Tonight, Amber Tamblyn returns to TV for her first series role since Joan of Arcadia. She's playing Detective Casey Shraeger in ABC's The Unusuals, about a group of misfit cops in New York City trying to solve crimes while also battling their own personal neuroses. I'm still a little disappointed that the show isn't about superhero cops, but the crazy personalities in this show — played by Adam Goldberg, Harold Perrineau, and Kai Lennox, among others — make up for that a bit. Last week, I spoke with Tamblyn about her return to TV and why she looks so comfortable holding a gun. Read on for highlights:
Were you specifically looking to come back to television right now?
No, I never look for anything. I think the things you look for as an actor, if you want to do them, are like, "All right, I want to do a period piece! Let's do it! Let's find one!" TV's always there, film's always there, theater's always there, and I think I just look for something that is a very good character role, that you have something that's well-written and has good actors and you're surrounded by people you want to work with. . . . This was something that seemed sort of special to me, and I saw a lot of potential in the idea of this young female cop who's kind of a smartass and tomboyish. She's really smart, she's a really good girl and very honest, and it's a great character.
What was it about Casey that appealed to you specifically?
I think in every episode, when you see her sort of go into an interrogation room and rip the dignity out of some perp, it's really funny to watch. Because she is young, and she's the rookie cop who's coming into this situation, where everybody else is veteran cops but they're still not as good as she is at what they do for their job. It's a really fun concept. I also love that she's not a cliche female character. She's not a stereotype.
What kind of training did you have to go through to realistically play a cop? Did someone have to show you the right way to hold a gun?
I go to the shooting range a lot in Los Angeles, so I've shot guns before. I think what was really intense was seeing pictures of dead bodies, even though you don't see them in our show — and that's one of the great things about it as well, is . . . it's not about [dead bodies], it's about how it affects characters and what it does to them.
More from Tamblyn about what she learned from cops and her favorite police show of all time when you read more