'Good Behavior' postmortem: Michelle Dockery on that Lashever twist

Mandi Bierly
Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Juan Diego Botto as Javier and Michelle Dockery as Letty in ‘Good Behavior’ (Photo: TNT)

Good Behavior creator Chad Hodge told us Ann Dowd will be in eight of Season 2’s 10 episodes, and now we know why.

At the end of this week’s hour — which found her Agent Lashever and John Behlmann‘s Agent Backup having to spend a night in a hotel room with Christian (Terry Kinney) and the handcuffed Letty (Michelle Dockery) and Javier (Juan Diego Botto) — Lashever switched sides. She let Letty and Javier “escape” from (an unconscious) Agent Backup in exchange for them promising to steal money the FBI was planning to raid: Lashever will get all the cash and revenge on the male colleagues who’ve belittled her; Letty and Javier will have their freedom.

What was the most difficult part for Dockery filming the episode, which had to slowly, and credibly, build Lashever’s change of heart? “To me, it was finding that balance with being deferential towards her, but at the same time not losing any of Letty’s wit and her power,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “It was really interesting doing that episode because there’s somebody in the room who is more powerful than Letty is, and so the journey of that episode is Letty finding Lashever’s weakness, and finding out what it is about Lashever that ticks, and also a way of reversing the situation, which of course she does. She finds her weakness, which is that she’s a bit of a laughingstock in her offices, and she isn’t as good an FBI agent as she made out. I did a lot of those sort of looks in that episode — just sort of figuring her out. Letty is very intuitive, she sums people up quite quickly, and I think with Lashever, it wasn’t as easy as it is normally for her. So it was a real challenge, that episode. It was a very different Letty to be.”

Also challenging: acting the majority of the episode in handcuffs. “When we were actually doing it, I would at times get frustrated because I was like this [places her hands behind her back] the whole time, and you realize you use your hands quite a lot when you’re acting. It was so funny. It was a very method way into it, because of course we were very restricted, there wasn’t much we could do. So it was a great acting experiment, actually,” she says. “Something that we established from the pilot, actually, was putting these two people in very uncomfortable spaces where they don’t feel at ease, and being handcuffed is a situation that any person would feel uncomfortable in, but for these two people who are free spirits, fearless characters…”

At one point in the episode, after the martinis Letty was allowed to mix had put the agents and Christian to sleep, she managed to get the keys to the handcuffs from Backup. But when she went to uncuff Javier, he told her she’d have to go without him — Agent Backup had rested his leg on top of Javier’s, so Javier couldn’t move without waking him. Letty, the woman who can talk here way out of — and into — anything had to quietly say goodbye to the love of her life.

“It was really moving to film that moment, because even though we knew that she wasn’t going to actually go anywhere [because a knock at the door woke Lashever and Backup], it reached a peak at that point, and when it comes down to it, they’re essentially alone, and at some point she has to look out for herself and her son and her own life,” Dockery says. “And it’s just a moment where he lets her go, and she realizes in that moment that there’s no other way out — she has to save herself. I kind of loved it, that it was this really dramatic moment and then within seconds it just fails. But of course we’re all thrilled because you don’t want those two to part.”

And where do we go from her? Next week’s episode, “You Could Discover Me,” finds Letty and Javier having to steal half a million dollars from the owner of a drag club. “They’re on this mission to raid this place before the FBI does, so they’re on a real time crunch. They just get deeper and deeper into more and more outrageous situations, and it just sort of all starts to come in on them,” Dockery says. “It’s a brilliant episode to have right in the middle [of the season] because it’s a very, very different episode. And it’s one of her best disguises yet, which we had a lot of fun with.”

Good Behavior airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TNT.