Charming. Sweet. Personable. These words are thrown around a lot when describing television actors, but in the case of Psych’s Maggie Lawson, they might as well have been tailored to her.
When we attended Psych Fan Appreciation Day last week, things were pretty crazy – so crazy, in fact, that we weren’t able to ask Lawson any of our questions on the carpet. But following the event, the actress was kind enough to take a few moments out of her busy schedule to talk with us about the upcoming season, her thoughts on playing Juliet O’Hara, her favorite episodes, and more. (And by the way…did you notice Lawson’s new hair? The actress showed up in New York sporting new and shorter locks, a look which garnered rave reviews from many fans – myself included.)
In Season Six, will we see a lot more of Shawn/Juliet in the romantic/domesticated relationship fashion than what was afforded to us in Season Five? Namely, will we see more of them outside of work, rather than just solving cases and being around the office?
“We have a lover’s retreat episode (“Neil Simon’s Lover’s Retreat”) and it’s very fun to see both of us out of our work environment that we’re always in, and to see us just trying to be a normal couple. So that’s really fun…I think there are a little bits over the course of the season that you’re going see, where we sort of get out of that work life a little bit – which is cool.”
Now that Shawn and Juliet are officially a couple, is it even more fun for you and James [Roday] to work together?
“We have a great time no matter what. We love the show so much…we met on the show and now our characters are together on the show! [Laughs] It’s a little bit crazy, but I feel like every year just gets better and better, and the seasons get better and better and the storylines get better and better…so with that, we’re having a lot of fun. Life is good.”
We saw a little bit of this in the premiere when Shawn took the lie detector test – but what do you think will happen when Juliet finally finds out the truth? Will she be angry when she finds out Shawn has been lying to her, despite the fact that his real abilities are far more impressive? Do you think that given this, Juliet would be more apt to forgive him sooner rather than later for lying?
“At this point in the show, Juliet wholeheartedly believes he is psychic and that is her truth. I think if – and/or when – she finds out that that is not the case, if that happens, I think it will be one of the greatest obstacles they would face if they’re going to stay together. It definitely opens up a whole bunch of questions.”
What does Juliet’s dad think of Shawn, and what do you think are his instincts regarding Shawn’s feelings about his daughter?
“I think he likes Shawn, and I think he loves that Shawn is the reason that he would reconnect with his daughter. I think in a lot of ways, they’re a lot alike…so I think he sees that, too. I think that ultimately – the episode hasn’t aired yet – he likes Shawn a lot and they would get along great.”
Do you have any thoughts on where you’d like to see Juliet end up when the series eventually does end?
“I’ve been pretty much a junior detective this whole time…I’m Lassiter’s partner, he is head detective. I think it would be nice to be promoted to a lead detective [laughs] as long as she could keep Lassiter as a partner. But I think that would be really nice. I’d love to see the relationships all progress, but I think it would just be really special to see Juliet make it to detective.”
How do you think Juliet has changed since Season One?
“I think in the beginning, she was sort of the only girl among all of these guys – and she still is, pretty much, except for the Chief and she is a welcome change. But I think that Juliet was very cautious, and she was so by the book. Everything was done a certain way and it was because that was the way it was supposed to be done…and I think that just over the years, gaining confidence in her own footing and in what she’s done, I think that has translated into all of her relationships. She’s much more confident, she has more of a voice, and I think that what was lead detective and junior detective between Lassiter and Juliet is now equal. And they’re partners. And I think that’s awesome. She’s definitely more comfortable in her own skin. I saw an episode from season one the other day and I laughed – I looked 12! It’s really scary. Tim actually texted me and was like ‘oh my god, we look like babies!’”
Did you ever think you’d be going into Season Six? Did you ever think you’d get the reception you got last week at the Fan Appreciation Day?
“Oh my gosh…you know, this – for all of us except Dulé, who had The West Wing, this is our first Season Two – this is the first time we’ve done a series that went to season two, ever. So to go to season six is absolutely out of any sort of frame of thinking I could have had, which is so nice and such a blessing. But then just to see all those crazy Psych-Os last Thursday in New York, that is the greatest reward. We have such a good time during the show, and we all really like each other. To see other people want to join in and be a part of that, and come all the way to New York and celebrate with us? It’s so nice. We’re so grateful…it is truly overwhelming and wonderful and we’ll just keep it going as long as we can.”
Are there any guest stars you’d like to work with? I know that on the carpet, James was all about David Bowie, but what about you specifically?
“We’ve had so many great ones…before this season, I would’ve said William Shatner and now he’s on the show so I have to get back to you on an answer to that because honestly, that was sort of a pinnacle guest star for me. There are so many talented actors. We’ve already had Ally Sheedy, and it would be nice to see Martin Sheen (who worked with Dulé) – I’d love to see him do an episode. Shatner was my big one, so that was crazy.”
I talked to Steve and he said this season he would finally write the musical episode. I’m curious if you have any ideas of what you wanted to do for that.
“With Steve…they have a band, so I have a feeling it will be something a little more pop and less musical-ish, and a little more rock. I just hope there’s also some dance added in with the singing so that we have a true musical episode with giant musical numbers. I mean, I want to go all out with the costumes and the dancing…we can’t let Scrubs get away with that. We have to top it!”
Can you talk for a moment about Red Dog* and what the company is working on for this season? When can we expect you guys to get back on stage again?
“I don’t think there’s a production in place just yet, but I know that everyone involved – or whoever’s been involved – with Red Dog, we’re always looking for something new and exciting and provocative to do, because that’s the kind of company they are. So hopefully, very soon there will be something in the works. They have many other branches…if you go to www.reddogsquadron.com or Twitter, I think there’s even a thing called RedPup. They’re going to schools and working with kids and acting and sort of expressing themselves in a creative way, and that’s really cool…so there are many things going on with Red Dog even when the productions aren’t up, but hopefully there will be a production soon.”
Are you doing anything for the hiatus? I know Dulé is doing a play over here, but can we expect anything from you?
“At this point, I’m relaxing with my dogs and hopefully later on I’d love to work. I love working. And travel some, for sure. But right now, I just got home. I’m still unpacking and hanging out with the pooches.”
What was your favorite episode to shoot so far in the series?
“I have two – it’s tough, though, because I love the entire Yin/Yang trilogy, but those are three…so it’s hard to say just one. I loved shooting “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” in season one…because when else in life are you going to be able to do an ax fight in a hot space jumper? You’re not – unless it’s a James Roday episode, which that was. So that would probably be my favorite one to shoot. But on an emotional level, I would have to say the one this year, “In For A Penny,” that I did with Shatner because we had some really emotional stuff together and as an actress it was just really cool and really fun to do. So I’d say those are my top 2.”
Just to ask your perspective – I asked Steve if he was ever planning to follow up on the Scott/Juliet meeting in Season Four, when Juliet makes a deal to meet Scott at the train station again exactly a year later. And now we’re 2 years out and she’s dating Shawn, and we haven’t gone back to that. Steve joked that they were thinking of having Scott just show up at the station anyway…
[Laughs] “You never know! I think in all relationships there is the concern or the possibility that somebody from the past could pop up…interesting would be the perfect word for that.”
Missed Juliet O’Hara and the gang as much as we have? Don’t miss all new episodes of Psych, airing Wednesdays at 10pm on USA.
*Red Dog Squadron, co-founded by James Roday, is a not-for-profit theatre company that produces multiple productions in the Los Angeles area.