Day 1 of the 7th annual ATX Television Festival kicked-off with a screening of the NBC mockumentary series Trial & Error, the Season 2 opener followed by a Q&A with creator and exec producer Jeff Astrof, along with star Nicholas D’Agosto and season newcomer Kristin Chenoweth.
“The idea behind the show is that every year there will be a big star who wouldn’t necessarily do TV but would do something that was fun for a limited run,” said Astrof on the show’s format.
Last season it was John Lithgow, who played a character on trial for his wife’s murder (he was exonerated). This time, Chenoweth’s character, Lavinia Peck-Foster, the “eccentric first lady of East Peck,” is in the spotlight for possibly killing her husband.
“This year we really wanted to do a story about women and so we wanted a woman alleged killer,” said Astrof.
Astrof mentioned that Chenoweth’s character was named after the first identified female serial killer in the United States, Lavinia Foster, and he pointed out that “every move of the show was something that has happened or can happen.”
Speaking about her character, Chenoweth said, “When I saw Lavinia, what I saw was a very sad woman who’d been trapped away in her house her whole life and was very skilled at many things because she’d had nothing but time. She has this difficult, sad life. As we all know, through tragedy there is comedy and what I saw was a beautiful wealth of gold…”
“This year it’s also about a sense of belonging,” Astrof said on the theme of the new season. “I wanted to see what it would feel like for Josh to have somebody who, even when it looks like she did it, no one believes that Lavinia did it… the stakes are very high for him because if he loses the entire town will be against him.”
This season also sees D’Agosto’s character transition from the outside Northeasterner to a small town local. Said D’Agosto, “What gets established very early is you find that if he blows this somehow, which it doesn’t feel like it’s possible, there’s a lot at stake for him personally because he cares and is invested in this town.”
The series returns July 19.