Michelle Dockery, best known for her role on Downton Abbey, has taken on a new persona that couldn’t be further from Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest daughter in an upper-middle class family living in England in the 1920s. The mega-popular series, which gathered a slew of awards, ended last year.
Now Michelle takes on the role of Letty Raines, a thief and con-artist, in TNT’s seductive thriller Good Behavior. Fresh out of prison, Letty is trying to stay afloat in order to reunite with her 10-year-old son, who is being brought up by her mother, Estelle (Luisa Strus, Wayward Pines).
But, while she’s robbing a hotel room, Letty overhears a hitman named Javier Pereira (Juan Diego Botto, El Greco) being hired to kill a man’s wife, and she sets out to interfere with his plans. It’s a decision that will change Letty’s life forever.
Michelle Dockery came to the TV Critics Association tour to talk about her new drama, which premieres November 15th 2016 on TNT at 9 pm.
Good Behavior, 101 “Only The Best For Mrs Diaz” – Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) ©2016 Turner Entertainment, photo by Brownie Harris

What was life like for you when you started looking around for a project after Downton Abbey?

I was very fortunate with Good Behavior because Downton was coming to an end, Season 6, and this script came to me. I fell in love with the character and the story.

[It] was very fortunate that something so different from what I had been doing for the last six years came my way. We’ve had such a fun time, and it really is an amazing thing to be part of.

Good Behavior, 100 “So You’re Not an English Teacher” – Javier Pereira (Juan Diego Botto) and Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) ©2016 Turner Entertainment, photo by Brownie Harris

Lady Mary would never say, ‘My French lover had a huge cock,’ like Letty does.

She wouldn’t in so many words. I’ve had the opportunity to play two very strong female characters, and there are some parallels with them. It’s just very different periods. One happens to be in ’20s and one modern day.

Letty is an extraordinary character, so colorful and raw, and she’s fascinating to play. I’m loving every minute; hope it continues.

Can you tell us more about Letty? What kind of woman is she?

I think Letty finds it hard to exist as normal people do. She gets bored very easily. The dressing up part of it, and becoming another character (during a con), is also the addiction. Following people, and being someone else to escape the pain of who she really is, is a high (for her).

That has been really fun to play. It’s character within character, which is a dream for an actor. I have four different wigs. They all have different names.

Good Behavior, 101 “Only The Best For Mrs Diaz” – Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) ©2016 Turner Entertainment, photo by Brownie Harris

What about Letty’s relationships with other characters in the series?

Like all of the characters in the show, they are flawed. They’re trying to be the best version of themselves. The relationship between Letty and Estelle (her mother) is one of the core relationships that I love. Lusia and I love that relationship between them. Not to give too much away, but that relationship goes on throughout the series, and she’s trying to be better.

Her mother has raised her son, essentially, while she was off being destructive and not being able to cope with responsibility. You will see as that relationship develops it’s really wonderful to watch.

Good Behavior, 101 “Only The Best For Mrs Diaz” – Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) ©2016 Turner Entertainment, photo by Brownie Harris

Do you feel this series resemble The Americans?

To be honest, you can’t really compare it to anything. For me, when I first read it, it was like nothing else I had ever read before. I could visualize it from the page.

It’s very difficult to put it in a genre, although, a genre was created on our show. Our amazingly talented director, Charlotte Sieling, who directed the pilot, said to Chad (Hodge, the show’s Executive Producer), that the genre of the show is poetic noir, and Chad said, ‘What is that?’ She said, ‘I don’t know. We’ll find out.’ And it really is that.

It’s something that is very different, and as much as it’s dark, it can be very light. It can be extremely funny.

Good Behavior Unlikeable Soundbyte

Both Michelle and Juan Diego Botto were asked about playing characters that are not instantly likeable. Click below to hear their replies.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.