In “Good Behavior,” Letty Raines (Michelle Dockery) always gets what she wants. She even got back the one thing that had eluded her for so long—her son, Jacob (Nyles Julian Steele). Unfortunately, the deal she struck with the FBI to regain custody of her son nearly cost her the love of an assassin named Javier (Juan Diego Botto), the one man who ever truly understood her.
As the second season opens, Letty has patched things up with Javier and reconciled with her mother, Estelle (Lusia Strus), who had long stood in the way of Letty getting custody of Jacob. On the run from FBI Agent Rhonda Lashever (Ann Dowd), Letty, Javier and Jacob are heading for a new life trying to be normal. But the more Letty and Javier try to create a normal life, the more things go awry.
In the latest episode, Letty and Javier must work together to steal half a million dollars from the owner of a drag club in an attempt to buy back their freedom. Unsurprisingly, it becomes a more dangerous operation than they initially expected.
Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the episode below.
Naturally, when I heard Letty was going to be going undercover as a drag queen, I jumped on the phone with “Good Behavior’s” co-creator, showrunner and executive producer Chad Hodge so he could spill the T.
Scott Conant: “In the latest episode, Letty makes her drag debut as Priscilla McCall, perhaps her best disguise yet. I take it that was your doing?”
Chad Hodge: “Yeah. It was all my doing. Letty doing drag and going into the world of drag was an idea I had during the first season. But it was something I knew I wasn’t going to do then but was a great idea for the second season.
“We put her in that world for a couple of reasons. Let’s just be honest, it’s fun to have Letty be a drag queen and see what that is—the big crazy wigs, the look, the makeup, the everything. But the real reason is two-fold.”
“One, we see Letty stealing from people all the time—clothes, money, jewelry. She’s really good at it and it’s quite easy for her. She almost never gets caught. Letty, as one of the queens who is in the episode points out, does a version of drag all the time. Anytime she is putting on a different persona, wig, outfit or playing a character, you could call that drag if you wanted to. So, I wanted to put her in a world where it’s not so easy for her, and she’s surrounded by people who are even better at doing what she does than she is and who play a role every day. So, to make it harder for her.
“The second thing was to explore the psychology of drag queens, what that culture is like, in order to shine a brighter light on why Letty does what she does. Which goes hand-in-hand with what I was just talking about. Letty is basically a version of a drag queen, so why does she dress up in these outfits and put on these wigs and play these roles? What’s really behind it? Because, as we know, if you watch the show, it’s not so that she can be in a disguise and not get caught—like she’s on some crime crusade and if she doesn’t put on a wig that everyone is going to know who she is. It’s not that. It’s just because she wants to be someone other than who she is. At least for a night.”
SC: “Now, I’ve been around a drag queen or two (or several hundred) in my day, and I know just how crazy things can get. How did your production team react to having drag queens on set?”
“We also built that nightclub set on our sound stages. When we were first starting prepping the episode, we were looking at locations, like actual nightclubs that we could decorate and change and make our own. But we quickly decided let’s build this, because we need all of our hair and makeup trailers, plus we needed even more hair and makeup trailers because we needed so much room for all the wigs and clothes and queens. We just needed to be at our home base. Instead of out on location somewhere where everyone is sweating and there’s not enough room and everyone’s stepping all over each other, we made enough room for everybody and then everybody had a blast.”
SC: “It was great seeing Sharon Needles and Ginger Minj in the episode. Is it safe to assume you’re a fan of ‘Drag Race?’ Any favorite queens?”
CH: “I love ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ I love drag queens. I love that whole world, and that is obviously one of the reasons why I wanted to do it. We had such a good time. I love the queens that are in this episode. My new favorite queen is Roxy Wood. She is amazing. She’s a trans actress and she is unbelievable. We had the most fun on set. She hosts Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s like three nights a week here in West Hollywood, which is so fun.
“The funniest thing was that I took all of the writers to Hamburger Mary’s for Drag Bingo months and months and months ago when we were first talking about doing the episode in the writer’s room—you know, just for fun and research. And Roxy was hosting Drag Queen Bingo [that night]. Cut to three months later and we were casting the episode. I was watching tapes of all the queens auditioning to be Sweety and she was my absolute favorite.
“But I didn’t remember that she was the host of Drag Queen Bingo until three weeks later when one of my writers said, ‘I think the person we cast to play Sweety was the host of Drag Bingo when we went three months ago.’ And I was like, really?! So, it was a total coincidence. She ended up doing an amazing job and we’re actually doing an event on Sunday night at Hamburger Mary’s hosted by her with a screening of the episode and the whole thing. So, full circle. It’s going to be super fun.”
SC: “Have you figured out what your drag name would be? You know, in case you decide on a career change?”
CH: “No. No, I haven’t. But we had a little competition on set where one crew member had to tell everybody else what their drag name would be. I can’t remember what mine was, but my favorite one that I’ve heard, though, is Rita Book.”
SC: “One of the things I love about ‘Good Behavior’ is that it seems to explore what it means to be a woman in today’s world, how they relate to men, how they find their voice. As the male producer and writer of the series, what sort of female involvement do you seek out during production?”
CH: “I was insistent that a woman direct the pilot to establish this world, this character, the vision for the show. I have several sisters. I have many, many, many women in my life. But, of course, I am not a woman. There is a stopping point as to how much I can know what it’s like to be a woman. Which is why I brought Charlotte Sieling on to direct the pilot. This year, four of our seven directors of the second season are women. Most of my writing staff are women. I love being around women. I can’t pretend what it’s like to be a woman, but I can listen. And I try to surround myself with as many women as possible.”
SC: “That’s refreshing to hear. I’d definitely class Letty in the ‘Badass Women’ category—which is part of why I love her character. Why do you think gay men love strong women so much?”
CH: “That’s a really good question. Obviously, there is a masculine and feminine side to every man and woman. Everybody has components of both and it’s all on a spectrum. I think there is something about strong women that gay men look up to, and I don’t know that I can exactly tell you why, but it’s kind of a fact.”
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