'Franklin & Bash': Heather Locklear says the new boss is Amanda Woodward 2.0

heather-locklear-franklin-bash-TNT.jpgIf a network wants to boost its "Bash," adding Heather Locklear isn't a bad way to go.

The actress, considered a good-luck charm by the late television uber-producer Aaron Spelling -- who cast her in "Dynasty," "T.J. Hooker" and arguably her biggest career success to date, "Melrose Place" -- returns to series work by joining the regular cast of TNT's law drama "Franklin & Bash" when it starts its third season Wednesday, June 19.

She plays the firm's new partner, Rachel King, a hard-charging professional who's more than a bit reminiscent of her "Melrose" character, Amanda Woodward. And that's hardly by coincidence, Locklear tells Zap2it.

"I'm so lucky," she says. "When this came, I was like, 'Oh, this should be fine.' The character was already pretty laid out for me, and I'm just adding what I would do on a daily basis in my acting.

"And though I thought it was going to be easy, there's all this legal jargon that my tongue is still trying to twist around. Also, they write it in a certain way so that there are funny words you have to say. They're meant to be tongue twisters, and I'm like, 'This is tough!'"

There's also some racy dialogue that doesn't necessarily twist the tongue but still can challenge the person who's saying it not to blush. That's new for Locklear, who hasn't done much cable work beyond several made-for-Lifetime movies ( "He Loves Me," "Flirting With Forty," "Angels Fall").

She reports that working with "Franklin & Bash" title stars Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar has helped her make the adjustment. "Aren't they cute?" she says. "They've got a good chemistry together."

Rachel is introduced to the self-styled and sometimes reckless attorneys she'll soon oversee, Jared Franklin and Peter Bash, by joining them for an interview on "Piers Morgan Live" ... a prime-time staple of CNN, which also is owned by TNT's parent company, Time Warner. That segment ends with a couple of the participants being stripped down to the basics, quite literally (which was "super-fun," muses Locklear), and it gives Rachel a good idea of what she's in for in her new job.

"It's not easy for me to play someone who's in charge," Locklear allows, "because I'm so not in charge. But when we filmed the last episode of the season, I read it and went, 'Oh, my gosh. This is Amanda Woodward!' I can't tell you what happens, but I said, 'OK ... got it. I'm there.' "

As much a part of "Franklin & Bash" as Season 3 makes her, Locklear also is one member of an ensemble, a situation she has liked ever since her "Dynasty" and "Melrose Place" days.

"I can't imagine how it is for Breckin and Mark-Paul as the leads," she reflects. "The lines they learn, and the new stories and new characters, that changes on a daily basis. They're just on their feet the whole time."

Locklear also has been enjoying her work with another principal member of the "Franklin & Bash" cast: Malcolm McDowell, the veteran actor iconic for roles including the "ultraviolence"-prone Alex in director Stanley Kubrick's 1971 movie classic "A Clockwork Orange."

"He is so great," Locklear says of her co-star who plays Stanton Infeld, the mercurial father figure of the law firm. "He's so energetic and charming, he's just wonderful. I see the time he takes in delivering his lines and doing what he does, and he doesn't even have to work at it.
 
"He's amazing. We both go, 'Don't we love our jobs? Even coming in at this early hour?' "
Indeed, Locklear maintains she still loves hers, even if the process of making series television remains as fast-paced as she's always found it.

"It's always been quick," she notes. "I've done movies of the week on 18-day schedules, and you're just always jamming. I'm like, 'Don't even walk near me with that new page for the script. Get it away. I'll just use this one I already have.' "

While she's had a recurring role on the TV Land sitcom "Hot in Cleveland," Locklear is pleased to be back in a steadier situation.

"I've always loved working on a series," she says. "I like regular work with a regular crew, seeing the same people each week."
Photo/Video credit: TNT