Tonight at 10 pm/ET, Nip/Tuck will embark on its third season, having matured gracefully over its previous two. By combining mind-bendingly twisted story lines with a stellar cast, the creators of FX's award-winning drama have built themselves a beauty. One integral part of that cast is Roma Maffia, who, as Dr. Liz Cruz, portrays a character many critics refer to as the conscience of the show. TVGuide.com caught up with the good doctor — an alum of Chicago Hope and Profiler — to get her take on what keeps Nip/Tuck from sagging.
TVGuide.com: Are you having as much fun shooting Nip/Tuck's third season as you had with the first two?
Roma Maffia: I'm actually having more fun. The first year was really hard, because we wanted to make it work. The second year, at least for me, felt like a lot of pressure to deliver on the promise of the first year. For this one, there's not as much pressure because we're more established. I don't want to sound jaded, but now it's more about doing the work as opposed to feeling like we have to prove ourselves.
TVGuide.com: What about Dr. Cruz makes her appealing to play?
Maffia: She's funny. She's complicated. As the scripts come along, I'm constantly learning what she's all about.
TVGuide: What can we expect from Season 3? Will audiences get to see a lot of her?
Maffia: You are going to get more Dr. Cruz, I'm happy to say. She finds love, which is exciting. It feels like everything is a bit of a surprise this season, so I don't want to tell you too much. The scripts are really good, though, and speaking for myself, Liz gets to show a little flesh.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel comfortable doing sex scenes?
Maffia: Yeah, but I'm going to have to gear up for it. I kept thinking Liz should have her share because everyone else was getting to do it, so in that way I'm very excited. But when it comes down to the day we have to shoot, if I have to show anything more than an arm or a kiss, it will get very interesting.
TVGuide.com: What sets Nip/Tuck apart from the other series you've worked on?
Maffia: Well, the way Ryan Murphy has created Nip/Tuck is very unique — all the way down the line, from the look of it to the scripts, he sets it apart from the other things I've done. Ryan is always thinking light-years ahead. One time during the first season, we were at lunch and Ryan said, "I think you're going to have a love affair with a tranny." First of all, I didn't even know what a tranny was. I mean, I knew other phrases, but I'd never heard "tranny." So at first, I was like, "Yeah, sure, that sounds good." But when they broke it down for me, I was like, "Huh? What?" I never would have thought of that, and I never would have thought it would turn out to be such a lovely story.
TVGuide.com: Between you, Dylan Walsh, and Julian McMahon, whose personality is most similar to their character's?
Maffia: That's a tough one. Before I say anything else, let me first say Julian is definitely not like Christian. I've had to tell people that before. If he were like Christian, he'd have no time to learn his lines unless they were written on the ceiling.
TVGuide.com: What's your favorite episode from the soon-to-be-released on DVD Season 2?
Maffia: Probably, the [conjoined] twin one. It was really startling. That imprinted itself in my mind. I like how it had that whole turnaround, the whole thing about separation. What I love about the show is that they always work in the metaphor. No matter what it is, the metaphor always works itself smoothly in to the story line. I think that's what keeps the show really smart.