A two-time Emmy winner as the high-pitched-in-all-ways Karen Walker on "Will & Grace" (still shown in weekday repeats on Lifetime), the typically amusing actress surely isn't lacking work. She's a regular on Adult Swim's "Childrens Hospital"; she's had guest roles lately on ABC's "Happy Endings" and NBC's "Parks and Recreation" (which co-stars her husband, Nick Offerman) and "Up All Night"; and she's supplying voices for the soon-to-start Season 2 of Fox's animated "Bob's Burgers."
"I remembered seeing the billboards, but I hadn't seen the show," the spirited Mullally recalls of receiving the "Breaking In" offer. "They sent me three episodes, and I thought, 'This definitely has potential.' I got on the phone with the producers, and they were very nice, and we talked about what qualities might play best for my character. Then they wrote two sample scenes, and I thought this was something I could have a good time with."
Though Michael Rosenbaum ("Smallville") has left "Breaking In," Mullally is enjoying working with another newcomer to the show: Welsh actress Erin Richards, who plays the new chief's executive assistant.
"She's quite good, and she adds a fun element," Mullally says. "And she's not hard to look at. It's a really fun group."
Joining an existing series isn't new for Mullally, who did the same on the Starz comedy "Party Down" after Jane Lynch left to begin her "Glee" run on Fox.
"I would say the difference is that on 'Party Down,' they didn't miss a beat," Mullally notes. "They just plugged me in and carried on exactly the same as before. 'Breaking In' has been completely revamped, and it's almost like starting from scratch."
The fact that Slater's character is no longer the boss alters "Breaking In" automatically. "Christian has so much energy, just a bottomless well of it, physically and emotionally," Mullally says. "And it's positive energy, which is great.
"Since he's No. 1 on the call sheet, that's always a nice thing, and he couldn't have been nicer in welcoming me. He sent me a lovely email when I decided to do the show, and he sent flowers on my birthday. He really is quite a gentleman, and we have good chemistry, which is helpful."
Though spouse Offerman is busy with his own series role as Ron Swanson, who has become iconic among "Parks and Recreation" fans, Mullally hopes he might have enough time to do a "Breaking In" guest shot before the season ends.
"I would love that," she says. "We've done an inordinate amount of things together recently, including three movies; one of them, 'Smashed,' was just shown at the Sundance Film Festival. I think that with every project I do, they're secretly hoping they can get Nick. And I don't want to flatter myself, but it also might hold true the other way around."