There are plenty of crime dramas on TV (you’ve appeared in some of them), so what attracted you to Women’s Murder Club?
The thing I love most about this show is that it’s not just procedural. [America has] pretty much perfected the whole [police] procedural show. This one is character-driven as well; we see the back-story of each of these characters, especially with Lindsay, whose ex-husband becomes her boss. You get to see how all the characters relate to each other, how they’re friends, how they go out and have cocktails. There might be an insult about someone’s shoes while standing over a corpse… it’s how girlfriends really are. That’s what I love about it. In my previous role on Law & Order it was a tad frustrating for me just standing there reciting, ‘This is what happened at the crime scene, this is how we’re going to get ’em.’ There are so many muscles that you don’t get to exercise as an actor and that’s what I loved about this show. It’s like yes, we’re smart, especially Lindsay: finding her way around the crime scene, where she’s most comfortable, and the fact that she’s so uncomfortable with her personal life – it’s just so much fun to play.
Is there a different vibe on set now you’re on a mainly female show, compared with the boys’ club on Law & Order?
No, they’re pretty much the same. I’m quite lucky, because I get to work with everyone. I do my stuff with the girls, then I have stuff with Tyrees [Allen] – he plays my partner – and then I have stuff with Rob Estes [who plays Lindsay’s boss and ex-lover] and stuff with the guest stars. So it’s not different and they’re both really great sets. If we’re all going to spend 80 hours a week together, we’re all going to be a family, we’re all going to have a good time, and that’s how I like it.
Your breakout role was in crime/sci-fi spinoff Baywatch Nights. Is it true that David Hasselhoff offered you the role personally?
Pretty much. He just saw me and came up and said it. I had never actually acted before in my life and obviously, I knew about the whole Baywatch thing and I was like, ‘Thank you very much,’ but I didn’t want my first acting role to be prancing around in a bathing suit. But I went in for the audition anyway and I will always be eternally grateful to David; he showed me how to walk around and say my lines and not bump into furniture. He’s a wonderful, wonderful man.
I don’t know many other people that would give a girl with absolutely no acting experience a chance like that. Was it hard to go from Baywatch Nights to Law & Order?
Learning all the legal jargon and all of that was difficult. You know, it wasn’t like I had been in law school for the past 10 years of my life and then landed Law & Order.
Your husband proposed to you on The Jay Leno Show. That must have been a surprise.
Yeah! Absolutely. It was literally one of the greatest moments outside of our marriage and birth of our two girls. I am a killer for surprises, I love them. My husband’s a smart man; he wouldn’t ask a question that he didn’t pretty much know the answer to, but I could’ve totally freaked out and gone, ‘Uhhhh,’ and ran off stage or whatever. But no – who gets proposed to with Elton John sitting to their right and says no? It was so great. I think every little girl dreams about what that moment is going to be like when her true love asks her to marry him. Before my husband came out, when Jay asked about my relationship, I asked him through gritted teeth what he was doing. I’d told Jay before the show started that I didn’t want to comment on my personal life, and then that was suddenly the second question. I literally was like, ‘I am going to kill Jay Leno on national television,’ and that was not good. And then Jason comes waltzing out, and that was the first time I had ever seen him nervous.
Women’s Murder Club debuts on MBC at noon on December 30.