Prepare to see Mireille Enos like you've never seen her before: smiling.
On ABC's new drama The Catch, Enos ditches the rain, archaic cell phone and frown she sported for four seasons on The Killing for a glamorous wardrobe, devoted circle of friends and killer smile as Alice, a top-notch P.I. who hunts down criminals and cons for a living. And it's a change the 40-year-old actress is more than ready for.
"That's so much a part of who I am," Mireille Enos told E! News at the Savannah College of Art and Design's aTVfest television festival in Atlanta. "I love laughter and I always have a smile on my face, and so playing against that in The Killing was really fun, but now, just allowing myself to bring that out, to be more of who I actually am, is really fun."
Enos has a lightness and buoyancy about her at the beginning of the series, which premieres March 24 on ABC, a stark contrast from the TGIT heroines that have come before her: Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). And it was an intentional move by showrunner Allan Heinberg, who worked on Scandal before taking over The Catch, which centers on Alice dealing with the fallout after her fiancee is revealed to be a con man (played by Parenthood's Peter Krause) who takes everything from her.
"It was because such terrible things were going to happen to her in the pilot, I really wanted to bring on a character who was buoyant and light and loved her job and loved her friends," he explained. "And because she's going to have to start keeping secrets in the series, I wanted her to be completely open."
Working together, Heinberg and Enos came up with the character of Alice, who is "this brave, open-hearted, fearless person who has come up against men in her life who've been extremely powerful and haven't always been on her side, so she's had to become a fighter in order to survive," Heinberg explained. "She's never down-beat, she's never broken, she's never bitter, and that's part of what her clients love about her, is how she trusting and compassionate and open she remains. She's got tons of hope about humanity, but she also knows from experience that when left to their own devices, human beings will be selfish and disappoint you."
Heinberg added, "I feel like as a woman, as this person moving through this world, she has to remain that optimistic and hopeful and upbeat, so maybe she is a little different from the other ShondaLand women in that way."
While ShondaLand's three other leading ladies have established loyal followings and have made TGIT ABC's most successful night of programming, a brand in its own right, Enos isn't feeling any pressure to keep the streak alive.
"It doesn't feel like pressure because there's such a support system, you just feel like you've been handed this license to steal," she said. "There's already this amazing fanbase, incredible producers and Allan Heinbeg at the helm. So you just get to show up and revel in it."
The Catch premieres Thursday, March 24, at 10 p.m. on ABC.