Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
December 2, 2007.
“Laura and I were hanging out the other day, because we live in the same
neighborhood,” Aubrey Dollar says, laughing. “We were kind of joking around
The Laura she is referring to is Laura Harris, who is one of Dollar’s
co-stars in the popular new ABC detective series Women’s Murder Club.
The series is based on James Patterson’s series of mystery bestsellers
about San Francisco cop Lindsay Boxer (Angie Harmon), who works together
with her best friends – a DA (Harris), a medical examiner (Paula Newsome)
and a reporter (Dollar) in order to solve some of the most violent crimes in
The joke Dollar and Harris were sharing was about going out together to
solve a crime, just like the women that they play. As much fun as it may sound, in real life Dollar prefers to
do her detective work on the small screen.
Dollar’s character of Cindy Thomas is the fresh-faced newest member of this
law-enforcement sorority, a young journalist who is able to insert herself
into the close-knit group of women – through intelligence and daring –
despite the others’ initial reluctance to work with her.
Dollar has found no such resistance in real life, though, slipping quickly
and comfortably into a tight ensemble. Like the younger character she
plays, Dollar hasn’t had quite as much experience as her co-horts.
Yet from the beginning, she has felt welcome.
“We’ve been working together now for six months,” Dollar recalls as the show
is about to air its eighth episode. “We all get along really great. There
is kind of a natural chemistry between the four of us – onset and offset – a
playful thing that happens. I think we’re all pretty like-minded.”
In this case, this strong cast features Harmon, who is well known for her
many years as the Assistant DA in the venerable series Law & Order.
Harris also has done lots of TV work, starring in the popular series 24
and the cult Showtime comic-drama Dead Like Me. Newsome has had
a steady diet of recurring and guest work on series like NYPD Blue,
Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, CSI, Law & Order and The Lyon’s Den.
has also done some work before in series television – she had a recurring
role on the popular series Dawson’s Creek and also starred in the
short-lived FOX series Point Pleasant. She enjoyed the series
experience immensely and regrets it didn’t last longer.
“Yeah, it’s hard,” she acknowledges. “You know, particularly these
hour-long series – they take up a tremendous amount of time and you’re very,
very involved with them. The cast and the crew that you’re working with –
it all becomes very familial. So it’s really sad anytime one of those shows
ends. Fortunately, being back in Los Angeles now, I still see all of those
people, so it’s nice.”
She has done supporting roles in films like Failure to Launch, Save the
Last Dance 2 and Prime.
Also, previously to Women’s Murder Club,
Dollar was known for her stint as Marina Cooper on the long-running soap
opera Guiding Light.
“I think daytime actors can get kind of a bad rap,” Dollar says. “It’s
unfair. There’s something about it – for me at least – that it almost felt
like theater. You only do things one time and they shoot it from all angles
at once. You’re on a Proscenium. I think for young actors, particularly…
it was really great for me, because it kind of forces you to get out of your
head. You have to show up every day. There’s really no time to be nervous
or to second-guess yourself. You just have to be there and go for it and
hope for the best. I learned a lot when I was there. I’m very grateful for
She is relishing her new breakout role in Women’s Murder Club,
though, and is opening eyes. It’s doubly fun for her because she
knew James Patterson’s series of Lindsay Boxer mysteries even
before she got the role.
“I was living in New York at the time and it was one of the first pilots
that I read last year,” Dollar says. “I was already familiar with the
books. I really loved it and connected with it. I loved the idea that it
was very female-centric and driven by these strong, intelligent women.
“I had read the first and part of the second beforehand,” she continues.
“Then, through the pilot and after the pilot I read the rest.”
Though she is a fan of the books, she stresses that the series is a
completely different animal. While the people making the show are trying to
stay faithful to the feel and character of the books, these stories are not
bound to the conventions set in print.
For example, in the book 3rd Degree, one of the
club members was killed. (“Yeah, it was Jill,” Dollar acknowledges.) But
Harris – who plays Jill on the series – doesn’t have to start looking for a
job quite so soon.
“I think the characters are somewhat faithful to the books – they were
definitely drawn from the books,” Dollar says. “But I know none of the
stories in the books are in the series. So many people have read the
books. They wanted to bring something fresh to it, you know? James
Patterson is one of our executive producers. He’s very involved. But it’s
definitely a departure from the books. I don’t think the goal was to bring
the book to life, I think it was more to bring the spirit of the book series
and translate that into television.”
Cindy brings a young, fresh perspective to this crew of grizzled crime
veterans. Dollar hopes that despite the fact that her character is being
exposed to death and darkness on such a regular basis that she does not lose
her sunny disposition.
“I think that
Cindy… there’s a kind of relentless positivity about her,” Dollar says.
