that. That’s different. Also because I never played a lawyer before. And when shows are on a couple seasons already, it’s always nice to go in on that when they are well-oiled machines.
I was curious what brings you back to being a series regular after being away for a couple years?
Well the very fact that the show does because it’s really good and funny. I’ve always loved being on TV. I loved being in a series. I love having a regular place to go to all the time. So it’s never been surprising that I’d want to be back on a series.
Is Rachel going to pull any Amanda shenanigans on the show?
Well, I think she does towards the end. You think she is. But she’s really not pulling shenanigans. She does have a few sexcapades.
What do you like about the character?
I like that she’s strong. She’s well educated and knows world leaders and knows her stuff. Business.
Malcolm McDowell is such an amazing actor. His character’s obviously going through a bit of a personal crisis in the first couple of episodes that I saw for the new season.
You think? (laughs)
Yes. Do you see Rachel and Stanton having a power struggle over the firm down the line? And what is he like to work with?
You know, I do see that down the line. I mean, yes, I do see that a little bit, because he hands over the reins to her to get everyone in shape. And then I step on toes a bit. But it’s so fun working with Malcolm. He’s so twinkly and sparkly and such fun. Have you met him?
I’ve spoken with him. I interviewed him before.
Oh. Isn’t he great?
Yes. He is a really wonderful guy.
Yes. That’s what I think.
Now was it fun to do the Piers Morgan scene with the guys? It was sort of an interesting way they’ll introduce your character.
Isn’t that good? The ending when I win the bet? The best I’ve ever bet it on. I loved that. I was there in person live and saw everything.
It feels like your character is sort of setting up Reed Diamond’s character almost to have someone on her side – maybe a lackey or maybe more. How do you see that relationship proceeding?
It goes back and forth. Sometimes doing it for the good of him and also, he’s Stanton’s nephew. But also, she doesn’t always respect everything he does, in her thought process.
You’re like the actor version of the star relief pitcher in baseball. You have this history of coming into the TV show that’s been going for a year or two or three and then making your presence known very forcefully. How did this sort of become your thing or is it just an accident?
I think it’s great but it’s so much pressure. It’s nice. It’s a compliment. But [only] if somebody thinks that it’s a compliment. But really, I think I’m just bringing something to the show and some press to the show helps everyone become aware of it, because it’s a good show on its own. With or without me it’s really good, funny and fun. So maybe they just think there would be more press coverage.
How much do you like playing a lawyer? And also, if we were to drive you over to a real courthouse and drop you off, how long do you suppose you could fake it before being found out as a fraud?
I could probably fake it for the beginning. The opening. I can open. Then when somebody’s saying something that I don’t understand on the other side, the defense side or something, I’d cave real quick. It’s really hard. Some of the legalese is hard. Like trying to figure out what it all is and what it all means before I say it.
It’s sometimes like a foreign language, right?
Can you talk about how Stanton brings her in so easily? Why do you think that is? Also can you talk about how Rachel seems to want to make her mark very quickly?
I think she’s known in the circles of the lawyers enough. She’s well known, and I think that’s why he brings her in. She’s looking to raise the bar. She wants to be a part of this team and Stanton she really appreciates. But she’s only going there if she gets the full reign to run the show. So it’s a good fit.
In the premiere she breaks up Franklin and Bash’s office. Can you talk about how she’s kind of making her mark in that way?
Kind of bratty but you do have to. They’re kind of bratty. So you do have to separate them. I think she wants to yield her power over them and show them what she can do. She means business.
Kind of a follow up to an earlier question. Because of your popularity especially on television series, you must get many offers. What was it about this show that made you say yeah, this is the show that I want to do?
Let me tell you something. I don’t get many offers. I get all offers. I don’t get many. I’m not going to tell what I get. I get a few, maybe. But just because it’s like… I loved Boston Legal. I loved Ally McBeal. It’s similar to that. It’s a fun show. And it was different than what I’ve done. Is it dramedy? More of a comedy.
I’m getting an interesting vibe from the character. Is she who she seems to be, or does she have a hidden agenda that we aren’t yet aware of?
I think she’s pretty straightforward. She’s pretty straightforward. There are some things that might look like a hidden agenda later on. At the very end it might seem like she’s got something up her sleeve. But really, she’s straightforward.
In the first two episodes we see her being this really tough boss. But are we actually going to get to see her in action and she’s going to go in and try cases…?
Is she going to be as brilliant as Franklin & Bash?
I don’t think so. Me, Heather, doesn’t think so. But she thinks so. (laughs) Because I think they’re brilliant. I think they’re great. She does it by the books and they don’t.
