Katharine McPhee Discusses Her New Series ‘Scorpion’

Katharine McPhee Scorpion Interview
Elyes Gabel as Walter O’Brien and Katharine McPhee as Paige Dineen in 'Scorpion' (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Katharine McPhee (Smash, American Idol) takes on another starring role in a TV series with Scorpion, a CBS series premiering this fall. Scorpion, which was inspired by a true story, will air on Monday nights at 9pm ET/PT and in support of the new dramatic series, McPhee talked about what audiences can expect when they tune in.

The Plot:

Scorpion is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. As Homeland Security’s new think tank, O’Brien’s “Scorpion” team includes Toby Curtis, an expert behaviorist who can read anyone; Happy Quinn, a mechanical prodigy; and Sylvester Dodd, a statistics guru. Pooling their extensive technological knowledge to solve mind-boggling predicaments amazes federal agent Cabe Gallo, who shares a harrowing history with O’Brien. While this socially awkward group is comfortable with each other’s humor and quirks, life outside their circle confounds them, so they rely on Paige Dineen, who has a young, gifted son, to translate the world for them.At last, these nerdy masterminds have found the perfect job: a place where they can apply their exceptional brainpower to solve the nation’s crises, while also helping each other learn how to fit in.

Katharine McPhee Interview

Is Scorpion an action-packed show?

Katharine McPhee: “You know, it was for the pilot and I’m not quite sure whether or not it will be for the actual series. I hope so because I love Angelina Jolie – she’s like my woman crush – and she’s not doing television but I think her huge action films that she’s done like Tomb Raider and Salt, I just think they’re so amazing. I’m pretty athletic, actually. I’m not one to boast about the things that I think I’m good at but I think I’m actually pretty athletic, to be as humble as I can say that. So I think that it would be really nice to continue to build on action stuff. That being said, when we were shooting the pilot Elyes [Gabel] and I were shooting the car scene and we arrived on set and obviously our veteran director Justin Lin who does all of the Fast and Furious movies and lots of action movies…I was not cocky at all, I will say wholeheartedly because I just wanted to make it very clear that I had no idea what I was doing and that I was going to listen to everything he had to tell me. It’s very different when you’re supposed to be going 200 mph and you’re not moving at all and all you have is this wind blowing in your hair, and you’re like, ‘Wait, I’m sorry. You want me to scream at the top of my lungs?’ But that feels really uncomfortable.’ So, it was a really lovely experience for me because I had to do something out of my comfort zone, something that I hadn’t done before. I wasn’t breaking into song or dance. I was just being stretched as an actor.”

How technical is the show?

Katharine McPhee: “It’s incredibly technological. My character isn’t so much in the beginning but it’ll be interesting to see how she kind of immerses in their world and see how she becomes part of their world, mostly because she wants to be part of their world because they are the connection to her son that she wants so badly to have.”

Does the choreography of action have anything in common with dance choreography?

Katharine McPhee: “You know, I couldn’t answer that because I don’t have enough experience.”

If Smash had been offered a third season, what would you have liked to have seen for Karen?

Katharine McPhee: “Oh, I think I would love to see her do a play, a straight play [not a musical]. It might have been boring for the audience, but I would have liked that.”

Would you have liked to sing more original songs on the show?

Katharine McPhee: “I would have liked to do more Broadway stuff. I love all the stuff I do with Megan. You know, classic Broadway songs. I love all the songs we did for the first season. It’s interesting because I’m more of a pop singer but for me when you’re traditionally ‘more’ something, like a pop singer, you want to do the opposite of what people think of you.”

– By Fred Topel

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