Robin Tunney returns to television Monday in ABC’s “The Fix” as a former Los Angeles district attorney who gets another chance to prosecute the A-list celeb she feels got away with murder.
Eight years after the murder prosecution of movie star Severen “Sevvy” Johnson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) ended in a crushing defeat, Maya Travis (Tunney) is lured from her peaceful life in rural Washington state after another woman with ties to the star is murdered. Faced with a second chance to prosecute, Maya is set on justice, redemption — and revenge.
“When somebody’s out for revenge, they never think they are,” Tunney says with a laugh.
‘Not Marcia Clark’
The drama unearths deeply rooted secrets and shocking twists around every corner, and nothing — even the facts — is as it seems. Tunney compares the frenetic, edge-of-your-seat action to her previous series “Prison Break” and promises jaw-dropping cliffhangers to keep viewers guessing. “You’re positive who did it,” she says, “and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘No!’ ”
The legal thriller comes from executive producers and co-writers Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain and Marcia Clark, lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder trial and now a best-selling author. Although Clark and Maya share similarities — each is a brilliant prosecutor villainized for doing her job — “clearly the character is not Marcia Clark,” Tunney says. “It’s entertainment; it’s a revenge drama concocted by Marcia Clark. It’s a nighttime series, and it’s not meant to be the truth. I think it’s trying to say some things about our legal system and how our culture treats powerful women, but at the end of the day, it’s relentlessly entertaining.”
Tunney admits that her preparation for the role included rewatching the O.J. Simpson trial. She wanted to see and understand the sexism that Clark faced. “Judge Ito would call her ‘Marcia,’ and he called Bob Shapiro ‘Mr. Shapiro.’ That’s not OK,” Tunney says. “If Marcia was a man, she’d be a powerhouse. And we have an episode about that — how being a woman with strong convictions and strong opinions, you’re considered to be a (expletive).”
‘It’s fun to yell’
Tunney shares that her conversations with Clark led her to understand how a high-profile trial can thrust a DA into a very public spotlight.
“A district attorney is somebody who studied law; they didn’t sign up to be on TV and become a celebrity,” Tunney says. “I became a public figure. When you decide you want to become an actor, you’re not gonna have privacy, and that’s the way it’s going to be. But these people are public servants, so I think that that was something that was incredibly hard for Marcia to adjust to. And we spoke about it, and the idea that basically you’re representing the office and your clients when you’re in public.”
Maya differs from other female protagonists on TV in that she is happy and fulfilled by both her work and her life, and her success in one doesn’t come at the expense of the other. And while Maya isn’t perfect, she’s not irreparably broken, either. Tunney credits her character’s fully realized nature to the fact that the minds behind “The Fix” are primarily female. “I am so happy and proud to, in my lifetime, work on a show that was created by three women, directed by a woman, produced by a woman,” the 46-year-old says.
In this series, Tunney not only is free to explore a character with professional integrity and conviction who is emotional and emotionally complex, but she also gets to share high-conflict, high-stakes scenes with co-stars Scott Cohen, Adam Rayner, Merrin Dungey, Breckin Meyer, Marc Blucas and Mouzam Makkar.
“It’s fun to break things. It’s fun to yell,” Tunney jokes, when asked about shooting the series’ intense scenes. “I don’t do it in my own life, so it’s so fun!”