Marcia Gay Harden ‘makes angry funny’ in CBS dramedy ‘So Help Me Todd’

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Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden mentioned her Tony-winning position as Veronica in “God of Carnage” helped form the character she performs in the new CBS dramedy “So Help Me Todd.”

“‘So Help Me Todd’ is mixing the drama with the comedy, and that’s proper up my alley,” Harden, 63, informed The Post. “It’s really what I choose to do. I like comedy … ‘God of Carnage’ was very severe however you by no means stopped laughing and it was so bodily with the [verbal and emotional] pounding [of co-star] James Gandolfini on the sofa.

“Maybe [series creator/executive producer] Scott Prendergast noticed ‘God of Carnage’ and thought, ‘If you can also make angry humorous, that’s a superb factor.’”

Harden stars in “So Help Me Todd,” premiering Sept. 29 (9 p.m.), as Margaret Wright, a high-powered lawyer in Portland, Ore. Her grown youngsters, who suppose she’s manner too controlling, are following divergent paths. Daughter Allison (Madeline Wise) is a married ER physician; son Todd (Skylar Astin) is an erstwhile non-public detective who misplaced his license two years earlier than and now works for an insurance coverage firm investigating incapacity scams.

Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin as Margaret and Todd in “So Help Me Todd,” premiering Sept. 29 on CBS.

In the collection opener, mom and son discover themselves working collectively, albeit grudgingly, when Todd will get concerned in one among Margaret’s circumstances involving a homicide — whereas, on the similar time, looking for her husband Harry (Mark Moses), who’s vanished off the grid amidst an sickness (Parkinson’s), leaving a puzzling path as to his whereabouts.

By episode’s finish, Margaret realizes that Todd for all his foibles, is basically good at his job — and hires him as her agency’s in-house investigator to determine the collection premise.

“I feel that is one thing numerous dad and mom relate to and cope with,” Harden, a mom of three, mentioned in reference to Margaret and Todd’s relationship. “When you’ve got a black sheep in the household, to begin with, it’s your individual child, so that you don’t actually acknowledge how nice your youngsters are till anyone else tells you … In this case, Todd actually is a black sheep and possibly has ADHD; I typically marvel if he’s somewhat on the spectrum — he’s on the market and he isn’t capable of be accountable. He’s so exterior the field and so unconventional and [Margaret] is so contained in the field and a rule follower. I don’t suppose she realizes his investigative, technical and digital ability ranges … and that she has to let him be who he’s.

“I feel each mum or dad will get to that place,” she mentioned. “At some level you don’t have management anymore and it’s a must to let your youngsters be who they’re and cease making an attempt to shove them into your field. And once you cease that dance I feel they exponentially develop. It’s simply that basic dysfunctional relationship.”

While Margaret and Todd’s relationship is on the crux of the collection, Harden mentioned viewers will see each characters evolve because the collection progresses.

Photo of Astin and Harden as Todd and Margaret. They're standing outside facing each other; Margaret looks very serious. She's wearing a checked jacket and a white shirt; he's wearing a brown coat with a dark brown collar.
Harden mentioned that Margaret must let Todd “be who he’s” as an alternative of making an attempt to regulate him.

“What I hope for Margaret is that she stops making an attempt to care for Todd — that he grows however that she grows, too, that what she needs as a lady in her early 60s involves fruition,” she mentioned. “That will get forgotten about. Other ladies throughout the nation in their 60s are going, ‘What do I need in this second or third chapter of my life?’

“She’s a lady I feel individuals can relate to,” Harden mentioned. “She’s labored her manner up from the underside — her first husband died — and to me it’s not dissimilar to the pandemic of divorce. Women in their late 40s and 50s are not child-bearing and not, let’s say, pushed by the sexual dynamic — and the divorce price skyrockets they usually’re typically left with payments and decreased residing and children in faculty and the entire world of duty they gave up.

“What I like about Margaret is that she has this unimaginable power; she labored her manner up from a authorized secretary to a companion in this regulation agency and now what she actually needs is her identify above the door, however she’s continuously hitting that tumbler ceiling and needs to bust by way of it,” she mentioned. “She’s additionally made a little bit of a mistake by hiring her son … and he’s continuously screwing issues up, so he’ll endanger her rise as they clear up circumstances collectively. I mentioned to the writers, ‘You higher make sure that she doesn’t get her identify above the door simply because Todd helped her.

“Make positive she deserves it as a result of she’s a very good lawyer.”

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