After earning her MFA from New York University and playing at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Erica Tazel made a splash in TV in a number of roles before becoming a series regular on “Justified” in 2010. After that, she portrayed Matilda in the 2016 remake of the miniseries “Roots.” Now she plays the founder of a law firm, alongside Delroy Lindo, who hires down-on-her-luck Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight,” which picks up a year after the final episode of “The Good Wife.”
What was it like going from “Justified” to “The Good Fight”?
On “Justified,” Rachel was in a very male-dominated world, which meant she had to be very strong and outspoken. With “The Good Fight,” I’m now in a position of power.
Were you a fan of “The Good Wife”?
I was a huge fan, and I’m in the Christine Baranski fan club. I went through the audition process and within a week of getting the call, I had an offer and had four days to relocate to New York. It was crazy, nerve-wracking, and exciting at the same time. It’s mostly the same crew from “The Good Wife,” with a few of the same cast members and guest stars. It’s been lovely to be welcomed into a group of people that have essentially been together for seven years.
What was your favorite part about “Roots”?
They were giving me the opportunity to play a character from 17 to 54, and I had never done that before.
How do you improve on something that was so genius to begin with? What can you add to these characters?
Olivia Cole played Matilda [in the original]. I absolutely adored her, and those were extremely big shoes to fill. But going into it, I had to let things go, and look into the story of this Matilda, and do everything that I could possibly to give her voice — to give her life. She’s a lovely woman with amazing strength….
Did you know that you wanted to make the transition from theater to television?
I knew it was something I wanted to explore. When I look at women like Meryl Streep, Sophie Okonedo, Naomie Harris, Cate Blanchett — those are the careers that have longevity. But I was curious just as an artist to see if I could be successful in both mediums. Theater is where I’m trained, and those doors will hopefully continue to be open for me as I explore television options. I’m on my second series. I’m knocking on the door of independence, and hoping to find the same fulfillment, joy, and possibility of roles there.