TVGuide.com just last week broke the news that later this season Patricia Wettig will take a break from playing mistress-with-the-mostess Holly Harper on ABC's Brothers & Sisters (Sundays at 10 pm/ET) in order to reprise her role as Prison Break's Caroline Reynolds, aka Madame President of the United States. At ABC's recent winter press-tour party, the three-time Emmy winner shared with us her take on B&S' Holly, how the deal came down for her to rejoin Prison Break, and who in her own family couldn't believe she chose playing an "other woman" over the ruler of the free world!
TVGuide.com: Holly and Nora (Sally Field) appeared to find some common ground a few weeks ago on Brothers & Sisters. Could the two women ever be friends?
Patricia Wettig: Well, I don't think we've quite met on common ground. It's always tense. And I don't think we've ever actually been friends or that we ever will be, but circumstances keep putting us together. I think what's particular about [our relationship] is that each of us has a prejudice about how the other should be. But there have been some surprises. I'm not sure where it's ultimately going, but I do enjoy it.
TVGuide.com: Holly is every wife's worst nightmare — the secret mistress. What reaction do you get from viewers?
Wettig: People come up to me and say, "Oh, I wanted to hate your character! You're the evil woman, the nemesis.... But last week you said something that made me want to like you."
TVGuide.com: What's it like working with your husband [B&S executive producer Ken Olin] and children on the show?
Wettig: Well, I'll tell you, my daughter [Roxy Olin] is on a few shows playing Jason Lewis' lover, and my son [Cliff Olin] wrote the Christmas/Hanukkah episode, so Ken and I and Cliff and Roxy were all at the read-through [for that show] and it all felt so normal. I've been around family and friends in so many professional settings. Afterward, I say to myself, "Do you know how unusual it is that Roxy is doing a part that Cliff wrote, and that Ken and I are there, too?" I guess so much of thirtysomething was about family and friends. We knew [thirtysomething creator/executive producer] Marshall Herskovitz and [his wife, writer] Susan Shilliday.... Everybody was all entwined. It all seemed perfectly normal.
TVGuide.com: Backing up a bit, we should note that Jason Lewis' character (Kevin's boyfriend, Tyler) is gay....
Wettig: Ah, but he has a girlfriend — there's the complication. It's good. It's playing out very well.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of daughters, are we going to see Holly's soon?
Wettig: Yes, I just read the episode! The character is, like, 21, and she's a college girl. She's potentially the next sibling [to join the Walker clan]. She shows up in the very last scene of this last episode that I just read. [TVGuide.com's Ausiello Report has since broken the news that Everwood's Emily VanCamp has landed the role, and started filming this week.]
TVGuide.com: What can you say about your return to Prison Break?
Wettig: I'm doing a couple of voice-overs off camera for a couple [of shows]. Then I'm doing an episode [where I'll be on screen], and I believe it's a scene with Wentworth [Miller, who plays Michael]. I have not seen the script.
TVGuide.com: You get to see your former Prison Break sibling, John Billingsley (The Nine), at ABC functions, yes?
Wettig: Yes. It's so funny. We saw each other at the ABC upfronts [last May] and were like, "Wait a minute...!"
TVGuide.com: Do you know much about how the legalities worked out between Fox and ABC?
Wettig: I do. Fox wanted me to be a regular, so I had to make a choice [last summer], obviously. But I told them I could do one [episode]. Then Fox called ABC and asked, "If she did voice-overs for a couple, and then only appears in one show, would that be all right?" They both agreed.
TVGuide.com: Sounds very amicable; you don't always hear it working out like that.
Wettig: I know.
TVGuide.com: Maybe the decision-makers at ABC are Prison Break fans?
Wettig: [Laughs] I don't know! But my son is a big fan. At the time I made the decision to go with Brothers & Sisters, he said to me, "Are you nuts? You can't leave Prison Break!"
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