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TCA 2011: Maria Bello gets physical on 'Prime Suspect'

August 1, 2011 |  6:58 pm


Maria Bello may suffer a few bruises in her new role -- literally.

The star of NBC's fall detective drama "Prime Suspect" says she's already taken a few tough slams during filming. "I expect to get beat up a little bit," Bello told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Assn. Press Tour in Beverly Hills.

But the rough stuff is fitting for "Prime Suspect," a remake of the groundbreaking 1990s British series about a hard-nosed female detective (then played by Helen Mirren) working in a male-dominated profession. The U.S. pilot, now set in New York, focuses on Bello's efforts to keep her wits amid the blatant hostility of male colleagues, although the producers say they may tone down that theme a bit as the series progresses. What won't change, though, is her character's dry wit and toughness.

Video: Watch a sneak preview of 'Prime Suspect'

"We all agreed in the beginning to not make her a conventional cop," Bello said. "That’s what  I love about the show; it’s not earnest."

Executive producer Alexandra Cunningham said some aspects of the British series will remain intact, but there will be plenty of new procedural elements for crime fans. "It's great to have such fantastic source material," she said of the Mirren original. But "we've got a lot of juicy cases we've broken for this show."

But the issue of sexism is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago, Cunningham added.

"There are a lot of squads in the NYPD where there are no female detectives at all still, even though it’s 2011," she said.


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-- Scott Collins

Photo: Maria Bello and Aidan Quinn, stars of NBC's new crime drama "Prime Suspect," speak at the Television Critics Assn. Press Tour. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters.