For someone who opened her Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy speech by proclaiming “I’m not funny!,” former Sopranos and Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco did a fine job providing comic relief Sunday during the TCA panel for her new CBS drama series Tommy, in which she plays Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, the first female chief of police for the LAPD. (Watch a new trailer above).
She quickly corrected a critic who asked how it feels being a New Yorker working in Los Angeles, noting that the LA-set show actually films in her native New York so she can be close to her kids. Then she lifted the curtain a bit on how the illusion is being created.
“It’s a shout-out to our art department, our scenic department. I started to wonder, after a while, where we were,’ Falco said to laughter. “We had a truck with our palm trees. We’d stop in front of a bodega, take the palm trees out, put them up, put them back in the truck.”
Falco kept things light when she was asked whether Tommy’s sexual orientation (she is a lesbian) impacts the way she acts and thinks.
“I don’t think it does. I think she is a New Yorker. She’s a woman. She’s a blonde. She’s a lot of things,” Falco said. Her sexual orientation is a part of who she is. She doesn’t wear a shirt that says, ‘I’m a lesbian’.”
But Falco turned serious after a follow-up question asked what the point was making the character gay.
“Because I think it’s important that every single person ‑‑ large, small, different colors ‑‑ gets represented in our television,” she said. “I think everybody in the world wants to look at television and be able to find themselves somewhere. And I think we’ve been leaving huge swaths of the population out of that experience. I could always find myself on television as a kid. You know, the world is changing. We’ve got to change with it.”
Tommy showrunner Tom Szentgyorgyi continued the theme of diversity and representation when he was asked about the makeup of the writers room for the series, created by Paul Attanasio, which just finished production on its midseason order.
“The writers’ room — which I don’t include Paul in that‑‑ was eight people, seven writers, one writer’s assistant, all of whom are credited on scripts this season,” Szentgyorgyi said. “That room is half male, half female. That room is also ‑‑ half identifies as LGBTQ. Two of writers are African American. We worked very hard to create a writers’ room that would be representative of these things. The challenge is that we’re writing about Los Angeles, which is one of the most diverse cosmopolitan cities in the world. And the issue of representation is one that we’re going to be facing for as long as we’re lucky enough to be on the air.
“L.A. is a plurality — Latino city. It is, I think, the second‑largest urban Korean population outside Seoul. It has a large Iranian population. It has a large Chinese population, large African American population. We’re trying to represent all that, and we’re always going to be struggling to do it and will always be having to work to try and get that right.”