The Piers Morgan scene, what was it like doing that scene? That was just kind of wacky opening to introduce yourself to the show.
Yes. Oh, what was it like? It was really fun. We didn’t do the Piers Morgan part until, you know, maybe halfway through the season. But it was really, really fun. I didn’t know how it was going to end up. I mean I did know. I read how it was going to end up that scene, but I didn’t know if the guys were really going to go all the way on the show.
How all the way were they?
Okay. I saw the back. And it covered. Yes, I think it was kind of covered them. But I didn’t see the front. It was really fun. They have very nice asses.
And they were probably very cold I must say.
I’m telling you; I didn’t see the front. I don’t know.
So Piers played along pretty well with this? He’s a serious journalist, isn’t he?
Yes. He was good. He was good. We asked him questions about his show and about the people who are on it. He was really being nice. I told him that I wanted to bet him, too. Yeah. But he wouldn’t go for it.
Are you looking forward to Michael J. Fox’s series this fall too?
So excited. So happy for him. Aren’t you happy for him?
I think everybody is, aren’t they? But we’re all going to give him a shot.
I think the world is happy. They just want to see him, and they want to see him doing well. I saw him at one of the press things. It was great.
You said that you wanted to play a lawyer. What is left on your bucket list to play?
Oh my goodness. Serious lawyer. I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe a…
It’ll probably be the next role you have.
Right. Then I’ll say that and then you’ll ask the same question. I’ll go I haven’t thought of it.
What can we expect from your character in this upcoming season that we haven’t seen in the first two episodes?
Oh. I think more of the same. You’ll see her not having such power over the guys. They start figuring out ways to get around her and not follow her every order. So she loses a little bit of power. I think she’s entertained by them. She’s proud of their wins. She admires that. But they need to follow the rules and go by the book. For the reputation of the firm, what she’s all about.
Is it as much fun working with them off set? Are they the same off camera as they are on camera?
They are the same. They might be worse. Or better. Whichever way you want to look at it. No, they’re awesome. But they’re together. I’ve never had a scene with just one of them. They’re always together, like a couple. Like can we talk for a moment? No. Have to have both of us. Funny.
Could you have imagined when you got started that you’d be still doing a TV show like 25 years later?
No. Crazy. It’s crazy. I’m really fortunate and lucky in that. There’s some talent there, but I think there’s just being fortunate. Like had things come to you in life.
When you look back at it, is it a career? I mean are there things that you were just well I was offered this, and I like this and that’s what I did?
I just went I like this. I like this. This is good. I don’t like this, but I need to do that. Yes. I think I just liked what I liked and that’s all there is to it.
Are there things that stand out that, that if you were going to name things that were your favorites?
Like the shows?
Oh, I loved Melrose Place. I loved Spin City. Both of them with Michael [J. Fox] and Charlie [Sheen]. And I loved doing Saturday Night Live. That was fun.
You were just mentioning how cool it is that Franklin and Bash mixes the comedy with the drama. Over the years you’ve done lots of both. Obviously Spin City for comedy and things like Melrose Place for the drama. Do you prefer one or find one easier or harder than the other?
I like going to work when it’s comedy because that means light and fun. But the drama is easier for me. Maybe something I guess about the writing part. The dramedy is kind of hard though – to know when you’re serious and when you’re not. How to play it. I mean always it’s always serious. Then it comes off funny. That’s a little bit harder.
You’ve played so many iconic roles over the years. Is there any role that you feel is the most like you as a person and one that you find that was like the biggest stretch for you as an actress?
The biggest stretch would be on Melrose: Amanda Woodward. The one most similar to me would probably be Caitlin of Spin City.
I was hearing that Jane Seymour is going to be on the show and without giving away any spoilers, I heard that somehow you end up kissing her. What was she like working with and how does that come about?
She’s great. I don’t know how it came about. But I know that one of the executive producers was like “How do you feel about kissing a woman?” I’m like I’ve done it before. On screen, not in real life. Then she said, “How do you feel about kissing Jane Seymour? I go I haven’t done it before. Be nice to try. (laughs) So we had a couple of scenes together and one where she was the aggressor. Yes, she was.
Can you talk about your favorite moments or something that you think fans must see?
One of them is in the last episode. I think the last episode, but I don’t tend to give anything away there. I loved doing the one with Piers Morgan and the guys. It was just really fun and funny and nice to be not on our set but on Piers Morgan’s set. And how it ends, you know, and that was really hilarious.
Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 18, 2013.
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