Lucy's living outside the law in new Aussie crime drama
TRUE crime junkie Lucy Lawless is happy to have one foot in the world of cop dramas.
The award-winning actor, who rose to fame as the fierce star of cult TV hit Xena: Warrior Princess, returns to our screens in the Melbourne-filmed drama My Life is Murder.
"I like that it's not exactly a procedural," she says. "It goes into really delicious, tasty worlds, like the most fabulous party you're never invited to. We're entering those worlds to solve crime.
"What MasterChef is to cooking shows this is to crime solving shows. Visually, it's really luxurious and rich.
"There's a lot of humour through the whole series. It's racy, but not sexually."
Lawless, 51, stars as Alexa Crowe - a charismatic and complex former homicide detective. Fearless and unapologetic, Alexa's unique insights into the darker quirks of human nature allow her to prod, provoke and push as she unravels the truth behind the most baffling and bizarre crimes.
Even though she's left the force, former colleague and long-time friend Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry) brings her back to 'consult' on some of his trickier cases, teaming her up with young data analyst Maddison (Ebony Vagulans).
My Life is Murder is the first leading TV role for Vagulans, who was accepted straight from high school into NIDA at the age of 17.
"Working with Ebony was just a dream. She came at 200mph and there was no having to school her. She is going to have a really long career and I'm going to take full credit for her success (laughs)," she says.
"I love the girl pal aspect that's developing, but they're still an odd couple because of the age difference. The only thing that makes it tolerable for a slight misanthrope like Alexa to tolerate having a youngster around is that she's a really smart cookie."
Wentworth star Leah Purcell directed the first two episodes.
"What a force of nature. Leah helped us all find our bearings in this new world," Lawless says. "With Ebony and I and (writer, producer) Claire Tonkin, this is such a strong women's production - with a lot of great people who happen to be males along for the ride."
The series has attracted some talented guest stars including Magda Szubanski, Don Hany, Danielle Cormack and Ryan Corr, but the real scene-stealer is Lawless's feline co-star Captain Thunderbolt.
"I've worked with buckets of rats, locusts, cockroaches, big spiders in my mouth, lots of horses of course, but this is my first cat," she says.
"He's a bit of a drama king. He commands the set of course. I wanted him in all my scenes because I love cats but sometimes he decided the scene was over."
My Life is Murder premieres on Wednesday, July 17, at 8.30pm on Ten/WIN.