“There’s a real passion for getting in there and observing people. Yeah,
sure, it gets hard. I think there are certain cases as we go on that touch
each of the women personally and are more difficult for them – but not yet
it hasn’t [hardened her]. So, I certainly hope she doesn’t get into a
It wasn’t all that
hard for Dollar to flip open
Cindy’s reporter’s notebook, though.
(Okay, now more
reporters use blackberries…). She feels a
kindred spirit with her alter-ego and even though
she has never worked as a reporter, she has captured the
feel of the lifestyle and seems to have the
“I really love to write,” Dollar says. “I’m kind of a writer. I like
non-fiction writing. I did sort of research into reporters’ relationships
with police officers and law enforcement and stuff like that, but I didn’t
go and sit down in an office or anything.”
So let’s test Dollar’s journalism acumen, then – shall we? I mention to her
that I am also supposed to be talking with co-star Angie Harmon about the
series in the not-to-distant
future. So putting on Cindy’s reporter’s cap; what does she think is
something I should ask Harmon?
you should ask her about the Electric Slide,” she says pleasantly...
and just a touch cryptically.
However, for all the friendship and camaraderie – both on the set and in the
scripts – one can’t forget that the stories – despite the fact that they are
often humorous or sexy – do deal with tragic events in people’s lives. The
club has pooled their individual talents to capture the murderers of such
diverse characters as an investigative journalist and a poor illegal
immigrant, or finding a missing pregnant woman.
Plus, there is always a dark undercurrent swirling in the background. The
scripts have hinted a lot over the episodes about the killer who is
Lindsay’s nemesis – known as Kiss Me Not Killer – but the early stories have
not been specifically about him. Is the story going to simmer over the
entire season or are they going to deal with it more directly soon?
“I know that it resurfaces at some point, but I don’t know much beyond
that,” Dollar admits.
and crime is one thing for the club, but they are also there for each other
to help each other through tumultuous personal lives. The women of the club
have had some dramatic romantic problems in the first episodes. Lindsay has
a fling with her about-to-be-remarried ex-husband – who also happens to be
her new boss. Jill is in the midst of moving in with her lover, yet at the
same time can’t quite break out of a torrid relationship with a fellow
lawyer. Claire and her husband are trying to deal with their changing
relationship now that he is wheelchair bound.
Yet, for now at least, Cindy has not had any of these scenes. Not that she
is a cat lady quite yet, she obviously has been attracted to some men and
jokes about her mother’s probing questions about her personal life. Yet, so
far, that social life is under wraps.
Which brings up a question. Will the writers ever let Cindy date?
would be nice,” Dollar laughs. “I feel that she’s very married to her work,
so I don’t think she’s dating yet. But I hope it happens – I think it would
be really fun.”
It’s undoubtedly only a matter of time. The series promises to continue to
dig deeper into the crime and relationships of the foursome and flesh out
the bonds even more. However, the show – like all scripted series on
television – has an unexpected and unwanted break due to the Writer’s Guild
strike. So, for now, Dollar is in as much limbo about where her character
is going as the viewers.
“I believe we only have two more [episodes filmed]. One of them is a
wedding. The other is kind of the aftershock of that.”
The day I spoke with Dollar, in fact, was the last day on set before the
series shut down because of the ongoing labor dispute. However, despite
interrupting the buzz that the series has generated and giving her an
unexpected sabbatical, Dollar is trying to keep a positive attitude about the
– much like Cindy undoubtedly would.
all having such a great time right now, it’s really kind of sad to have to
stop for a little while,” Dollar says. “I know we’re all hoping it’s not
going to be too long and they are going to resolve everything quickly. I
certainly hope it won’t hurt any momentum. I hope it’s going make us
stronger. We’ll come back and all be really rested and put out some really
the end, like the old theatrical saying goes: the show is the thing. Now
over a decade into her career, Dollar has had the opportunity to find
projects that interested her in television, film and theater.
She hopes that she will always be able to take advantage of this kind of
Yet, even more important to her than the format is the content. There, she
hopes that she will always find roles that are “versatile and varied. I’m
drawn to actresses’ careers – like I love Mary-Louise Parker and people like
that. I love doing a lot of theater and really great independent film.
That’s sort of the path I want to go on.
“I think, ideally a balance between them is good,” Dollar says. “Usually
when I’m doing TV, I will say I like theater the best. When I’m doing
theater, I’ll say I like TV and film. They are all good for different
reasons. For me it’s really important that I keep doing theater, because if
you get out of practice doing that, I start to feel itchy. It feels like
you haven’t been to the gym in a long time. Theater, that’s kind of my
roots – that’s where I started – and that’s kind of my favorite. But it’s
all kind of the same animal.”
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