Maggie Lawson already was “Psych”-ed for the holidays, but now, she’s even more excited to have cable movies debuting virtually back-to-back.
Seen in recent television seasons on such shows as “Two and a Half Men:” and “The Great Indoors,” the actress returns to her former cast-mates and series role – and USA Network — when “Psych: The Movie” revives the offbeat comedy-mystery (and, as fans would expect, its pineapple motif) Thursday, Dec. 7. Then on Saturday, Dec. 9, Lawson returns to Hallmark Channel as an actress trying to help save a theater threatened with closure in “Christmas Encore.”
“It was so much fun,” the friendly Lawson says of reuniting with “Psych” colleagues including such fellow stars as James Roday and Dule Hill, and creator and executive producer Steve Franks. ”What an experience and what a time! We bonded so much as a group and a family around our love for Tim (co-star Omundson, whose work on the film was relatively limited due to a stroke he suffered last spring), and how much we missed him.”
Lawson maintains the presence of Omundson, alias uptight police detective Carlton Lassiter to her eternal-optimist Juliet O’Hara, “is one of my favorite things about the script” written by Franks and Roday. However, the actress adds Juliet is very much her own person: “When we finished the show, she went to San Francisco, and she’s begun a new adventure. I love that Steve and James’ writing plays into that, because she has grown up and she’s a chief detective, and there’s a responsibility that comes with that.”
Particularly pleasing to Lawson was the chance to work more with Kirsten Nelson, still playing Juliet’s boss, Chief Karen Vick. “That relationship was really fun to explore,” Lawson confirms, adding her appreciation for the involvement of such additional returnees as Corbin Bernsen (as Henry Spencer, ex-cop father of Roday’s fake psychic Shawn) and Kurt Fuller (quirky coroner Woody). “We are a team in this,” notes Lawson, “and it was fun to shoot so many scenes with everyone together as a group.”
With “Christmas Encore,” Lawson returns to Hallmark Channel (after last June’s “My Favorite Wedding”) in a tale loosely patterned on “A Christmas Carol.” She explains her character “has been a struggling actress in New York City for a while, and she gets an opportunity to go into the corporate world in Chicago, then this chance comes along for her to do this play. She’s reunited with an old friend from her acting-school days (played by Brennan Elliott of ‘UnREAL’) who went on to become a big star and is directing the play, and they have to deal with their stuff.”
As for “Psych,” which still repeats weekdays on ION Television, Lawson has learned never to say “never.” She reasons the franchise could keep going “as long as the Psych-O’s (the show’s devotees) will have us, and we want to keep it alive for them as well. The whole reason this movie came about was because of them, and it feels like their love is only growing. We’re so lucky.”