Actress Virginia Williams discusses her character Lauren Reed in Season 2 of Fairly Legal, debuting Friday, March 16 at 9 PM ET on the USA Network
Last month, I was fortunate enough to visit the Vancouver set of Fairly Legal, the USA Network series which debuts Season 2 starting Friday, March 16th at 9:00 PM with Episode 2.01: Satisfaction. While on set, I got to meet the stunning Virginia Williams, who plays Lauren Reed, the stepmother to Sarah Shahi's Kate Reed. I was supposed to speak with the actress one-on-one on the set, but, alas, the scheduling didn't quite work out. Thankfully, I got to speak with Virginia Williams over the phone, shortly after my set visit, and she expanded on several aspects of Season 2 we learned about in Vancouver. Take a look at what Virginia Williams had to say below, including our mutual obsession with the AMC series Breaking Bad.
The end of this Season 2 premiere creates a unique living environment for you. Does that play out throughout the whole season?
Virginia Williams: Yes. Kate then comes to live with Lauren, which creates a really fun dynamic between these two women, being roomies. As of now, I've shot everything through Episode 11, although they still have some scenes left to shoot for 10 and 11, so the only ones we haven't read and have not been released yet are 12 and 13. Up until Episode 11, Kate and Lauren are still living together. My instinct is that, by the very end of the season, Kate will finally get her own place (Laughs).
Are there any at-home interactions between Kate and Lauren that you can tease?
Virginia Williams: There's not a ton, it's more just how their dynamic shifts slightly. What's great about them having more interaction with each other, is you really get to see them come together on a lot more cases. They're always going to see the world very differently. I think what's great about both of these characters is that, in general, both of them are right, and both of them are wrong. It's just how you look at the situation. I tend to head all of the B story lines, and Sarah heads all of the A story lines, so we don't get to see Lauren's side of the coin as much, or as fully, unfortunately. They just see things differently, but, at times, we get to see them together, and we actually get to see Lauren let her hair down. One day, I come back from a jog, and we get to see more of this woman. We've seen, in Season 1, that Kate has a life, outside of the office, but we get to see this season that Lauren is a full person and has a life outside of the office as well. That's really fun for me.
You mentioned briefly on the set that Gerald McRaney is back as Nicastro. I was wondering if we get to see other Season 1 recurring characters like Ethan Embry (Kate's brother, Spencer) or Richard Dean Anderson (they mysterious David Smith). Will they be back this season as well?
Virginia Williams: No, neither of them are. I loved working with both of them. I absolutely love Richard Dean Anderson, and Ethan is a friend as well, and he's fantastic. But, the story lines didn't support either of their characters coming back this season, unfortunately.
Since the season is almost wrapped up, are there any favorite guest stars that you've had on this season?
Virginia Williams: Absolutely. I work quite a bit with Mark Margolis. He's fantastic, and I am a die hard Breaking Bad fan. A die hard Breaking Bad fan. I just watched all four seasons within the last two weeks (Laughs). I have one episode left of Season 4...
Oh man! You haven't seen the finale yet?
Virginia Williams: Don't ruin it for me! I'm watching it tonight (Laughs). I'm dying, I'm so excited. Is it amazing?
Virginia Williams: Oh my God! I'm so stoked! Well, I have to say, we had a week off from production this past week. I'm not shooting today, so I'm in Los Angeles. I fly back later in the week. We had all last week completely off, and I am over cold weather in Vancouver, so I flew to Mexico. I got in at 1 in the morning last night from Mexico, but my hubby and I were up the night before last until 4 o'clock in the morning, watching Breaking Bad on Netflix in our hotel room, because we are so completely hooked. We did not even see the sun on our last day there, because we were up all night long watching it. Then, finally when there was one episode left, he said, 'Babe, we've got to go to bed. Monday night, it will be our big thing to look forward to. We'll hang out at home and watch the final episode.' So, I'm beyond excited. Anyway, Mark Margolis is on Breaking Bad and he's fantastic, and also Betsy Brandt came on and guest starred this season. Of course, Dean Norris guest starred last season, so, really, we just need a couple more characters and we will have covered Breaking Bad (Laughs). If we can get Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn to come on over, we'll be all set, and Aaron Paul, of course. I love Aaron Paul. So yeah, we also have Mark Moses who came on. He was really great to work with. Those would be my favorites.
It seemed to me, right away, they were setting up a possible romance between Ben and Kate. I was curious, since we see more of Lauren's personal life, if there is any romantic possibilities that come up for her?
Virginia Williams: Yeah. As early as Episode 3, we get to see Lauren going on a date, which is very exciting. There is a fantastic episode with (Gerald McRaney's) Nicastro, where he basically tells her that Teddy would want Lauren to move on. Lauren is very scared, understandably. I was very concerned, as an actress, in Season 1, trying to express to the audience that Lauren was not a trophy wife, and she really did love this man. She may look a bit like an Anna Nicole Smith, or whatever, but she really did love and respect Teddy very much. Reputation is something that's very important for Lauren. Not only is she trying to uphold the reputation of the firm, but she is also very concerned about what people would say or think, if she were to start dating. Nicastro and Lauren have some great interactions, and he basically tells her that she's young, she's feisty, she has her whole life ahead of her, and that he would love for her to move on. She kind of gets the go-ahead, and starts dating. We see her go on a date in Episode 3, and, I'm told that I should have a cliffhanger love interest by the end of the season.
