Sex sells. Or at least that's what CBS is hoping with its newest legal drama Reckless. The series, which premieres Sunday at 9/8c, has been described as the network's "steamy" and "sultry" alternative to the normal summer network rerun blues and, more notably, to CBS' largely more PG-rated programming (with the exception of The Good Wife). But while this may be a venture into new territory for the network, creator and executive producer Dana Stevens promises that the show lives up to the hype, and then some.
"It's very sexy. We would make episodes where we'd be like, 'They are not going to let us do this,'" Stevens tells TVGuide.com. "CBS really meant it when they said, 'We want to push the envelope.'"
Ironically, Reckless' more risqué scenes are set against a rather conservative backdrop. Set and filmed in Charleston, S.C., the drama pits Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood), a brazen defense attorney from the North, against lifelong Charleston resident and newly minted city attorney Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet).
"He's from the South and she's not and he will say to her, 'You can't say this,' or 'You shouldn't ask that way,'" Stevens says. "It's fun to see the Yankee versus the Southern gentleman. Most of the world now would be like Jamie, like bulldoze in there, say whatever you want to say, and he shows that you can subvert things and win cases by being more clever with how you say things and how you make the jury feel."
Adds Gigandet: "That geographical contrast between the two main characters is just not that common. It's been fun to play."
And their differences only begin there. Anna is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and win the case, even if it means employing unconventional tactics that would make most Southern belles blush. "She also isn't afraid to be sexy. There's nothing wrong with being sexy to her and she uses her sexuality sometimes as a tool," Wood says. "It's something that women don't use enough as empowerment and for Jamie, her sexuality is a source of empowerment."
Roy, on the other hand, has other things to worry about aside from work — particularly his two young daughters from his recent failed marriage. "He's not defined by being a lawyer. He's defined by who he is as a man and a father and that is what makes him a great lawyer," Gigandet says. "So many lawyers, they are lawyers. You know a lawyer when they walk into the room. Roy, you wouldn't be able to tell."
However, his skills are not to be underestimated. "That's what makes him an amazing lawyer, because he can just be a real person and see real people's point of view and talk to the jury," Wood says.
But for all their differences, Roy and Jamie find they have one very important thing in common: their morals. "The fact that they don't ever really cross the legal boundary, you kind of see how much character both of these characters have, how high their moral standards are," Gigandet says.
This becomes even more clear when the two find themselves embroiled in a heated police sex scandal that threatens to turn their professional and personal lives upside down, as well as the lives of those around them. "The pilot sets up for us the sort of gray area where personal and professional lives mix and how you balance them and where the line does and doesn't move depending on the situation. You see in the police department, the mixing of personal and professional lives and it doesn't go so well," Wood says. "I think we as an audience are really worried about how Roy and Jamie are going to navigate this from here on out because it can't help but affect them both professionally and personally."
It's this shared integrity, as well as their differences, that attract these two opposites to each other very early on. "The fact that Roy and Jamie are so attracted to each other, but if they act on that attraction, their careers could be in jeopardy, this case could be in jeopardy, I thought it was an interesting way to push that and see how far they would go or not go and how you make a choice," Wood says. "Even Roy and Jamie sometimes break the rules in ways. Maybe they don't break the rules romantically, but in their work ethics, they do break the rules in interesting ways."
Yes, sadly, it's their personal standards, and the case, that will keep these two apart for most, if not all, of the season. "That's one of the reasons that we love Roy is he has always so many priorities that become before his sexual gratification," Wood says. "He doesn't just go around boning everyone that he easily could. He's a father first. He's a lawyer first. I think that's what makes him even more irresistible because he's not the manwhore that he could be."
However, Stevens teases that there will be some close calls ahead for the two. "I think [they] have a lot of romantic moments in the series and it happens kind of right away. There's definitely a sense of intimacy between the two," she says. "They get close to the edge."
Reckless premieres Sunday at 9/8c on CBS.
(Reporting by Robyn Ross)
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)