'The L Word' Spinoff Pilot Goes to Prison
Leisha Hailey's character Alice will be convicted of a serious crime
Leisha Hailey, who plays Los Angeles journalist Alice Pieszecki on "The L Word," is heading to the slammer, Showtime president Robert Greenblatt reveals at Wednesday's (Jan. 14) TCA press tour.
Alice will be convicted of some sort of crime related to the Season Six death of the much-hated Jenny (Mia Kirshner). Hailey, who was not on set when that scene was shot, believes Alice is innocent and falsely convicted.
"That's where I stand," says Hailey, who shot the spinoff pilot over the Christmas holidays. "I was a wide-eyed, scared victim. I was walking through this brand new world that obviously I was going to be staying in for a very long time. It's going to be a lot about how I fit in.
"You're just part of the system when you get in there. You get a number and you're in with the rest of them," she says, then jokes, "My wardrobe decisions were down to one outfit."
"L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken thinks the subject of Alice's guilt, should the series get picked up, "could be an open question for a long time."
In prison, Alice encounters Laurie Metcalf, who plays the prison warden, and Melissa Leo, who is the chief correctional officer.
"Melissa Leo is not playing the character that she played many, many years ago on 'The L Word,'" says Chaiken, referring to Winnie, who was caught in a bitter custody battle with her ex. "I believe that we can get away with that given the actor that Melissa Leo is. She's a completely different person."
Another new inmate who appears in the pilot is Famke Janssen.
"Her character Valentina is in for racketeering, drugs and assault -- gang-related," says Chaiken.
If Showtime decides to proceed with the spinoff, it's hoped that the three guest stars will become series regulars. Chaiken also says that given the relationships of the "L Word" characters, it's likely they would be frequent visitors to the California prison.
And although some inmates occupy their time working out, making license plates or cooking in the kitchen, Alice may pursue her favorite hobby: working on The Chart.
"That remains to be seen," says Chaiken. "I think she might make a new chart."