Nice. Ben is brought on because the firm is in financial trouble. When he comes on, do those problems go away, right away, or is that a recurring theme as well, that the firm is still in trouble?
Virginia Williams: The firm is going to be in some financial strain for awhile. We get to see, by about mid-season, maybe two-thirds of the way through the season, that Lauren has really turned the firm around. In fact, there's even dialogue to support that the firm is in even better shape than it was before, which is great because we get to see how smart as a tack this woman is, how great she is at her job. Even though so many clients jumped ship, right after Teddy died, she very wisely brings someone in that can at least pull the company out of the hole so the employees can get paid, and all that. The firm ends up being very successful with the three managing partners, Lauren, Kate, and Ben. They're all really fantastic at their jobs. They all go about their jobs in really unique ways, but they're all really great at what they do.
That's one of the great things that was set up in the premiere, I thought. Ben doesn't really care about what the right thing to do is, only that they're getting paid. Kate has her moral high ground, and you have your way. Do we get to see, by the end of the season, is there a cohesive structure where these three ideals kind of form into one?
Virginia Williams: I don't know if they form into one, but they all work together. We get to see episodes where Kate and Lauren are working together on a case. We see episodes where Lauren and Ben work together on a case. We see Kate and Ben work together on a case. All of them do work with each other, for the greater good, for the firm. The fun is the difference in personalities, and how messy it gets with how differently they approach dealing with these situations.
On the set, you also briefly mentioned an Irish movie you're doing, where you actually did a few songs for the soundtrack as well. Do you ever get to put your singing voice on display this season? Are there any after-work karaoke sessions?
Virginia Williams: Oh my gosh. Your mouth to God's ears, I wish. I've been pitching that since Season 1, and I think, should we go multiple seasons, there should be a great Lauren-lets-loose karaoke night in our future. That's my big hope, but, unfortunately, in Season 2, I'm not able to belt anything out yet on camera. Just wait. I'm digging my heels in on that one (Laughs).
Just subtly leave some CD's on their desk, little hints like that.
Virginia Williams: Totally! That's a great idea. Hey, Kate and Lauren are living together. Maybe Kate can walk in on Lauren singing in the shower.
Do you have any plans for your hiatus? Do you have any movies you're circling, or any other projects you can talk about?
Virginia Williams: My last hiatus was, thankfully, very busy and a fantastic time. I expect this next hiatus will be just as busy, if not more so. We don't finish until around Easter. In April, we'll be wrapping up, April 5th, something like that, right before Easter. We're still a little ways off, so there's stuff that's brewing, but it's not set in stone. I can't talk about it yet, but yeah, I have very high hopes.
Aside from any singing appearances, if you get picked up for Season 3, what are some of the other things you'd like to see from Lauren, as the show progresses?
Virginia Williams: We'll see what happens in these next couple of episodes, but I'd love to see much more development with a love interest, a real relationship, not just going on a date. I think the best way to show a million sides to one person, is to put them with someone they like. It shows everything, insecurities, light, competence, everything that's exciting and new about a new relationship. I really hope that we get to see some of that, because we see a lot of Lauren being strong and competent in her work, and I'd like to really see what happens when she's thrown off-kilter by a man, when someone really just blows her mind and makes her question everything. That would be really, really great. And I'd like to see more of Lauren and Justin together. I really enjoy working with Michael Trucco. We have a lot of fun together. In Season 1, hilariously, these two characters were never in the same scene. Isn't that crazy? We only have four lead characters in the whole series, and Lauren and Justin never had a scene together. In Season 2, we have quite a few episodes where we work together, and I think they are extremely like-minded characters. One is the male version, one is the female version. They're very exacting and smart and loyal, and I think their brains work the same way. I'd like to see more of the two of them, problem-solving together.
To wrap up, what would you like to say to fans of the show, or maybe to people who are curious and didn't catch Season 1, about why they should check out the Season 2 premiere on March 16?
Virginia Williams: Because it's a really witty show. It's fun, there's great banter, and it's very smart. I think what's great about the second season is we only have 42 minutes a week to try and show pieces of these five different characters' lives. But, in that 42 minutes, I think that the writing has gotten sharper and wittier and more nuanced. I think the reason people should watch the show is, hopefully, people will fall in love with the characters, and just want to keep coming back for the characters. I've never been one for procedural drams. I don't really care so much about a case, week to week, involving people I'm not going to see the next week. While we have amazing guest stars and fantastic story lines, I think what's really great is we see quite a bit more of what's happening personally with these five characters.
Excellent. That's about all I have. Thanks so much. It was great to talk to you again, Virginia.
Virginia Williams: It was great talking to you too. You have a wonderful day.