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Law and Order : Criminal Intent - Saffron Burrows Q&A Transcript by daet

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									Final Transcript

  NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES: Saffron Burrows Q&A Session
  July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT

Saffron Burrows – Law & Order Criminal Intent
Chrissy Fehskens – New Media Strategies


C. Fehskens         Good morning. This is Chrissy Fehskens from New Media Strategies. I’d

                    to thank everyone for joining us for today’s Law & Order Criminal Intent

                    Q&A session and start things off by thanking Saffron Burrows for being

                    with us today to answer questions. As you know Saffron plays Detective

                    Stevens on Law & Order Criminal Intent, which will air their two hour

                    season finale this coming Tuesday, July 6th at a special start time of 9/8

                    central on USA Network.
                                                                 NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                       Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                  July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                        Page 2

Moderator      Our first question comes from Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation

               Magazine. Please go ahead.

J. Steinberg   What originally made you want to be a part of this show?

S. Burrows     First of all, Jeff Goldblum comes to mind because we’d already made a

               movie together and I think he’s first of all, a wonderful actor and very,

               very witty intelligent man. I knew that if you’re going to be working on a

               show like this where you work really long hours and long days, then he’d

               be a great comrade to deal with. And then, of course, Dick Wolf,

               everything that Dick Wolf created has a great deal of integrity to it and a

               huge fan base of people who become, I guess, involved in his writing

               because it’s so smart and gritty and truthful. So I also embraced …

               Manhattan, so the combination of those elements was really attractive to


J. Steinberg   You have a lovely English accent. How difficult is it for you to play an


S. Burrows     Well, I’ve done it a bunch of times in films, so I felt it’s not something

               new to me. But it gets hard around one or two in the morning. If you’re
                                                                  NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                        Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                   July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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               doing a little bit of a night shoot and you get relaxed and sleepy, then it’s a

               bit more challenging. But most of the time it’s okay because I’ve had

               experience before. Also being around Americans helped, I guess if they

               were English people in the cast with me, then their accents might rub off

               of me, but luckily there aren’t. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is actually

               from Chicago, which is where my character is from. So I’m not intending

               to do a Chicago accent at all. But occasionally if there’s a specific little

               detail about that city, she’s helpful with that.

J. Steinberg   What’s been your most memorable moment so far from filming this


S. Burrows     I think just the exuberance of the cast and crew because this is its ninth

               year. There’s a lot of new faces, but apparently there’s people who have

               been on the show for a long time. There’s a lovely team spirit to the thing.

               And so I think just the overall feeling. I’ve made friends on the crew,

               which is always nice, the feeling of camaraderie that builds up over

               working together. On films or movies, you shoot together for a while and

               then you all say good-bye. On this show, it’s seven or eight months

               filming, so you have time to build up a rapport and get into a rhythm with

               people in the way that you would more in a regular job.
                                                              NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                    Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                               July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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             So that’s been fund for me. Both Jeff and I said we’ve always done

             theatre and I think the longest I’ve done in the theatre is six months. So

             for both Jeff and I, this is our longest ever job we’ve done we both

             realized where you’re actually with the same people for that length of

             time. So I like that a lot.

Moderator    Our next question comes from Pattye Grippo with Please go


P. Grippo    The first question I had for you was so you’ve had an entire season now of

             getting into this character and had time to become more comfortable with

             her. Do you think you’re starting to do anything differently with her now

             that you’ve had this time with her than you did at the beginning of the


S. Burrows   I think I found out more about her because I think the writers, they know

             some things from the outset and then some things they develop as we go

             along. So I particularly enjoyed the episode called ―The Disciple,‖ where

             Stevens has a history from Chicago, her mentor and whole story of the

             death row case, which may or may not have been wrongfully convicted.
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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             That was really interesting for me because I got to find out all these things

             about Stevens. And then I enjoyed also the thing of developing a

             partnership on screen. We have a lot of ex-cops on our show who are

             security and driving and in all sorts of areas of the crew, actually. They all

             tell me that being partners on the beat in the NYPD for years, it’s a lot like

             a marriage.

             So the partnership that grows between Nichols and Stevens, I think, only

             time will provide the sort of accumulative effect of, I guess, investigating

             of bunch of cases together. It makes us as actors very relaxed with each

             other to spend that much time together and hopefully as characters, that’s

             reflect on screen as well.

P. Grippo    Along those lines and also you mentioned before that you get along well

             with the crew. But when you first joined the show that had been on for so

             long, did you feel welcome instantly? Was there a sense of chemistry

             among all of you or did you have to work on that?

S. Burrows   I have to say they’re very welcoming, really. They’re really great. I think

             American crews in general are very friendly. There’s a lot of people there

             who are there just to make you feel comfortable, a really great costume
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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             department and hair and make-up. So all of the stuff as an actor that you

             spend time with, those departments that you at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., you’re

             with all those people before you’re even on set, there’s a lot of back time

             that obviously remains behind the camera where you’re just being taken

             care of by people who are really good at their jobs.

             So I guess I felt assured that Dick Wolf’s company had hired the best

             people in New York. And they’re there to put you at ease and make you

             feel good and make you as relaxed as possible. So that when you’re

             playing the scenes, that’s all you’re thinking about is the actual scenes

             themselves. So I must say they’re very, very good at making you

             comfortable and welcoming you to New York and finding you a really

             nice place to live, all of the stuff that makes you feel good when you’re

             stepping into a new job.

Moderator    The next question comes from Lena Lamoray with

             Please go ahead.

L. Lamoray   You have fantastic on screen chemistry with Jeff. So what is it like

             working with him?
                                                                NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                      Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                 July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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S. Burrows   You think we have chemistry?

L. Lamoray   Oh, yes.

S. Burrows   Oh, good, I’m glad. It’s so much fun. I don’t know if you’ve already

             spoken to him, but he’s a very funny man. In fact, I’m going to see him

             on stage. I’m in London and he’s doing a play here, so I’m going to see

             him on Monday doing his play. He’s incredibly bright and funny. And I

             guess he’s probably wittier than most people would ever know and so

             that’s really nice to be around, the combination of intelligence and

             irreverence. He takes care of me. He’s a gentleman. He’s very caring

             and loving and it’s great. It’s really fun.

L. Lamoray   He’s very easy to work with.

S. Burrows   He’s very easy to work with. He’s incredibly respectful of everybody and

             treats people really well, which I like. He has amazing energy. He’s

             always the one at the end of a long day who has the most energy left when

             everyone else is flagging. He’s incredible, yes.

L. Lamoray   What can we expect from the season finale and from Serena?
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                      Page 8

S. Burrows   There’s a very interesting turn of events with Jeff’s character. I don’t

             know how much I’m allowed to say, but something occurs with Jeff’s

             background. There’s a case that we deal with in the season finale that’s

             very, very cool and a shockingly violent case, really and we decide we

             need help from an unusual direction. So Nichols and I, along with the

             captain go into a process with somebody where we asked for someone’s

             help that Nichols knows personally and that person helps us solve the


             It’s interesting because it’s the home life comes in to help us in our

             working world. It’s interesting for me because I get to find out a lot more

             about Nichols. And it’s a case that’s very, it’s disturbing and confusing

             and very hard to solve. So, yes, it’s very well written, I think based on a

             true story. I’m being very vague, aren’t I, to keep you guessing?

F. Hersh     It’s Farrah (USA Network Publicity) You can actually say - Yes, you can

             say it’s Nichols’ father.

S. Burrow    I didn’t know. Am I allowed to say who plays him?
                                                                     NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                           Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                      July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                            Page 9

F. Hersh        Yes, F. Murray Abraham.

S. Burrow       I wasn’t sure how secretive I had to be.

Moderator       Our next question comes from Nancy Harrington from Pop Culture

                Passionistas. Please go ahead.

N. Harrington   I’m also here with my sister, Amy, who’s my writing partner. We’re

                wondering before this you were known primarily as a movie actress.

                What made you decide to switch over to TV?

S. Burrows      Well, I think it’s interesting you said that because I realize that I did a little

                bit on Boston Legal, like a season on Boston Legal. I realized that one of

                the things you don’t have with movie acting is the feeling of continuity

                with people. You build up a nice rapport and a way of working and then

                that stops and you all say good-bye. I realized on Boston Legal that I

                rather enjoyed, even though I was just part of the ensemble; I rather

                enjoyed that feeling of continuum.

