Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
In this week’s episode, Variety’s managing editor of TV Cynthia Littleton talks with Edie Falco, the star of “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” who is Emmy-nominated for lead actress in a limited series for her portrayal of criminal defense attorney Leslie Abramson.
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As the “True Crime” template goes, “The Menendez Murders” is based on the real story of brothers Joseph and Lyle Menendez, who were convicted in 1994 of murdering their parents. When she received news of the project, Falco admitted she knew little about the crime, recalling only that it revolved around “these two bratty Beverly Hills kids who killed their parents.”
“Once I sat down with Dick Wolf and he told me what the real story was, it’s so funny, in a time of fake news how much that affected me,” Falco said. “That I had just been told inaccuracies about the story and a terrible injustice had been done — that was moving to me.”
While prepping for the role, Falco did not have access to the real Abramson as a resource. Though the defense attorney’s story is featured heavily in the show, she refused to participate in documenting it. Abramson famously came under scrutiny during the time of the trial under suspicion that she tampered with medical records in an attempt to prove her clients were operating under trauma inflicted by their allegedly abusive parents.
“She was not interested in becoming involved in this,” Falco explained. “This was not one of the happier chapters in her life.”
Of course, “The Menendez Murders” was far from Falco’s “Law & Order” debut. Between the years of 1993 and 1998, Falco played another defense lawyer, Sally Bell, on the original series.
“The whole franchise is a staple of New York City acting life,” Falco said. “It’s like a rite of passage — you have to have done an ‘Law & Order’ to be a legitimate actor.”
Legitimate indeed, Falco’s stint on the original “Law & Order” was just the beginning of a long and flourishing TV career. Her body of work covers multiple iconic roles, including the title character in “Nurse Jackie” and Carmela Soprano of “The Sopranos.”
“I like working, and I like working consistently,” Falco said of her TV reputation. “I love showing up on a set where I know everybody and we have a rapport. It really is the ideal job for me.”
But one of her former characters is set to hit the big screen soon, with talks of a “Sopranos” movie in the works from producer David Chase, who has not yet contacted Falco about the project.
“I found out about it like everybody else on the news,” Falco said. “I would be as excited as any fan of the show to see it.”
As far as a potential reboot of the series for TV, Falco has mixed feelings. While she would be interested to see what’s next for Carmela, she isn’t so sure “The Sopranos” should be included in the revival trend.
“I even said to David [Chase] once that I think Carmela should take over the family business,” Falco recalled. “It is the land [in the industry] of people continuing old series. And there’s a part of me that’s also not thrilled with that. I love the fact that we ended it when we did, and we could walk away from something being very proud of it.”
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