Co-starring in one series hasn’t prevented Maggie Lawson from doing another.
The actress has been able to remain involved as police detective Juliet O’Hara in most episodes of the upcoming Season 8 of “Psych,” the USA comedy-mystery, while also playing the female lead as the ABC sitcom “Back in the Game” premieres Wednesday (Sept. 25).
The new show casts her as a single mom who becomes the coach of her son’s (Griffin Gluck) Little League team … despite her long-standing dislike of sports, one of the byproducts of her estrangement from the ex-ballplayer father (James Caan) she struggles to reunite with.
“It’s really exciting,” the pleasant Lawson tells Zap2it of her dual series duty. “It’s sort of working different muscles.
“The wonderful thing about ‘Psych’ is that the writers have evolved those characters in such a way that almost every year, it’s felt like we were delving into something different, whether it was something emotional or Juliet was becoming a badass. And now, it’s nice to play a character who is so different. I really feel like I’m working out every day.”
That’s not just figurative in Lawson’s case. She reports, “I grew up playing softball, and Little League was such a part of my childhood, so this kind of feels like home. The first day of shooting, I was like, ‘Oh, wow. I’m in the dirt with a bunch of kids.’ It was a really good feeling.”
Lawson has heard suggestions that her “Back in the Game” role runs parallel to Walter Matthau’s in the 1976 movie “The Bad News Bears.”
“I guess I see this more as a comedy about a family,” she counters, “a father-daughter situation with baseball as kind of a backdrop as opposed to the focus. But with that said, how great is ‘The Bad News Bears?’ “