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Kathleen Robertson on Hildy's using her sexuality on 'Murder in the First'

Kathleen Robertson and Taye Diggs as detectives in "Murder in the First."
Kathleen Robertson and Taye Diggs as detectives in "Murder in the First."
TNT/Trae Patton, with permission

Only four weeks into its 10-episode run, Erich Blunt (Tom Felton) is the main suspect on TNT's "Murder in the First." The police don't believe in coincidences and it is too much when the flight attendant from his personal jet is found murdered -- and she is pregnant with his child.

Are detectives Hildy Mulligan and Terry English (Taye Diggs) too focused on Blunt because he is a billionaire, who can make his problems disappear with money? Should they be looking to see if there is another suspect, which would totally turn the investigation around?

"Anything is possible," says Kathleen Robertson, who plays Hildy. "That's what makes it fun. None of the actors knew how the show was going to end. They were very tightlipped about it. They didn't want anybody to know anything. Every week, we were reading the scripts, guessing, 'It's this person. No, it's this person.' We were always kind of guessing somebody, and then it was, 'Oh, we were wrong.' That is the way it is structured. You have to watch all 10 to get the final results."

On tonight's episode, despite the advice of his lawyer, Warren Daniels (James Cromwell), Erich Blunt escapes for a drug- fueled weekend with his adoring CTO, Ivana West (Bess Rous). Meanwhile, Terry and Hildy must deal with the repercussions of Hildy's officer involved shooting. Without waiting for backup, she entered the apartment where a man was beating a woman and came at Hildy with a knife. As Hildy confronts the prospect of losing her job, Terry works to help his partner get out of trouble.

But first, spoke to Robertson about playing the tough detective, who is not above using her womanly charms to take down the bad guys.

How much do you plan Hildy's look? I have been especially taken by the differences in her appearance from when she is questioning suspects, to when she goes out on a date, especially the date she had with Erich Blunt.

We definitely have had conversations. That date with Erich Blunt was a very specific strategic plan on her part, which you see at the end why she was doing it. The crude specificity of what the intention of the date was: I have to go on a date with this guy. I have to make sure that he wants to hook up with me, because that is how I am going to get what I want from him -- and I need to get what I want. [What she wanted was his DNA.] So, for her to show up the way she showed up, was a very intentional choice on her part. She's not a girly girl, she's a cop. So, it was a leather skirt with a wife beater tied in the back, and red lipstick. It was Hildy's version of, "Oh, a date," where a lot of girls would wear a pretty dress, or have their hair all soft and curled. That's not her. That is just not the way she puts herself forth. It was very intentional. She is appealing to what he is going to respond to.

Hildy and Terry seem to have a great working relationship, which means that you and Taye, must, too. Will that develop more as we get more into the series?

Yes. They have been partners for seven years. She knows him better than anyone, and he knows her better than anyone. I think they have this natural, very easy relationship. He has always been married and she goes through a divorce, so they could never be a couple. Both know that they could be good together, but it could never be a reality. When his wife dies, it complicates things. It makes Hildy think of the possibility of something potentially developing between them. I think over the course of the season, we explore that a little bit.

When I think of San Francisco cop shows, I think of "Streets of San Francisco" and "Ironside" with Raymond Burr, but nothing really recent. So, why do you think San Francisco was the perfect setting for this?

I think the reason people don't film in San Francisco is it's a difficult city to film in. It's not the easiest place to shoot. It's very small, the streets are very winding and steep, and there are a ton of people, so it's not the easiest place to shoot, so maybe that's why. But it's a great place to center a show around. For our show, we really focus on the different levels of class: the haves and the have nots. Exploring that is very much a part of the show. The dichotomy between the two.

For me driving in San Francisco can be scary. By the time you take your foot from the brake to the gas pedal, your car could have drifted into the bay.

My house in San Francisco is on one of those streets. The driveway where my character's car was parked was completely downhill. I had to back it out on-camera. That was probably the hardest thing I had to do in the whole 10 episodes.

The show is getting positive reviews. When you first read it, did that occur to you?

You never really know what people are going to like and aren't going to like. You just have to go with your gut. I thought it was really well written. What I like personally is the structure of the true detective and the killing, and the big epic, three-part beginning, middle and end in a10-episode structured series. I watch them. I find it really rewarding. I was really happy that this implemented that structure. I had never played a cop before and I had always wanted to play a cop. I also thought when I do play a cop, it's a cop that has some personal life. So, it isn't just walking around asking, "Where were you last night at 4 o'clock?," and looking at dead bodies. I wanted it to be more from a place of character, and this did that.

What are you looking forward to people seeing in the upcoming episodes?

The stakes get really high. There are more twists and turns. Just when you think you have it figured out, we turn it on its ear. There are lots of surprises in store.

"Murder in the First" airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.

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