Red Widow (ABC): What to Expect

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Red Widow is a new drama premiering Sunday, March 3 at 98C on ABC. The cast, including Radha Mitchell, Luke Goss, Jaime Ray Newman, Wil Traval, and Goran Visnjic, as well as executive producer Melissa Rosenberg, were on hand at last month’s TCA 2013 to talk about what fans could expect in the first season.

Want to know what the show is about? Here is a brief synopsis from ABC:

A riveting new drama about one woman’s dangerous journey into the world of organized crime, all in the name of keeping her family safe.

Here are a few things we learned about the show:

It’s basically about a soccer mom getting dragged into a world she wanted to avoid. Asked to talk about her character, Mitchell said, “Marta Walraven is pretty much my dream character to play. I think Melissa wrote a woman who has a duality, which is very complex. Basically she’s a woman who is a housewife, who has been sort of avoiding her criminal upbringing by living the life of a soccer mom and is suddenly dragged into a world that she’s been trying to avoid pretty much her whole life, when her husband is assassinated in relation to a drug incident. And in the process she discovers things about herself and talents that she didn’t know she had and becomes more and more compelled by the likes of Nicholae Schiller who is this evil, or maybe not so evil, drug lord in San Francisco. So that kind of sums up the plot.”

Marta is also a flawed character. Asked to talk more about the lead character on the show, Rosenberg said, “This is a flawed female character, as all human beings are. It’s a very human character. And I think that’s something that has been really exciting to bring to network television. We’ve had on cable and then on network these male characters that are very flawed and complex, like Tony Soprano and Dexter and Vic Mackey. And then we’ve just begun to have that on cable for women in the form of Edie Falco on “Nurse Jackie” and “Weeds.” And now, I think this show is bringing that kind of a character to network. It’s a very tricky character to sell to an audience, because women are held to a higher standard. But as played by Radha, you have compassion for her.”

Though he is the catalyst to what happens on the series, don’t expect to see much of Marta’s husband. Asked if we will see more of Marta’s husband in flashbacks, Rosenberg said, “You know, I made a very conscious choice to move on from Marta’s husband, which was devastating when we cast Anson Mount, who we all loved. But I think we all really wanted to follow the character moving forward, and there’s so many interesting characters she’s surrounded with now that I didn’t want to dwell in what was. It is the catalyst is everything that’s motivating her forward, and there will be pops back to that. But the story’s about what’s happening now and the shift into her relationship with Schiller and with her family coming back together. I mean, that’s really where I wanted to focus.”

The show is based on a very edgy Dutch series and may surprise some viewers by being on network, and not cable, TV. Asked to discuss how the show will work on network TV, Rosenberg said, “When I first met with ABC about this, I had seen the Dutch series and I saw it and I said, ‘This is network?’ I mean, if you’ve seen the Penoza, it’s very cablesque in its tone and its edge in terms of the characters and the moves that they make. And so when I went to meet with Paul and everybody, I was wary because I said I don’t want to pull back on the edge for this or the storytelling for cable. ”

Goran Visnjic’s character will wear a lot of suits. Asked to talk about his character, Visnjic’s said, “I love the suits. We have a costume designer who I love. She makes these real beautiful suits. But the first time Melissa and I talked about the character, there was a lot of promises of what’s going to come, because in the pilot, I have only one scene. So it was a lot of belief in what Melissa’s going to write afterwards. And from Episode 2 on, it was really fun to do all these things. The character is completely unusual, something I’ve never done before.”

Yes, people will die, but this show about a lot more than that. The show starts with a death so it stands to reason there will be more, asked to talk about that aspect of the series, Rosenberg said, “We do kill people. People die. But, for me, it’s all about building characters and relationships that you want to stay with for five years or seven or however long we can cling to our time slot. I stepped out right from the beginning in terms of the relationships, and there are some subtle shifts in that from the original also too, knowing that that the goal is to continue on with these characters.”

Luke Goss’ character will be a man of mystery, and of few words. Asked to talk about the character of Luther and Goss’ portrayal, Rosenberg said, “Luke’s character is extremely difficult to write for because the more words you give the character, the more you take away in some ways from his strength and his mystery. And so when we first met Luke, he’s one of the first people we cast because so much has to play on his face. And when you see Luke on screen, the camera absolutely loves him, and you can see just everything playing there.”

Goss added, “The wonderful thing about the role for me was that the lack of language was such a great assistant because of how this story unfolds. He’s like a spherical story. It’s not 3 D. Any angle you look at this, there’s things going on. And there are things within my character and how the story unfolded that that lack of language is hugely compromising and challenging and suffocating at times, but in a wonderful way in a dramatic sense, which really adds, I think, hopefully another layer to the story.”

What do you think now that you’ve heard more about Red Widow from the cast and executive producer? Are you planning on checking it out when it premieres next month?

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  • Tulipsnwindows

    I’m very interested in this show.
    ‘Revenge’ has lost me and there is no more ‘666Park Ave’, so this one better be good!

  • Alphenex

    It seems like a pretty big rip off of Weeds, yes it has definitely added new things and added a different direction. But the whole single mother dealing drugs to support her family and things getting more and more out of control as things go on.