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Maura Tierney Explains The ‘Secret Mission’ She Cooked Up For Her Character When Filming American Rust: Broken Justice Season 2

 Maura Tierney on American Rust: Broken Justice.
Maura Tierney on American Rust: Broken Justice.

Looking over Maura Tierney’s extensive filmography, you’ll find everything from great Jim Carrey comedies like Liar Liar to gut-wrenching must-watch biopics like The Iron Claw, and just about everything in between. Over the years, the ER alum has shown off her comedic chops and dramatic prowess in multiple roles, and for the return of American Rust: Broken Justice, she found a way to add some fun and lightheartedness to the tense Rust Belt crime drama.

Before the March 28th debut of American Rust’s second season, a show that was canceled in 2022 by Showtime and later brought back by Amazon, I sat down with Tierney for an interview about the upcoming chapter, and I asked if she tried to do anything differently with her portrayal of Grace Poe the second time around. Little did I know, the Golden Globe winner was about to let me in on a little secret, a “secret mission,” as she put it:

I think I tried to treat the second season a little differently because what I wanted to do was bring a little bit more of her sense of humor out. I think she's a deeply ironic character. So I would try to really illustrate that when I could in Season 2. … I would really try to find where I could inject, depending on the scene of course, some humor or level of irony in the character. I feel like I was on a secret mission.

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Without giving too much away and spoiling things that happen in American Rust: Broken Justice, Grace Poe is one remarkable character, one that can be stoic, proud, and powerful one moment, and incredibly ironic, dry, and hilarious the next. From helping Jeff Daniels’ Del Harris cover up unsavory parts of his past and then giving him grief about his actions a moment later, she has a lot of range thanks to Tierney. Even so, the actress didn’t want to take all the credit for the funnier side of Grace in Season 2:

The writers did write her funny lines. But I felt like I was in a covert operation to lighten it up a little bit.

The explosive American Rust: Broken Justice trailer wouldn’t lead you to believe that the show’s second season has a lot of comedy. However, each of the 10 episodes has a decent amount of humorous moments and interactions, with most of those involving Maura Tierney’s character, be it directly or indirectly.

After binging the entire season ahead of my interviews with the actress, as well as creator Dan Futterman and writer Adam Rapp, the inclusion of these dry, ironic, and comedic moments did add a much-needed sense of levity to a lot of the situations. And if American Rust: Broken Justice is brought back for another season, hopefully, this is an element that continues well into the future.

Amazon subscribers will be able to watch American Rust: Broken Justice in full when the 10-episode season premieres on the 2024 TV schedule, Thursday, March 28 on Prime Video.