StarryMag interviewed Warren Leight and Paget Brewster about the premiere. Paget talks about what it was like working with Mariska and filming SVU. Warren also gives us some tidbits about the 300th episode. You can read the full interview here.
Q) When you left Criminal Minds the thought was that you wanted to go to comedy – at least that was the buzz. So could you talk about what it was about this role that made you change your mind?
Paget: Oh, I did actually leave Criminal Minds to do comedy and I hope that that will be forthcoming but you just don’t say no to SVU, who would? Those guys are awesome. They work incredibly hard. It’s a really exciting environment and I think Mariska is just a wonderful woman who loves working with women. And so I was deeply flattered that they offered me the part. It’s pretty much the only cop show that I would do. I mean, as far as it being based in law enforcement. But I love the show so I would have been crazy to say no.
Q) So would you go back to Criminal Minds as a guest star?
Paget: Yeah, sure, if they wanted me to but I think it’s kind of tricky. I think what I was told was a lot of people have to sign off on that and I don’t know if it would work for this show but I really like everybody at Criminal Minds. I would love to guest star but I don’t know if that’s in the cards.
Q) Warren, NBC posted pictures the other day of the 300th episode of Law and Order, SVU. Do you have special plans for that episode? Can you talk about that at all?
Warren: First of all, by the way, I just have to say I’m very glad Paget came to us for the two episodes. She really did a great job. We were pretty lucky to have her. But the 300th episode, we’re doing a couple of things that are interesting. I wanted to refer back to the show’s earliest days and we’ll be using – we have – the episode’s called Manhattan Vigil and it’s the story of a wealthy family who’s kid is snatched in the middle of the day and it reminds detective Benson and Munch of a case from 13 years ago of a missing boy snatched in the same neighborhood and it was a case that got (fewer) resources. And so they find themselves – there’s a lot of déjà vu to the episode on purpose. So it’s some of the things we did, Jean de Segonzac directed the pilot so we have him directing the 300th episode. And we have a number of actors who had parts in that first episode in the pilot in this episode – not playing the same characters – we just wanted to bring them back and we figured they did something right if the show is still going 300 episodes later. So we thought it was a way of saying thanks. And they’re all still going – it’s great that they’re all still going and they’re terrific actors. The episode in a sense compares these characters now to where they were when the show began. You know, it was – we didn’t want it to just be – I wanted it to be different from 299 and 301.
Q) Paget, what’s it like to come back to SVU in a different role as compared to your previous guest spot on the show?
Paget: Well, the first time around which I guess was five and a half, six years ago when Scheherazade was Brian Dennehy was such as enjoyable and exciting experience that this even topped it because I got to do two hours of the show and I got to work with everybody in the main cast. And I was just really flattered. There’s so many actors that I’ve seen on SVU that come back as different characters so I’m really excited and honored to sort of be in those ranks because they’re great people. So it was doubly exciting to come back.
Q) Warren, can you talk about the toll that the investigation has taken in the precinct in the characters in the show?
Warren: Yeah, we ended the season – actually, the episode airs tonight. The season finale rerun’s tonight. Obviously we ended it with a dead hooker in the captain’s bed and that’s all bad for precinct morale. So Cragen is under a huge cloud of suspicion but Danny Pino’s character Nick Amaro is also caught up in this. He was the last person to see Carissa alive besides the cast and crew. Carissa is Pippa, is played by – the dead hooker or escort I should say. And so he’s under a cloud and for the first time he senses that even Mariska – by the way, I apologize. We use Mariska, Olivia, Danny. We use – Paget saw this too. We kind of used the character and the actor’s names. We all do it interchangeably. So forgive me. You can use any name you want. But Amaro’s character is aware that the others don’t trust him. There’s a – and Amaro’s a sensitive guy. You know, you could almost say slightly thin-skinned and when he senses that after all he’s been through with Olivia, that she doesn’t completely have his back, for him that’s a terrible betrayal. That the rest of the squad – as the investigation as to what happened that night goes on the rest of the squad kind of tells him maybe he should sit it out and he takes tremendous a sense at that. So there’s a lot of I guess I call a triangulation within the squad room. Nobody knows what to make of…Will the captain come back. If he does come back will he have any authority, will things be the same. There’s a lot of stress when your patriarch is under attack.
Q) Paget, you’ve been a leading lady obviously on another crime-esque drama and so I wanted to know just a little more about working with one of the genre’s other leading ladies, Mariska Hargitay and also with the interaction between your characters in the episode is like.
Paget: Well, the interaction between our characters in the episode is that my character Paula Foster is prosecuting Benson’s captain and the team’s captain. I’m sort of going after him. I’ve replaced him with an interim police chief and I’m building the case. My character and Mariska’s characters come together to sort of offer each other information and it sort of becomes a friendship to a certain degree of two strong women working in this line of work and they are, while at the beginning they had different end goals, they sort of team up to exchange information in searching out the situation and what’s happened. In real life I honestly think Mariska’s one of the funniest women I’ve ever met and I just love working with her. I remember from when I did the first episode I did years and years ago how much fun she was. I really look up to her immensely and I think she’s just a powerhouse and I enjoy her very much. I’ve been and will always be a big Mariska fan. I mean, I can’t say enough good things about her. So it was very easy to act becoming friends because I would love that in real life.