Carrie Preston Talks Season 2 of ‘Elsbeth’: ‘We Will Learn More About Everybody’s Backstory’

So you think you know everything about attorney Elsbeth Tascioni? Think again.

“We will learn more about everybody’s backstory,” says Carrie Preston, teasing Season 2 of “Elsbeth.”

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“There will be delving not just into her past and personal life, but also Captain C.W. Wagner’s, played by Wendell Pierce, and Carra Patterson’s Officer Kaya Blanke. Now, in this season, Elsbeth talks about her son Teddy. Before, on ‘The Good Wife,’ she only mentioned him once. We will probably be deepening that too in Season 2.”

“Elsbeth,” competing at Monte-Carlo Television Festival, is finally putting Preston’s fan-favorite, Emmy-winning attorney front and center.

Introduced in “The Good Wife” and featured on “The Good Fight,” Tascioni leaves Chicago and is now working alongside the NYPD. Needless to say, her new colleagues need some time to warm up to her unconventional methods. And her numerous bags.

“Oh yes – the bags. They were there from the very beginning,” laughs Preston.

“Believe it or not, but many lawyers carry around bags all the time. There is stuff in there! But it was such a gift that they gave me that, because I love working with props and physical comedy. It makes you feel specific about what you are doing. It became something to lean on.”

As well as Elsbeth’s unique quirks, which confuse the hell out of suspects.

“She gets seduced by a million different things, she’s thinking about the case and about the color of the walls, all these things at once. Still, somehow she is able to focus on whatever task is at hand. She says whatever comes into her mind and it can be disarming, but it’s also her superpower. It makes criminals say things they wish they didn’t.”

Preston, known to excel in supporting parts – that includes Arlene Fowler in “True Blood” – wasn’t afraid of leading a show.

“You always have to find the specificity, humanity and depth. In one scene or in the entire season. It’s the same approach. Just make sure you are showing up with the intention of having an authentic moment. And hope it makes the cut, because sometimes it doesn’t,” she observes.

“It was about making sure I paced it out in a way where it wasn’t… too much. Elsbeth is a very idiosyncratic character. She operates on a higher frequency – at least that’s the way I think about her and like to play her. I had to stay grounded, even though it’s elevated. But I do try to get out of my head. I can’t go: ‘Oh, I am the lead now.’ No. We go in and we play every scene for its truth.”

Unlike “The Good Fight,” which went from a legal drama to much-debated political satire taking on #MeToo, Donald and Melania Trump, and even Jeffrey Epstein, “Elsbeth” is shying away from controversy. Or is it?

“Robert and Michelle King, who created all these shows, really wanted to make something that wasn’t political. But if you want to, you can see there is a very political message we are making – that criminals who are in the upper crust of society think they can get away with murder. And they shouldn’t, and they don’t. At least on our show,” says Preston.

“You can see that – if you want to. Or you can look at it as a fun caper that’s broadly entertaining. They wanted to do something specifically for a network, because ‘The Good Fight,’ which was so brilliant, was definitely for a niche audience. They could push the boundaries of politics and race. Here, they are doing these things more stealthily, I think.”

Robert and Michelle King serve as executive producers as well, via King Size Productions. Jonathan Tolins showruns and exec produces alongside Liz Glotzer, Erica Shelton Kodish and Bryan Goluboff. The show is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Elsbeth’s unwavering optimism and kindness, even though she’s perennially underappreciated, could also be seen as a political statement.

“She sees the good in things. And we are at a time, right now, when there is a lot of bad. Humanity is being challenged and she is someone who stands for always seeing the world as a positive place. There is joy to be had, there is love to be had, there is curiosity.”

“You can choose to see things in a negative way. She doesn’t want to live her life her way, but it doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen. She experiences heartbreak and she allows herself to feel it. But she continues on. I think it’s infectious. It’s a good message to be putting out into the world right now.”

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