Fans of the original British series Mistresses won't be surprised to learn that the ABC adaptation is going in a very similar direction with Joss (Jes Macallan) exploring a connection with another woman beginning in Monday's episode.
Sparks first flew in the series premiere, as Joss, who's has been trying to find a home for a lesbian couple, struck up a rapport with one half in Alex (Shannyn Sossamon). But executive producer Rina Mimoun cautions that this isn't necessarily a lesbian story line, as many have dubbed it.
"I'm so fascinated by the way it's being perceived as a lesbian story line because, to me, it was the most heartbreaking in that it's about someone who's just so desperate to make a connection with somebody and she's never actually had it," Mimoun tells TVGuide.com. "The first time she feels it happens to be with a woman, even though her own sexuality is decidedly not gay."
On the original series, Jessica (Shelley Conn) grew close to bride-to-be Alex (Fringe's Anna Torv), which got more complicated as Jess realized that she was falling in love with her. But the ABC series will detour from that story line by also pulling inspiration from the lives of those in the writers' room, says Mimoun. "When you've never had a girlfriend and you make one late in your life, it's such an intense experience," she says. "Women's relationships are like sexual relationships because you're so intense with each other. I think that's what happens with Joss. She gets so caught up in this experience, but she can't quite separate what is love and what is friendship and what is sex. It becomes a challenging mess for her."
Despite the salaciousness expected from a series called Mistresses, Mimoun insists that has nothing to do with why they introduced this Sapphic story line. "It's not just, 'Oh, we wanted to make one of the characters gay so it would be saucy,'" she says. "To me, that exploration of the female friendship was the most interesting because that's where I live. I'm all about dissecting how freaky relationships can be between us women."
Mistresses airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.