'Prime Suspect' premiere: Maria Bello 'hadn't read a woman like this on television before'

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maria-bello-prime-suspect-520.jpg "Prime Suspect" is the newest cop drama on TV, joining NBC's Thursday night schedule on Sept. 22. It's based on the U.K. version starring Helen Mirren, with Maria Bello stepping into the shoes of Det. Jane Timoney in New York City. Bello and executive producer Alex Cunningham spoke with the press about the show so far, particularly what attracted Bello to the role.

"It was such incredible writing. I hadn't read a woman like this on television before," says Bello. "I think Jane is strategic about being manipulative. Every suspect she talks to she is psychologically trying to find the in that would work with them to get the information with them."

"I think the key thing about Jane is she's a storyteller and an actor," adds Cunningham. "She's going to put herself in any situation and decide in the moment what is the way to get to this person, in a way she can't in her personal life."

One of the ways Bello prepared for the role of Det. Timoney was a little by happenstance - she got Jane's signature hat from her best friend.

"My best friend gave me that hat last year. She had it on and she took it off immediately and she put it on my head and she said, 'This belongs to you.,'" says Bello. "And as soon as I met Jane, I knew that that hat belonged to her. It's something about feeling invincible in this hat, something about an attitude, something that felt Jane."

The hat is very Jane. Very New York.

One of the great parts about setting the show in New York is the plethora of cases and experience to draw from. Cunningham details the consultants they have helping the show be as authentic as it can be.

"We have a retired homicide detective who ... was a gold shield detective and had 100% closure rate for however many years in a row in Manhattan North Homicide. He is actually on our writing staff now," says Cunningham.

"When we shot the pilot," she continues. "We put Maria together with a female detective, Jen Augustine, who took her around to show her what that experience is like in the modern NYPD."

"A lot of the cases we are doing on the show are based on real cases that are a few decades old but nevertheless they happened. To hear those stories from the cops that worked them sticks with me," she finishes.

"Prime Suspect" hit the airwaves Thursday night, Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT  on NBC. What did you think of the premiere?

Photo/Video credit: NBC