On the surface, Fox’s Rosewood looks like a he said-she said procedural between Morris Chestnut as Miami’s top pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., and Jaina Lee Ortiz as the detective he assists.

But what was apparent coming away from the TCA panel, was that award-winning actress Lorraine Toussaint, notably last seen as fierce drug pusher Vee Parker on Orange Is The New Black, is going to shake things up as Rosewood’s mother, Donna. She’s the force that always stands over Dr. Beaumont.

Chestnut admitted that scenes with Toussaint are so intense, that he goes back to his trailer and realizes “I gotta up my game!”

Despite the nine-year difference between the two actors, Toussaint asserted that she could pass as Chestnut’s mom given how well she ages, “Because black don’t crack” — a line that earned laughs from the Beverly Hilton ballroom.

Given that Rosewood follows a pathologist, one of the TCA press members asked who from the cast had ever attended an autopsy. Toussaint watched a couple, and described the experience with such awe, one would think she was talking about a cosmic installation. Toussaint mentioned that before she walked into one, she sprayed her favorite perfume on a handkerchief, so that when the doors opened to the morgue, she would cover her nose. The coroner convinced her otherwise. “He said ‘Let death be death. You will forever associate that smell with death. Just let death be death.’ He opened the doors and nothing prepares you. Something in our DNA says, ‘Run! Get out of here!’…but seeing who we are at the end of the day is very life affirming. It made me want to live.”

RosewoodAt the onset of the panel, one reporter hysterically addressed the panel about the difference between Ortiz and Chestnut’s characters:

“She doesn’t seem like a bright detective, and he’s always right,” said the press member.

Creator and EP Todd Harthan promised “a balance between the two” characters.

Beamed Chestnut, “The balance is I’m always right all the time!”

Harthan executive produces with Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen as well as director Richard Shepard. Deadline reported that the show tested well with high marks for Chestnut. Rosewood premieres Wednesday, September 23.