By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
Marcia Clark wants to be clear that the new drama series THE FIX, which she co-wrote, is not specifically about her. She insists that lead character Maya Travis, played by Robin Tunney, is not merely Marcia Clark in disguise.
But like most successful authors, Clark writes about what she knows, so you will see some similarities between Clark’s real-life prosecution of O.J. Simpson and the case at the heart of THE FIX, which debuts Monday, March 18 at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.
THE FIX follows Tunney’s character Maya Travis, an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat in her prosecution of an A-list movie star - Severen “Sevvy” Johnson, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - for double murder. Disgusted and discouraged, Maya flees the spotlight for a quiet life, but eight years later, when Sevvy comes under suspicion for another murder, Maya reluctantly is lured back for a fresh shot at justice.
We spoke with Clark at the recent Television Critics Association event in Pasadena, Calif., focusing on the facts and fiction of THE FIX:
Q: Is television as cutthroat as the law?Marcia Clark: “In its way, yes it is. But in none of the ways that involve me. I'm talking about the executives and all that. It looks very tough up there. But writing fiction is actually more fun (than the law). ‘Oh wait, I don't have enough evidence? Backspace, backspace, backspace, I found fingerprints!’ I love that. I also get to decide how the cases come out, I love that even more.”
Q: So the case and the characters that we’ll get to know in THE FIX could wind up going in any direction.Marcia Clark: “You see an aspect of what I went through. I think all creativity, everybody who creates, draws on their own life story. That's an origin story, but after that, it's all fiction. It's all stuff that we made up. Maya isn't me. We have left turns, and right turns, and hairpin turns, constantly. It's a roller-coaster in every episode. You do not know how this one ends - unlike that other one.”
Q: One key distinction about THE FIX is that we don’t actually spend a lot of time in the courtroom.Marcia Clark: “We really did decide that this was going to be a law show that's not about the law. This is about the personal stories of everyone behind the scenes. We did take a lot of care to make sure that our characters do things that characters like that would do, and could do. We stretch certain things for the purpose of entertainment, for sure, but I hope that you will never stand up and go, 'That's ridiculous.' I don't like doing that for any show. It takes me out of the moment. So we really did make an effort to get it right.”
Q: Speaking of getting it right, did the five-part documentary series O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA get it right? (Editor’s Note: O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA is currently available on Crave)Marcia Clark: “Yeah, they did. O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA was incredible in the way it got it right. This is the most genius piece of documentary film-making I've ever seen, I think. I would say it should be required viewing for everyone. I would actually ask, show this in high school. Let kids see reality, you know? This is what you need to see and need to know.”
Q: Documentaries aside, you surely must have watched your share of scripted legal and courtroom dramas on TV through the years. Is there anything that drives you crazy, because they always get it wrong?Marcia Clark: “That's a really good question. I have to think about it. Okay, one thing, for example, you'll see a prosecutor talking directly to the jury while examining a witness, 'Ladies and gentlemen (of the jury)’, it's like breaking the fourth wall. What? You're not allowed to do that! Or getting up into a witness' face, nose to nose. No! No! Things like that.”
Q: What is the structure of THE FIX, moving forward?Marcia Clark: “There are 10 episodes, and at the end of the 10th episode, you will have all of your questions answered. This is an anthology. The case will end, and then next season will be a new case. Most of the characters will return. But once again, to a certain extent, (the new case) will be drawing on characters that you are familiar with.”