The new ABC drama Karen Sisco (debuting Oct. 1 at 10 pm/ET) has been described over and over as a show based on the U.S. Marshal Jennifer Lopez played in the movie Out of Sight. (You know, the role that made us think she was a real actress?) And yes, there is a steady supply of sexy convicts (à la George Clooney's character) flirting with Karen, played by Spy Kids mom Carla Gugino. But Sisco's creators also insist this is a whole 'nother story.
"You can't base a series on a woman who's always chasing the same bank robber," notes exec producer Michael Shamberg. "So we simply took the very good character who had already been in some of [novelist] Elmore Leonard's work and said, 'Okay, let's make a whole series with her own stories.'"
For her part, Gugino seems more concerned with making this not just another cop show than with filling J.Lo's shoes. "I was so refreshed that it was not solely procedural," Gugino says, not mentioning that other Miami-based crime series. "It is character-driven... and people won't be sort of spewing out information solely to sound cool."
Gugino — who claims she wasn't looking for TV work — found Karen's quirky tough gal vibe appealing. "She's very much a woman and yet functions a lot like a bachelor," she explains. "She has had affairs with married men. And she has an incredible relationship with her father, which is one of the things that I also found to be so great. I can't remember when I've seen the main relationship in something be actually between a father and a daughter in a really real way."
Gugino says her own family ties are part of the reason Sisco will only shoot on location a few times during the year. "I have family [in California]," she says, "and if we're [in Miami], I'll never see them. And I might just die."