In the new ABC drama Women's Murder Club, Angie Harmon stars alongside Paula Newsome, Laura Harris and Aubrey Dollar as four women in different professions all working together to solve various cases. Angie plays a homicide detective and along with a medical examiner, an assistant District Attorney, and a newspaper reporter, they join forces to work out the clues together. Best-selling author James Patterson wrote the books on which this series is based and is the Executive Producer of the show. The show's writers Liz Craft and Sarah Fain are also executive producers along with Joe Simpson and Scott Gemmill.
When she was asked about how the characters and the show will balance the personal relationships with their crime solving tasks, Angie Harmon explains it this way.
"I think what it does is it takes the dynamic of what women actually have -- the way we relate with each other and what Liz and Sarah have so beautifully put on the page is that, when women get together, they talk about anything, whether it be politics or religion or something serious or their shoes. You sit there and talk about it, and then you always veer off to some sort of who is seeing who and how is that relationship going and 'We don't like your boyfriend,' and 'Oh, kiss who?' And it all works out that way, and that's what they've managed to brilliantly capture on the page. So, in each scene, as actors, I find that we have this great dynamic of how we all take the case seriously, and this is what we do specifically as a coroner and a reporter and a DA and a detective. But then, in that, we will do exactly those things as talked about, whose boyfriend is doing what, and those relationships come out as well. And that is actually what makes it fun for me just, you know, as playing a -- the last show, as we all know (Law & Order), is very procedural and all of that. There are no backstories. There is nothing that you are able to expand on as far as characters. And in this, just as much as procedural is there, it is also equally character-driven. So there was no question when they asked if I would do this. It's absolutely wonderful. They've really, really brought forth a lot of fantastic characters."
And when asked what it is like to work with three other leading actresses, she says, "It's fantastic. Also, because we are women, we have the ability to be nurturing and supportive and caring for each other. I mean, if anything -- Laura was telling me about a book that she's reading right now, and it talks about how you have one woman, and a woman can do a lot of things, you know. When you take one and put it with three other ones, we all are very powerful in what we do. You know, we each know, and are getting to know even as we get closer, each other's strengths and weaknesses. The four of us don't find a weakness and pounce on it. You lift each other up and support each other. And that's what we, the four of us, have managed to do. And, I mean, it's true. You can -- I think there is what you were talking about, the typical, 'Oh, it's women working together. This could get scary.' And it's not like that at all here. We have a deep respect for each other. I mean, the talent that's here speaks for itself. And we all have our lives outside what's going on, and we all have our lives together, and it's become a very nurturing and supportive group."
This year especially, it seems that there are more meaty parts for women. Women leading characters are prevalent on all the networks. Angie looks at it this way. "I think, as the projects come to you, it's -- that's sort of your journey as an actor and where you are supposed to go and what happens. I've done some great films with some wonderful men, and I don't know. When this one came about, it wasn't that, 'Oh, this is a strong female, and where is it going to be?' It was just a project that I really liked and I cared deeply about, and that's basically what I make my decisions on."
However it seems that the leading female roles are more available on the small screen than the large one. Harmon questions that premise. "I don't know [about that], because then when you have independent films and you have all of that whole market, then, you know, that's full of strong characters for women. It's full of ensemble casts. It's full of all kind of different sorts of genres, if you will. So no, I think it's balanced out fairly well, and I just took this because I really enjoyed the writing, obviously, with James Patterson knowing his fan base, knowing how many readers he has and, you know, and ABC. It just seemed like an obvious choice."
Besides reading Mr. Patterson's books, Angie is doing her own research into her character's profession. "I'm working with a couple of detectives here in Los Angeles. We're trying to fit in going to crime scenes and things, and I've just asked nothing with children because that, I wouldn't be able to handle. I'm pretty okay across the board. But I mean, that's kind of it. I've got a few people in other offices that I call and ask and get advice from on a -- that's basically as far as I can take it."
She acknowledges that James Patterson's books are the framework for her character. "That's what's great about it -- because of his writing and the detail and the character and the job description and all of that," she says. "If there is a question that comes up and you can't get somebody on the phone, all you do is you go back to any one of the six books, and the answer is there in every single one of them. Thank you, James," she smiles as she compliments the famous author.
Ms. Harmon is the mother of two young children, and taking on a role that could conceivably run several years was a consideration when making up her mind to accept another TV series.
"There's a terrifying sort of realm in there. That obviously my family comes first, especially, you know, developing two young children, you know, you want them to be responsible [and] kind. You want them to be good people, and obviously if you want them to be good people, you have to spend time with them and guide them. Yeah, I'm a little nervous about that, but you know what, I'm praying about it every day, and I'm confident that it's going to work out. But ABC -- you know, it's a different environment now. People have families. People have children. Executives understand that you're not going to be happy at work if you're not happy at home, if you can't, you know, be around your kids and stuff. I have a fabulous, beautiful trailer. My children will be there constantly. Hopefully they won't find it too boring."
Women's Murder Club airs Fridays on ABC at 9 PM ET/PT.