Michelle Dockery Talks New Role In 'Good Behavior'

Get ready to see Michelle Dockery like you’ve never seen her before.

In Tuesday night’s season premiere of “Good Behavior” on TNT, the “Downton Abbey” alum stars as Letty Raines, a woman with a penchant for trouble — whether it’s of her own making, or it finding her. As a con artist, thief and parolee, Letty is quite the departure from playing the upper class Lady Mary – but not in all ways.

“To be honest, it wasn’t something I did consciously with this role, it just came my way. And if anything, I was looking for another job, actually,” Michelle told Access Hollywood, when asked if choosing this role came out of a need to do something very, very different from her “Downton” part. “And I was very fortunate that this came along and it was something quite different, obviously because of the time and the period and the character. But, there are some similarities in that they are both great female roles — strong, complicated, funny, smart women and I was very lucky to kind of go from Mary to Letty in such a short space of time.”

Michelle’s new role came up while she was gearing up to say goodbye to Lady Mary, whose journey came to an end with the rest of the Crawleys and their downstairs family in Season 6, which wrapped earlier this year on Masterpiece on PBS.

“It was about midway through ‘Downton Abbey’ we started discussing it and then I did the pilot in October — this time last year — so it was a matter of months really, and then I started ‘Good Behavior,'” Michelle told Access. “So yeah, it was very quick. And actually, I think a great way of finishing a show and not missing ‘Downton’ too much because I went straight into something else. It was a great way of moving on from ‘Downton,’ just going straight into playing Letty.”

In the two-episode series premiere of “Good Behavior,” Letty is fresh out of prison and ready to begin a new life and turn over a new leaf. But, she quickly falls into old habits (like stealing). And, while up to no good, in a tense, heart-racing sequence, she overhears someone hiring hit man Javier (Juan Diego Botto) for a deadly job, and with good intentions, she ends up getting involved. 

Asked about the rawness in which Letty begins the series — Michelle said that while things aren’t easy for her character, Letty is driven by trying to better. Whether she succeeds is a question Season 1 will no doubt explore.

“[T]he way we describe the show is – it’s about people trying to, attempting to be the best versions of themselves, which in some sense is what we’re all trying to do,” Michelle said. “We’re all trying to do better, all trying to get through life in the best possible way, but everyone has their struggles and I think people will relate to the show in that sense. You don’t have to be a thief or a hit man or a con artist in order to relate to these characters. … The fun part of the show is seeing them trying to conform to normality, yet it’s a hit man and recovering drug addict and con artist, which is where a lot of the humor comes into the show. And it’s observational really — what’s good, how do you judge who is good, who is bad, what’s good behavior, what’s bad behavior? And ultimately they are, you know, like everyone else — they’re trying to just exist and get through their struggles and be the best versions of themselves.”

“Good Behavior” kicks off with a two-episode premiere Tuesday night at 9/8c on TNT. 

Jolie Lash