Fans of “Homicide: Life on the Street” often recognize her and Thorne gained notice playing the off-the-wall 9/11 widow Sheila Keefe on “Rescue Me” before landing the lead role as Dr. Dani Santino, a newly divorced psychotherapist with two teenage kids.
“If Sheila had a Dr. Dani in her life, maybe she wouldn’t have been crazy,” Thorne says, noting how the two characters are polar opposites. “Going from one extreme to the other was kind of scary, but that’s the reason we act — to jump into these roles that take you places you would never go in your own life.”
After working in strong ensemble casts for so long, Thorne admits playing a lead was a bit terrifying but “a learning experience for all of us.”
Working with husband-wife co-creators and showrunners Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro proved inspiring to Thorne.
“They have made me feel as if I’ve been working with them for years, and that’s conducive to me wanting to please them,” she says.
The duo also encourages input from the cast. If Thorne suggests an idea, they will listen, though not always incorporate the suggestion into the storyline. “Half the time they’re like, ‘OK, that was a nice try and we’re happy you were able to get that out of your system, but it wasn’t right so we’re not going to use it,’ ” she says.
Thorne says the romantic relationship of her character in season one was well drawn. “I liked the pace between Matt (Marc Blucas) and Dani because it felt like real life. It let Dani be alone and stand on her own two feet. That was important to me. I didn’t want to play a woman that needed to be taken care of.”