How Carrie Preston made Elsbeth Tascioni the Columbo heiress | Television

You never know where Elsbeth Tascioni is going to turn out. Neither metaphorically nor literally. She was the most clueless and disconcerting lawyer ever. The Good Wife, a series that was not short of peculiar lawyers and judges. He reappeared in some chapters of The Good Fightand after participating in a total of 19 episodes between the two productions, he has ended up having his own series titled, simply, Elsbeth. So iconic is the character that her own name is enough to identify her. Now, that lawyer from Chicago has to work hand in hand with the New York Police to supervise her actions, with the secret mission of monitoring the captain. And along the way, her insight helps them solve cases.

Elsbeth (the last episode of its first season airs on Movistar Plus+ on Tuesday the 18th; the rest of the episodes are available on demand) has put a character at the center who moved fluidly on the margins. The same has happened with its leading actress, Carrie Preston (Macon, United States, 56 years old). Accustomed to supporting roles, she now leads the cast of one of the American free-to-air television series that has had the best performance, so much so that it has been renewed for a second season that will double the number of episodes: 10 (production was stopped for months due to the strike of scriptwriters and actors), it will increase to 20.

Turning a secondary character in one story into the protagonist of another has not always worked well. Carrie Preston was aware. “It was something that worried us. But what we have done is practically created a new series. We take this character that is familiar to the audience and put him in a completely new world for them. Many people who watch the series have never seen The Good Wife either The Good Fight, They are just seeing this new, strange and unconventional character in the middle of a format that is very familiar, the police procedural,” Preston explained on Wednesday in a hotel in Madrid.

Carrie Preston and Carra Patterson, in an episode of ‘Elsbeth’, in an image provided by Movistar Plus+.

When Robert King, creator of The Good Wife Together with his wife Michelle, he described what the character was like to the actress 14 years ago, comparing Elsbeth Tascioni to a female Columbo. Her continued confusion, her unexpected questions and comments, and her great intuition linked her to the character played by Peter Falk. Now, Robert and Michelle King have gone further and have even replicated it in Elsbeth the structure of Colombo: the viewer witnesses the crime that is going to be investigated in each episode and knows who the culprit is from the beginning.

In times when television is constantly looking for ways to dazzle the viewer, Elsbeth claims the most classic television. For Preston, the fact that the center of the plot of each episode is following how the lawyer and the police discover the murderer while the viewer already has all the information beforehand is comforting for the audience. “You know, not having to think too much or be stressed about who did it. Instead, they can have a fun and relaxing time watching TV. “I think we all need something like that the way the world is now,” the actress reflects.

Carrie Preston, star of 'Elsbeth', on Wednesday at The Madrid Edition hotel.
Carrie Preston, star of ‘Elsbeth’, on Wednesday at The Madrid Edition hotel.Jaime Villanueva

Elsbeth Tascioni has a very particular way of speaking, moving and behaving, with untimely silences, unexpected appearances and a lot of gestures. It is as if the interlocutor could see in real time how the brain of this peculiar lawyer works at full capacity through her gestures and her words. To build Tascioni, the actress starts with the script. “Fourteen years ago I started bringing a very specific idiosyncrasy, particular mannerisms and behavior to the character, and the writers started writing around that,” explains Preston, who loves Elsbeth’s infectious positivity. She also recognizes that playing someone so particular has certain difficulties. “It talks a lot, there is a lot of text to learn. And the way I interpret her, she’s someone who thinks one thing, says another, and her body does a third thing. All of this has to be well thought out and takes time. She is one of the characters that I have to invest the most time in preparing,” she confesses.

It is an effort that seems to have paid off. Of her extensive career, he assures that Elsbeth Tascioni is the role that has had the greatest impact on him personally, and that she was part of the also iconic true blood from beginning to end. “This character has changed my life. I won an Emmy with it and that helped give me credibility to land other roles. When Robert and Michelle King were trying to get this show off the ground, it also helped that I had already been recognized for this role.”

Jane Krakowski, one of the guest actresses of 'Elsbeth', with Carrie Preston, in an episode of the first season.
Jane Krakowski, one of the guest actresses of ‘Elsbeth’, with Carrie Preston, in an episode of the first season.

Elsbeth seems harmless. Clueless, with her flowery and somewhat bizarre clothing and always carrying several huge bags, one of her secret weapons to approach suspects and end up finding the definitive clue is that others tend to underestimate her, a trait that any woman can use. feel identified. So does Carrie Preston. “It’s very likely that there were those who thought, ‘I don’t know if Carrie Preston should star in a series…’. And she looks, here I am, I think it worked. There are many people who tell me that they see themselves reflected in her, ‘I am her’, or ‘my mother is her’. That says a lot about the script and how we present the character. In some way, she represents the people who are on the margins and we put them in the center.”

The actress has been married since 1998 to actor Michael Emerson, especially remembered for his role in Lost. Both have spent the last few years linked to Robert and Michelle King productions, she as Elsbeth Tascioni and he as the diabolical Leland Townsend in Evil. Preston only has words of appreciation for the King couple. “They are brilliant writers and brilliant producers, they know how to bring other people into their worlds and empower them. For example, they are the creators of Elsbethbut showrunner It’s Jonathan Tolins, who has been a screenwriter with them for many years. “They are very loyal to the people who work with them and clearly they have been very loyal to my husband and me.” Preston smiles and even blushes when he is asked if Emerson could appear in Elsbeth. “I think he will do it, yes, I don’t know in what character, but now that he is free because he has finished his series (Evil has been canceled after its fourth season), I hope they write something for it. I have appeared in his series so it is only fair that he does so in mine.”

Carrie Preston, as Elsbeth Tascioni, in an image provided by Movistar Plus+.
Carrie Preston, as Elsbeth Tascioni, in an image provided by Movistar Plus+.

Finally, a question that any follower of the series will have asked: what does Elsbeth Tascioni carry in her big bags? “And why so many bags?” she adds, laughing. “I don’t think I should tell you what it’s wearing, because what you’re thinking is probably much more interesting than what it’s actually wearing. I think he carries everything he thinks he might need. It could be anything from books to a sandwich in case she’s hungry, another pair of shoes… Who knows. What I did want to do is that, when Elsbeth finally goes to catch the murderer, when she has already solved the case…, there are no bags,” Preston gestures, as if Elsbeth Tascioni herself were the one who ended up answering.

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