Dana Delany Looks Back on her favorite roles, including DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, PASADENA and KIDNAPPED

By theTVaddict / March 25, 2010
© Karen Neal/ABC
Move over Ryan Seacrest, Dana Delany just stole your busiest actor in Hollywood title. Don't believe us, get this. On a break from shooting her new ABC pilot BODY OF EVIDENCE in Providence, Delany took to the phones to not only promote her current guest stint on CASTLE, but her recent DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES exit and reflect on a career that has spanned over three decades and included TV Addict favorites such as PASADENA and KIDNAPPED.

Before we get to your guest appearance on CASTLE, I first have to ask about your recent work on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. How surprised were you by Katherine's journey this season?
Dana Delany: I loved this season. Just beginning with last fall when I started to unravel when Mike left me, to when Marc [Creator Marc Cherry] came to me with the idea that I would go sapphic for a while, I thought it was great material and so much fun to do. I think what Marc discovered early on that with the Katherine character, you could go through a little more odd stuff with her because she wasn't really as iconoclastic as the other characters. Like the story-line with Robin [Julie Benz], I think it turned out delightfully sweet and heartfelt.

With Katherine and Robin heading off to Paris, and yourself having signed on to a new ABC pilot, does this mean we've seen the last of Katherine?
It's all sort of up in the air. Marc Cherry was great. He said, "I would love for you to have your own show so go do it and if it doesn't work out we'll have a place for you here."

Moving on to CASTLE, I'm not going to lie. The moment your character [FBI agent Jordan Shaw] took a phone call from her daughter, there was a part of me that thought that she was a goner! What can you tease about Monday's episode?
[Laughs] If you watched Monday's episode closely, there were subtle clues as to what happens on this week. Not everything is as it seems.

Is the door left open for a possible return to CASTLE?
I think the great think about Jordan [Shaw] is that she's a great character to come in and out whenever the writer's choose. Since she's FBI and from another agency, they can always bring her in if they need help with another case. She can come in and intrigue Castle with all of her toys.

One of your early TV gigs was on AS THE WORLD TURNS. Would you, like Julianne Moore, go back for a cameo if asked?
[Laughs] I wasn't really on ATWT that long. Here's a little TV Trivia, I was only on the show for about a year, and when Mary-Ellis Bunim, a producer (who was responsible for the first REAL WORLD) took over, they changed the show entirely. I played a virgin on there, and that was all there was to my character. She was a virgin, not much to it.

As a big fan of your work on the short-lived FOX series PASADENA, I'm curious as to what you thinks makes HOUSEWIVES a hit, while PASADENA, which was similar in that it was a sometimes darkly-comical soap, failed?
I'll tell you there's a few things. For one, we shot in Vancouver, which certainly didn't help a show called PASADENA shooting in Vancouver! And two, 9/11 happened and I think the country didn't want to see a show about a dysfunctional family. They needed to see things about people coming together and I remember at the time FOX had both PASADENA and 24 premiering at the same time. 24 just captured that feeling of paranoia that was going on whereas PASADENA didn't fit in. That said, I loved PASADENA, thought the writing was brilliant and I would work with [creator] Mike White in a second.

Where DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES succeeded is that somehow Marc Cherry managed to find the balance between the trinity that is comedy, drama and mystery. Coming from a sitcom background, Marc always seems to know when to throw in a joke and lighten things up just before things get too serious. There's something for everybody and the show never seems to tip too much in one direction. PASADENA was a little to dark in tone.

Another favorite of mine was your work on NBC's brilliant-but-canceled KIDNAPPED.
I loved shooting KIDNAPPED. Michael Dinner who was a producer and directed the pilot is very talented. IN fact, just last night I was watching JUSTIFIED which he also produced and directed and it reminded me how good he is and how much I liked working with him.

Having interviewed so many actors who don't seem to actually enjoy watching TV, it's refreshing to learn you're a fan.
I don't watch myself, but I watch a lot of TV.

What's on your TiVo now?
I love DAMAGES, NURSE JACKIE, 30 ROCK, great female driven shows. My guilty pleasure is CELEBRITY REHAB which I watch regularly.

It certainly does seem to be a great time to be a woman on television.
Starting with CHINA BEACH in 1988 which had a great strong female lead that was both tough and vulnerable, I sort of feel like it's something I've known for years now and everybody else is catching up to. I think it's taken a while for movie stars to realize that this [television] is the place to work for woman, whereas in features you're usually — not always — going to be relegated to wife or girlfriend.