In case you haven’t gotten the memo, women are done apologizing. Done saying ‘sorry’ for who they are and what they stand for. It’s abundantly clear there won’t be any apologies from the women of BET’s new series In Contempt. The legal drama, premiering Tuesday, April 10 at 10 p.m. ET, is set in a New York City legal aid office and follows Gwen Sullivan (Erica Ash, Survivor’s Remorse). Gwen is arguably the most talented public defender in her district with tons of passion and opinions to go along with her skills.
But Gwen isn’t the only fierce woman on In Contempt. Her best friend and roommate, the daring Tracy Campbell (Megan Hutchings), works alongside her and isn’t afraid to break rules in order to get what she wants. The TV Junkies recently caught up with Hutchings to discuss the new series and why she thinks viewers will want to tune in for real world issues, the special friendship between Tracy and Gwen, and women who unabashedly go after what they want.
Hutchings can also be seen on the original CBC comedy series Crawford about a dysfunctional family with three children whose home gets invaded by racoons. Season 1 episodes are currently available now on CBC’s website.
The TV Junkies: So Tracy’s said to not be afraid to break the rules. What can you tell us about who she is and what she’s all about?
Megan Hutchings: She definitely is not afraid to break the rules! Tracy is an extremely bold and brave woman. She goes after what and who she wants without much hesitation. She lives outside of the lines that society has drawn for women and doesn’t apologize for it. She isn’t afraid to admit that she likes sex and men, that she uses her sexuality and beauty to her advantage and that she actually has fun doing so. She comes from a complicated and hurtful past that sometimes can drive her to make questionable choices or decisions but ultimately, she is a very smart woman with a big heart.
TTVJ: What drew you to the role and this project? Why do you think people will enjoy In Contempt?
MH: Tracy’s sense of freedom. She has guts! She isn’t scared to say exactly what’s on her mind and she refuses to live her life based on what’s “expected” of her. I think viewers, especially female viewers, will kind of love her “I don’t give a shit” attitude just like I did. They also might hate her! But I think that might stem from a sense of envy – we all sort of wish we could do and say as Tracy does. But what’s so interesting about her is that that persona in itself is somewhat of a mask. Many of us put a mask forward out of fear that the world will reject who we really are and that made Tracy really human to me despite her “carefree” persona.
The show deals with real issues that I think the world is ready to face. We’re diving into complicated territory without really sugarcoating it. It’s exciting to be part of a project that is entertaining with the love triangles, relationships and friendships but also pays attention to the unjust and unfair issues that are happening in our world. People are being forgotten about and left behind because of the color of the skin, their financial bracket, mental illness etc. and our show is drawing attention to that thanks to our amazing showrunner Terri Kopp.
TTVJ: I always love seeing depictions of female friendships on TV and think we don’t get enough of them. What can you share about the friendship between Gwen and Tracy?
MH: They have a really special friendship. What’s cool about their friendship, and different from most female friendships depicted in the media, is that there really is little to no competition between the two. There’s nothing indicated in our show saying that only one of us can be strong, successful and powerful. We lift each other up and truly want what’s best for the other. We have worked out our office and home dynamic and we both are happy within our roles. Of course, we have conflicts or disagreements but they usually stem from genuine concern for the other.
TTVJ: While Gwen and Tracy are obviously close, can you preview some of the relationships Gwen may have with the other characters on the show during the season?
MH: Gwen has one (or two!) love interests that grow over the season. It will be interesting to see what team viewers side with. She has a complicated relationship with her father that we begin to learn more about and she’s always super invested in her clients. She takes Vanessa the rookie under her wing (much to Tracy’s dismay) and tries her best to guide her through our complicated world.
TTVJ: What was it like stepping into the courtroom for this role? Did you have to brush up on all your legal jargon?
MH: We were really lucky to have our showrunner Terri Kopp help us prepare and to have her on set every day. Terri was a public defender in New York so obviously she was very familiar with the lingo, rules of the courtroom and so on. She was so generous with her time and made it very clear from the start of production to end that she was available for guidance. She drew up diagrams for us, sent us articles and documentaries for research. It was scary at first. I’ve never thought of myself in a “business woman” or “professional” light and was honestly scared I wasn’t “smart” enough to portray the role of a lawyer. Luckily, we had such a supportive, amazing cast and crew that always made me feel safe that I forgot about the courtroom and just played.
TTVJ: It seems that Tracy may have a secret that she’s hiding. What can you preview about what that secret may be?
MH: Hmmmm… Tracy may not be exactly who we think she is? That’s all I’m going to say for now!
TTVJ: You’re also in the CBC series Crawford. Who do you play there and what was it like working on a show with such a crazy and non-traditional premise?
MH: I play Veronica who is Cynthia’s (Jill Hennessy) rival and enemy at the office. Veronica is sort of a mean girl. She’s used to getting her way, is a daddy’s girl and totally believes the world should revolve around her. Everything about working on Crawford was just amazing. Mike Clattenburg is open minded, crazy, supportive and awesome. He just encouraged us to play, play, play – the weirder the better. I was a small part of this show but I loved working on it! Such talented people.
TTVJ: Do you have any other upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for?
MH: I have a couple of projects in the works that I can’t talk about yet so stay tuned!
Are you planning on checking out In Contempt? Add your thoughts below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.