                So when this option came up would I liked to go and talk to them about it

                to Dick Wolf’s company, and also Jeff was a big draw because I’d already
                                                                 NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                       Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                  July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                       Page 10

                worked with Jeff and I liked him a lot. I was much more open to it than I

                would have been if I hadn’t already dipped my toes into television with

                David Kelly’s show. So I think I was very drawn to that part of it, I must

                say. But you know actors are such transient beings. We spend a lot of

                our life in hotel rooms. The idea of being in New York, which I love and

                working on something I would enjoy with some kind of sense of

                continuity where I have an apartment and I live there was quite attractive

                to me.

N. Harrington   Now we’ve read that you just passed the final test and you’re 100% full

                legal citizen. I’m just wondering how you plan on spending your first 4th

                of July as an American.

S. Burrows      I was meant to be flying back to the states on the 4th of July because my

                friend has a beach house, which I enjoy. Well, funny enough, I have some

                things to do in London, including going and seeing Jeff on stage on the

                west end. So embarrassingly I might be in Europe for my first 4th of July.

Moderator       Our next question comes from Troy Rogers with Please go

                                                                NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                      Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                 July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                      Page 11

T. Rogers    How does it feel to join a show in its ninth season with the original stars


S. Burrows   Luckily I didn’t allow myself to pay too much attention to that because it’s

             like joining school when you come a little late to high school and

             everyone else has been there for a while. I certainly felt shy on my first

             day. I think the good thing with the show is that they wanted us to be very

             much, Zach Nichols’ and my character, Serena, to be very much these new

             individuals who have a big history. And also what I like about the writing

             for the stars before us and for us is that we’ve already come to it with a lot

             of life. So all you can do is try and serve the writing that they’ve given

             you and not pay too much attention to the weight, the reputation of the

             thing is so enormous that I think it’s best to try to and be present and do a

             good job. Otherwise, it would be a little too overwhelming.

T. Rogers    Do you watch the news differently nowadays? Do you pick out certain

             cases on TV and go, oh, we’re probably going to be doing that in a couple

             of weeks?

S. Burrows   I read the papers a little differently. I don’t really watch TV news so much

             because I find it a little too sensationalist for my taste, but I read the New
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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             York Times every day. I certainly read crime stories probably with a

             different eye, yes, I do. And I listen to NPR a lot, though when there’s an

             in depth story about something, I definitely pay attention in a different

             way. It’s nice to read about disturbing stories and have an intellectual

             viewpoint, rather than just one of being a worried member of the general


             So I guess in a way when I went down to meet the major case squad who

             are show is based on, they have a very gung ho attitude, of course, towards

             crime and the satisfaction they have when they solve a case well and do a

             job well. So, yes, there’s a different relationship that develops certainly,

             even though we’re just doing it on screen. It probably has changed my

             way of looking at things.

T. Rogers    Now that we know that F. Murray Abraham is going to be in this finale—

S. Burrows   Yes, I’ve just been told that I’m allowed to say that because I wasn’t sure

             if I was allowed to disclose. Yes, he plays Jeff’s dad.

T. Rogers    What was it like working opposite of him?
                                                                NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                      Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                 July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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S. Burrows   Oh, he’s wonderful. It was very exciting. We have these arias that the

             show has every week. We almost have a double aria in this one, but

             there’s very, very intense sequence of events that takes place with F.

             Murray at the pinnacle of it at the fulcrum. And then I’m sort of there

             witnessing what’s happened to my partner and how he’s being affected by

             that. And it’s incredibly powerful. What a wonderful actor.

             In fact, he gave me a gift at the end of one day. He was in a scene, but he

             didn’t have any text. He was there to add dramatic effect at a certain

             point. So he spent the day writing, spending afternoon writing out all of

             Shakespeare’s sonnets that he could remember on a note pad. And then at

             the end of the day, he gave me all the sonnets, which I love. But he’s

             terrific. There’s a lot of improvisation that went on, actually, in that

             episode. It was very alive.

Moderator    Our next question comes from Becca Schiel with Pop Culture Madness.

             Please go ahead.

B. Schiel    As a whole new cast with a completely different set of characters, how are

             you all setting yourselves apart from the previous seasons while also

             staying connected with this established series?
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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S. Burrows   I think Jeff and I would leave that up to the writers to take charge of that

             because I have complete respect for them. They know the structure of the

             story so well and the shape of the show and the history of the show. So I

             think I bow to them in that respect.

