Playing a character another actress originated is just the latest chapter in Molly Parker's varied career.
Previously a star of "Deadwood" and "Swingtown," the Canadian-born actress also has been a regular in independent films. She's doing weekly television again as Abby McDeere -- previously Jeanne Tripplehorn's movie role, the wife of a lawyer (Josh Lucas, in Tom Cruise's earlier part) who discovered colleagues' larceny -- in "The Firm," NBC's new Thursday take on the John Grisham story.
Juliette Lewis also having been signed when she got her "Firm" offer, "and what I like about the show is that, at the heart of it, it's this family drama.
"They've been through an incredibly complicated 10 years where they've been isolated by the fact that they were in witness protection (after her husband Mitch turned informant on his previous firm). I'm always attracted to the theme of rebirth, and to me, this family is coming into the world again."
They're doing so in Washington, D.C., with Toronto doubling for the U.S. capital. In the same way Tripplehorn played the part in 1993, Parker's Abby takes an active role as Mitch deals with lingering troubles as well as new ones.
"There is no way I would have been interested in playing the wife' in anything," Parker confirms. "This woman, and it comes straight from the book, is a Grisham woman. She's moral, smart and fiercely intelligent, and in this version, she's clearly (her husband's) partner. They even talk about our firm' and our clients.' I was interested in portraying that."
Favorite movie: "The Big Lebowski"
Favorite television series you're not in: "The Wire"
Favorite singer: Basia Bulat