Showtime released the pilot of their new series Ray Donovan online last week, but if you haven’t watched it yet, you can see it on your TV this Sunday night when it premieres at 10 p.m. The show stars Liev Schreiber as “the go-to guy who makes the problems of the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls disappear.” You might have guessed he doesn’t do all of this in accordance with the law, and he also doesn’t work alone. Kate Moennig plays Lena, Ray’s assistant, who fields Ray’s calls at any time of day or night and responds to request of helping to cover up unexpected deaths by saying “I hate when that happens.”
Lena is described as “a no-nonsense lesbian who is both sexy and tough” that does research for Ray and handles his office work. This might sound boring, but it’s not when your boss is trying to help Hollywood’s richest people stay happy. We talked with Kate about the role she fits into perfectly and what her fans from The L Word might like about the show.
AfterEllen.com: You seem like such an obvious choice for Lena. Was it something Showtime came to you with from the beginning? How did you get involved?
Kate Moennig: I got involved the old fashion way of just getting sent a script and reading it. But I immediately responded to the pilot and I think I read it twice in a row because I loved it so much. But, you know, maybe there was a benefit to Showtime knowing me before, but I really just did the way any other actor would.
Photos courtesy Showtime
AE: What did you know about Lena before you started filming? Do you know how she met Ray or any of the details on her background?
KM: You know, I don’t have all the details yet about what her background is. Slowly but surely through the season we see more of her, we see where her impulses lie, and we find out some information about her history. I kind of had to come up with it on my own just to wrap my head around who she was. But in terms of what they address on screen, you know, I think it’s going to be a slow build-up as to figure out who she is and what makes her tick.
AE: One of the things that’s interesting about the show is we’ll hopefully be finding out which of the characters have any kind of conscience, if they do at all. Do you think Lena has a conscience? What’s her moral compass in terms of this job?
KM: [laughs] Yeah! I think every human being has a conscience, whether it’s minutely small or not. And there’s always an underlying reason as to why people are violent or make extreme choices. I think a lot of, with Lena, it’s part of her job to to think on her feet and make choices that aren’t exactly – that aren’t exactly likable. It’s part of the job description and she has to kind of mold into whatever she needs to become to get the job done. But I feel like every character on this show, regardless of what their actions may be, there is something, there is some sadness there. There is humanity with all of these characters, with her included.
AE: Are there any moments where Lena questions what she’s being asked to do?
KM: Well, no. Part of it — I think she looks up to him very much and that maybe one day she’d like to be like him. I find her to be very goal-oriented and nothing sways her. But also, I think there’s an element of wishing she could do more. That comes later on.