B. Schiel    What does your character, Serena Stevens, bring to the show that’s

             different from her predecessor, Megan Wheeler?

S. Burrows   Or Kathryn Erbe?

B. Schiel    Oh, yes, what does she bring to the show that’s just different from her


S. Burrows   I’m not sure. I guess you’d have to ask the audience. One thing that’s

             nice is just when you’re—there’s something nice about playing—Jeff and

             I, funny that we have the same birthday, not exactly the same year, but we

             have the same birthday. There’s a kind of a nice—I don’t know. I’m

             enjoying her own particular set of characteristics, Stevens, and the way

             that I’m allowed to develop a partnership with somebody.
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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             I’ve come from another city. I probably have a tougher background.

             Nichols’ background is a little bit more gentle and intellectual I think than

             my own, which is a military one with my father in the military. So I

             wouldn’t know how to compare and contrast that to previous characters,

             but I’m enjoying so far having someone unfold in front of my eyes so that

             I find out things almost as we’re shooting them. So I’m given a new script

             and discover a little bit more about her.

             I like the way they don’t patronize the audience. So when we have a

             crime to solve, we’re not going into endless melodrama about our private

             lives. We do give each other little tiny bit of information that become

             hopefully a gentle reveal over time, which I think is hopefully an attractive

             way to find out about someone’s life because it’s rather subtly done. So

             I’m enjoying that a lot.

Moderator    Our next question comes from Blair Marnell with Crave Online. Please

             go ahead.

B. Marnell   What direction would you like to see your character take in the next

             season of the show?
                                                                NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                      Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                 July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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S. Burrows   I think I’d just like her to continue on the trajectory. I had this episode,

             ―The Disciple,‖ with this death row references and the reference to the

             past and things. I think I’d like to continue on a trajectory where we,

             obviously the paramount shape of each episode is that there’s a particular

             case and there’s a particular line of thought where Jeff and I put our heads

             together, along with our captain and try to figure out what on Earth

             happened to someone. I think what I like is for us to find out more about

             Stevens in the process of this occurring. And I’m sure, I like very much in

             the ―The Disciple‖ where Jeff and I were a little bit butting heads together

             and sort of enjoying each other at the same time. So I think there’s

             probably room for more of that where - how would I say it - our own

             instincts at work sometimes don’t always align, but then we seem to get

             back on track with each other at some point in solving a case. That was a

             very verbose answer. I guess I’d like more personal drama and more

             professional drama to go hand in hand.

Moderator    Our next question comes from Tiffany Vogt with Nice Girls TV. Please

             do ahead.

T. Vogt      If there’s one element of the character that you could describe as one thing

             you love or find you’re most proud of, what would that be?
                                                                NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                      Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                 July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
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S. Burrows   From one of the episodes?

T. Vogt      Not from any episodes, just thinking as a character trait or quality?

S. Burrows   You mean for Stevens or for myself?

T. Vogt      For your character.

S. Burrows   I kind of like the way the two partners are allowed to very much be

             themselves with each other. I like the gentle flirtation that’s building up in

             a way that’s enjoyable in the way that people do enjoy in their work space.

             But there’s a degree of professionalism and I think she really loves her job

             and gets a kick out of it. So they are at the highest level of policing in

             New York City. And I think there’s a great deal of satisfaction from doing

             your job well. So I like her warmth and the fact that she also takes it quite

             seriously and appropriately seriously what she does and tackles it with

             appropriate urgency. So I’m enjoying the writing a lot I must say.

T. Vogt      What are you going to be doing on your hiatus? Are you going to have

             any projects you’re working on?
                                                               NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES
                                                                     Host: Chrissy Fehskens
                                                                July 1, 2010/11:30 a.m. EDT
                                                                                     Page 18

S. Burrows    I’m going to try and avoid all projects. Right now I’m in England visiting

              my family and going to family events. And then I’m going to be back in

              Los Angeles trying to avoid all busyness and projects, just being as low

              key as possible.

C. Fehskens   Ladies and gentlemen, if there are no additional questions I’d like to once

              again thank Saffron for joining us today. To remind everybody to tune in

              to the two hour season finale episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent,

              which will air at a special start time of 9/8 central on USA Network.

              Thanks again, everybody, for joining us and enjoy the rest of your day.

S. Burrows    Thank you.

Moderator     Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive

              Teleconference. You may now disconnect.

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