Bosch has become Amazon Prime Video’s longest running series. Amy Aquino, known for many iconic roles on television, stars as Lt. Grace Billets. In our interview with Aquino, we talked about Bosch, her upcoming roles on Grace & Frankie and The Good Fight and one of the most legendary guest roles on Everybody Loves Raymond.
Aquino says its the characters that makes Bosch so successful. “As a reporter covering the LAPD, Michael Connelly developed powerful relationships with people in law enforcement and a deep understanding of their day-to-day reality, of what drives them, and what drives them crazy. They aren’t types, they are interesting, complicated people. Our show is committed to presenting that reality, and I think it’s what makes it very special.”
Bosch season six is now streaming, but for those who haven’t binged yet, Amy teases us with what to expect with the show and her character, Grace. “In this season, solving a murder means more than just the pursuit of justice – it’s the only way to prevent widespread death and destruction in the city of LA and Grace is once again finding herself a target of the bureaucracy just for doing what she knows is right. She also is tapped by Irving to take on homelessness in Hollywood – a story line based on my friend and Hollywood Det. Shannon Geaney.”
In the trailer for this season, you can see Grace hanging out with a new staff member, Detective Coltrane, who just happens to be a dog. “Although we only worked together for the promotional video, it was maybe the hardest thing I’ve done. I am a HUGE dog lover, and dogs respond very powerfully to me, so we became quite bonded (read: we were all over each other) before the shoot. Unfortunately, the scene required that I speak sternly to him, and that he NOT do what I was asking him to do. And he was SO confused and sad that his new friend was being so mean. Between shots I did my best to apologize and let him know I did actually love him but that possibly confused him even more. To his credit, he still did brilliant work, IMHO.”
As everyone is in lock down, Aquino is keeping busy. “Doing promotion for the show, putting in my summer vegetable garden, sewing masks, hiking my street with neighbors’ dogs (we lost ours a couple years ago), cooking, baking bread, polishing up my rusty sewing-machine skills by making masks, creating and delivering care packages for a couple of elderly neighbors, and generally doing whatever I can to make life easier for my husband, who is a financial advisor and therefore has been under intense stress since before the quarantine even began. I’ve also begun work on an environmental initiative involving creating entertaining ways to teach people how to shrink their carbon footprint. Stay tuned.”
It was exciting news to hear that Aquino was going to be a guest star on CBS All Access’ this season. “I was hired on a Tuesday morning and was on a plane to NY that afternoon, March 11th. We weren’t being quarantined but we knew about the virus, so I was careful not to let anyone else touch my bags, I cleaned my airplane seat thoroughly, and used the elbow bump (remember that?) to greet people. But obviously on a set there was no social distancing.”
“As for the shoot itself, I was thrilled to work with Christine [Baranski] for the first time, and with my friend Michael Boatman, with whom I starred in his very first NY show back in the late 80’s. The crew and director were wonderful, despite the strange circumstances, and the character, an Inspector General dealing with a complaint, was smart and complicated.”
“Not knowing how long we’d all be able to travel due to the virus, I flew back home just hours after wrap, so my total time in NY was under 24 hours. I was supposed to return the following week to shoot 2 more episodes, but the day after I got home production was shut down, and the rest is history. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to finish it when we get through all this.”
And then we get to her role with Grace & Frankie, and she describes it one word, “heaven.”
“Lily Tomlin is a heroine of mine from my early years – the first woman I knew of who made brilliant, intelligent comedy that was totally her own terms. They are meticulous about the lighting on that show (yeah!) so I had the privilege of sitting with her for hours between shots and she could not have been sweeter or funnier. I’m just sorry our characters did not end up friends so I could go back!
Amy Aquino has starred in many iconic roles throughout the years, from Everybody Loves Raymond, Picket Fences, Judging Amy, Crossing Jordan, E.R., Harry’s Law, Brothers & Sisters, Glee, Being Human, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Mentalist and her credits go on and on, but when asked her favorite role, Felicity comes to mind.
“It’s hard to pick out just one, but my character of Keri Russell’s shrink on Felicity is certainly in the top five. It was a wonderful combination of humor and drama, and I got to play someone I rarely get to play: a big, funny personal mess who’s socially inept, who’s also totally direct, smart and incisive. And I got to sit across from that gorgeous, angelic girl who also happens to be a fabulous actress, and have vollies of perfectly written dialogue that went much longer than most shows give themselves the luxury of. Oh, and the character was Italian and from Brooklyn, so that connected me to my parents’ roots in Borough Park. In other words, it was firing on all eight cylinders, and that’s rare.”
In Everybody Loves Raymond, Aquino played Peggy, Ally’s friend’s mother, who ends up picking a fight with Raymond over girl scout rules, and so becomes, a legendary character in that series for many episodes.
"That show was another gift, and one that keeps on giving in the form of friendships that I formed with the creator Phil Rosenthal and his wife Monica. Patty [Heaton] was already a friend for decades, and it was a treat to finally get to work with her, as we would normally be competing for the same role. Working with Ray was at first daunting, since he was such a star and I had to beat him up not only verbally but physically; I was scared to death I’d ACTUALLY hurt him and the entire production would shut down. But Ray was phenomenal – a little shy but totally present and welcoming. And I was blown away by his commitment to becoming a great actor, an effort in which he has succeeded brilliantly. "
“That show was another gift, and one that keeps on giving in the form of friendships that I formed with the creator Phil Rosenthal and his wife Monica. Patty [Heaton] was already a friend for decades, and it was a treat to finally get to work with her, as we would normally be competing for the same role. Working with Ray was at first daunting, since he was such a star and I had to beat him up not only verbally but physically; I was scared to death I’d ACTUALLY hurt him and the entire production would shut down. But Ray was phenomenal – a little shy but totally present and welcoming. And I was blown away by his commitment to becoming a great actor, an effort in which he has succeeded brilliantly. “