MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Critics say actress Caitlin McGee is the one to watch on NBC’s upcoming legal drama “Bluff City Law.”
Caitlin is no stranger in front of a camera, but this is her first leading role, and really launching her career in Memphis makes it all the more special.
The actress is making the most of her time in the Bluff City while filming "Bluff City Law."
"I think the best part of shooting in this city is it's so much a part of our show,” she gleamed.
The animal lover's toured the city shelter, celebrated her new home at the I Love Memphis Blog's 10th anniversary party and has already discovered the city's best bites.
"I love Gus' fried chicken so much,” McGee laughed. “I went there and literally had to take a three-hour nap because I ate so much. My boyfriend was like, 'You're in a coma.' I was like, 'Don't touch me. I'm in a chicken coma.'"
McGee says filming here, instead of L.A., helps her get into character: a Memphis attorney named Sydney Strait.
"Her moral compass is really close to mine. I love the things that she cares about and I care about the things that she cares about,” she explained. “So, as an actress, it's really easy to tap into that and fight for people that don't have a voice."
Sydney is estranged from her father Elijah, a big-time Memphis civil rights lawyer played by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Jimmy Smits.
He recalled the table read that nabbed McGee the role.
"Nailed it. That's all you could say. I went home and was like, 'We are in good shape here,’l Smits recalled.
She says working with Smits is akin to a master class.
" He’s such a dear, people who have seen him in other shows are like, ‘What’s he like,’ and I’m like, 'He’s genuinely one of the nicest people on the planet,’" she said.
The show's executive producer, David Janollari, has a long list of hit shows under his belt, like "Friends" and "Six Feet Under."
He says McGee was the icing on the cake, after landing Smits.
"When we found Caitlin through the audition process, we fell in love with her hook, line and sinker in one audition session. And we never looked back and she became Sidney and she's the best Sidney we could ever have imagined,” Janollari added.
A former teacher, McGee entered the acting world 10 years ago, later landing bit parts on Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Med and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but each of those roles were short-lived.
"I'm really excited I get to play this character for a while, cause it's hard when you're a guest star and you play someone you fall in love with then you disappear,” she explained.
McGee says waiting to get picked up by the network, after shooting the Memphis pilot was a nail-biter.
“It’s really been an interesting process to see how people react to our show and waiting for that phone call from the producers to hear if we got picked up, let alone now they want six more episodes,” said McGee.
A total of 16 episodes were ordered by the network, and McGee's hoping for a second season.
"I think it's going to depend on how people react to our show and so far we've had really good feedback, so I think people are going to like it,” she pointed out.
“Bluff City Law” premieres Monday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.