If a crazy man pressed a gun against your forehead and threatened to pull the trigger, would you call his bluff? FBI agent Angela Henson does just that in the first minutes of Lifetime's Angela's Eyes, premiering Sunday at 10 pm/ET and all because of her would-be assassin's pupils. Alas, the lady fed's mad skills betray her in the bedroom (or at least en route to), as she deduces that her beau has an ex-wife under wraps. It's intense and fun stuff, and TVGuide.com was thrilled to chat up series star Abigail Spencer about it. Now remember, as she greets us, this gal doesn't tell any lies....
Abigail Spencer: I love TVGuide.com, hi! TVGuide.com is my best friend's favorite site so she reads your stuff all the time. She's religious about it.
TVGuide.com: Aww, thank you! Angela Henson is obviously so, so different from your All My Children character, sweet li'l Becca Tyree. What convinced you you could do this? What made you say, "I can play a tough FBI agent"?
I don't think I looked at it first and foremost as a tough FBI agent. I saw the human being side of it, that this was a woman going through a lot, who had been through a lot with her parents being traitors against the United States, and she's kind of finding herself as she struggles with this kind of "gift." Those were things that really spoke to me. That was what I really responded to, the journey. She's not one thing. Every week that I get a new script I'm like, "Oh, really? That's new...."
TVGuide.com: This show offers you a neat mix of procedural aspects, the dysfunctional family, her sad love-life thing...
Poor little Angela! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Was it that combination that made you say, "I have to do this"?
Yeah, it really did. That and the opportunity to work with [series creator/executive producer] Dan McDermott and [exec producers] Tom Nunan and Scott Shepherd and Lifetime the team they put together was incredible. When my husband read the first six pages of this, he said, "Abby, you have to do this. You have to." That was the final straw. I was like, "OK! If they'll have me, I'll do it."
TVGuide.com: Do you have a "human lie detector" in your own life? Someone that has an unbeatable B.S. meter?
I have to say my parents are pretty good B.S. detectors, especially my father. He's very sensitive to whether something is real or not. And my husband, I can't put anything past him! [Laughs] Like, I'll put something on the credit card that I know I should check with him before I buy it, and the credit-card company will call him to tell him that I just bought this thing! I'm like, "How did that happen?!" It's like everyone's in on it!
TVGuide.com: Have there been times in your own life when you could have used Angela's skills?
Absolutely. I'm very much like, "Everyone's innocent until proven guilty" Angela and I are very different that way so I've had friendships and things happen in business relationships where I wish I had been more savvy. I think, though, at a gut level we all know [what's true or not]; it's just a matter of how aware we are at that point.
TVGuide.com: Do you use or have you been tempted to use any of the things you're learning from Angela's own insights? Like, "Ooh, that person's eyeballs widened when they spoke to me, so...."
Oh, totally! Like, I'm listening to your voice right now trying to decipher if you're being straight with me.
TVGuide.com: [Laughs] If I'm being straight with you?! Of course I am!
But do you really care, Matt? That's what I want to know. [Laughs] I'm just kidding! I have been reading this book called Never Be Lied to Again that is a great reference point written by this human lie detector a behaviorist who goes through all the physicalities of how people tell when someone is lying. I don't want to be so aware of it, like Angela, where it totally ruins your life, where you become way too overly sensitive and you can't really function. But it's an important skill for when [you are] dealing and communicating with people. It's about being more aware, even of what you are doing, for your own good. I don't want to do anything that might seem shady or like it isn't the complete truth. If I'm doing something that's alluding to that, it's good for me to know so I can stop doing that.
TVGuide.com: Since the show is called Angela's Eyes, and there are plenty of close-ups of your own pretty peepers, can we expect the mascara and contact- lens-endorsement deal offers to start pouring in?
[Laughs] That would be hilarious! I didn't even think about that! I'll be endorsing, like, glue-on eyelashes and eyebrow extensions... all that stuff!
For more on Angela's Eyes and the "blessing but a curse" that Abigail Spencer's character beholds, pick up the new TV Guide.
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