Maggie Lawson was the first person we were able to interview during the recent set visit of Psych. Maggie plays Juliet O’Hara, a detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Her character has gone through some recent changes – most notably her hair color change this season. Maggie sat down to talk to us about the current season and her character. She is incredibly funny and sweet, which certainly came across in the interview.
How would you like to see Juliet and Shawn’s relationship develop?
Maggie: Good question. I think we’ve done a good job, over the last few seasons, of, like, really playing out how a relationship like this might go. So many complications are going to come into play when and if these characters get together. So I think that we’ve exhausted a lot of that now. So I think that some very serious things have been said, and it’s like a little ticking bomb that I feel like it’s going to happen, somehow, in a big way. It’s either going to be great, or it’s going to be a crazy fall-out. I mean, Shawn has a huge secret and, you know, if he’s going to have honest relationships, how does all that work? And so, I would like to see for both of them to be honest about their feelings with each other, however that’s going to play out.
Part of the fun of the show is all the guest stars. Are there some that you have bonded with more than others, or that you were really excited to work with?
Maggie: I hope this is because people enjoy being here, but I feel like just about every guest star or guest cast that we have come on – we end up having a real experience with them, almost like a movie shoot with them or something. We play games.
Nestor Carbonell, this season, he’s been on. So we’ve had a good time with him. And we had Freddy Prinze Jr., who’s a friend of Dulé’s, so we had fun with him. To say, some over others is kind of hard because what if they read these? You can turn the tape recorders off. Then we’ll talk! We love them all the same!
Will we see Juliet go undercover again?
Maggie: You know what? I haven’t been undercover in a while. I don’t know if I’ve done anything since then, actually, like the roller derby one. Because I have the Scary Sherry in first season, and then, the duos – which I guess I wasn’t necessarily undercover. I was just the drill sergeant dancer or whatever. And then roller derby. Yeah, I think we’re due for, another really silly Juliet episode. Well, I think we are, anyway. I think we’re due. I don’t know if the producers would feel that way.
The show has taken a more serious tones for all the characters. Can you just expand on working with Dulé and the other characters?
Maggie: Yeah. Over the seasons, there’s always a moment where we [Juliet and Gus] bond over something. Last year in that refrigeration truck. Shawn gets shot in the dark. We go on sort of our own case together. And they’ve bonded over being nerds a little bit – Comic Con and stuff. So I would like to see that a little more as well. But it has been a little bit more serious. I feel like the last two [seasons] have led us into a deeper look at all of their relationships, naturally, makes it seem a little more dramatic because we’re going to darker places. But in that, I think we’re, obviously, still finding the comedy, but it can almost promote more because it’s so—it’s kind of uncomfortable to go to some of those darker places sometimes. But this season, definitely. This episode that we’re shooting right now is crazy.
And Gus saved Juliet…
Maggie:And Gus saved me, yeah. There’s a whole relationship there that hasn’t been totally explored yet. But I do know that there are some more Gus/Juliet interactions in the future.
It’s not necessarily romantic, but there are some out-of-office things that happen in the out of work and case scenarios that I know are coming up in some episodes. Soon..
Speaking of relationships, is it difficult working with someone that you are actually dating?
Maggie: I think that it can be, yeah. But for us, it’s not. We had Psych before we had our relationship, and I kind of love that we’ve held on to – work is work, and when we’re at work, we’re working. And his partner at work is Dule. My partner at work is Tim. And so, I feel like it’s been a really healthy, awesome approach. We’ve done a good job of keeping that.
There were people on the crew, that still come up to me and they’re like, “You guys are dating? Like, really?” I mean, it’s not like we don’t speak at work. It’s just that we have a definite line of – when we’re at work, it’s about work, and we keep it about work. And then we can get all, lovey-dovey after work.
In regards to Juliet and Shawn and the “Will they? Won’t they?”- Do you feel, as an actress, that when the couples on the show cross that line, it actually causes the show to suffer?
Maggie: Yeah. Well, there are arguments to both sides… Again, I think what is so important about this show and how we’ve developed all or our relationships is kind of what I just said about life, in our real life, too. It’s Shawn and Gus, and that’s the core of the show. And then there’s Juliet and Lassiter, and Henry and Shawn. There are all these other peripheral relationships. And I do think that it can work if the “will they” happens, because we’ve seen before – like Ross and Rachel. They get together season one, and it went back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth, and I don’t think that show really suffered because of that. And the other one is Carrie and Big. Same thing, you know.
I think we’ve done that a little bit, and I think it’s good. I think it raises the stakes for when that day actually comes, and then what that really means. But even Carrie and Big didn’t officially get together until the end. So I guess that’s the other side of the argument. Same with Ross and Rachel, right?
Do you have any desire to direct?
Maggie: …I think that before me, especially on Psych, there are many people who deserve that opportunity. I do love watching, and I’ve learned a lot, and I think that eventually I would like to, yes. It probably wouldn’t happen in my Psych lifetime, but in my career lifetime, I would hope. It’s fun. It’s interesting. [There are] things that you assume that you know – and then you go on a scout with one of the directors or you start asking questions and you’re like, “Wow. What goes into directing an episode?”
James [Roday] is directing the next one that we’re doing. Watching him prep, too, it’s crazy. It’s great… But yeah, eventually. Someday.
If somebody besides Gus or Henry were to find out that Shawn’s not really a psychic, who else would you like to be the next person? Juliet?
Maggie: I don’t know. I would say if there’s ever going to be an honest relationship for Shawn and Juliet that it would be good for him to tell her. But I don’t know, situations can backfire sometimes. I don’t want to know that. But I think that somewhere along, deep in everyone’s thoughts of Shawn, that they kind of know he’s a fake. I think he’s really good at what he does, but there is an element where we’ve all questioned it at some point like, “Really? I don’t know, but I’m going with this because it works and it’s good and you care and you get it done.”
So it would be an interesting turn to see how that happens, because part of me thinks that everyone could just sort of be like, “Yeah, we knew. Whatever.” So that would be an interesting thing for us to explore, if and when that ever happens. But I would like Juliet to be the next one to know. I think that’d be nice.
The summer finale of Psych airs Wednesday, Sept 8 at 10/9c on USA Network.
Check out http://usanetwork.com/series/psych
and http://facebook.com/Psych for more info.