Did you ever fear Suits might be a one-trick pony due to its fake-lawyer concept?
The success of our show has come in the fact that it is so character based. In a way, being in a law firm is circumstantial; what you're really invested in is these relationships, and the stakes are high. Our creator, Aaron Korsh, had originally written this show as something that had to do with the stockmarket. The network that produces our show said, ''We need something more episodic; the stock market is not something people perhaps want to view every week. So if you can take these same characters that we find so interesting and compelling and put them in the context of a show that people will tune in for every week, we're golden.'' It's never going to be a one-trick pony because it's always going to be about all of our different personality types and what that brings to each episode.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Born and raised in LA, I grew up on set. My father was a lighting director for about 40 years. I actually grew up on the set of Married … with Children, every day after school for 10 years. So I actually found a lot of comfort in being on a TV set, be it on camera or off. I never thought I would become an actress. I always wanted to get into politics and I moved to Argentina and worked for the US embassy for a bit. It sort of happened upon me when I was home for the holiday - acting, that is - and I stuck with it.
Is your dad proud you're an actress, or does he wish you were a politician?
I think my dad always saw how happy I was on set. I think in many ways those were my formative years. As a little Catholic schoolgirl in my uniform to show up on the set of Married … with Children every day after school, seeing these women barely clothed, and there I am in craft services making sandwiches and having all the adults say, ''Meg, why don't you go sit in the booth for a little bit and not see what's happening here.' It's funny: it was a show that I wasn't allowed to watch at home but I was there for the filming of. So whether it was in the capacity of becoming a producer or a writer or something behind the scenes, which is where I saw my future, he loved my passion for being involved and acting.
You were a golden-briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal.
By the time Suits had come around I had been acting for maybe six years. Deal or No Deal - I like to call it my very lucrative waitressing job. Most actors find a way to make a living while they're auditioning and, for me, holding a briefcase was an incredibly lucrative means of being able to pursue what I really wanted to do. I'm not a model by any stretch, so I was just fortunate enough to be able to pay my bills - and then some - by standing in uncomfortable shoes and smiling really big for an exceptionally long time.
And now you're living out of a suitcase?
Seven months out of the year. We are actually filming in Toronto, which cheats quite well for New York. What I don't think most people understand is some of these really compelling moments that seem so tender, or even when you are seemingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on set, it is 4 o'clock in the morning and we are just over-caffeinating and trying to make it all seem as believable as possible. It's really long hours, maybe 16-hour days, but that's a high-class problem that I feel fortunate to have - champagne problems.
Seven, Monday, 11pm. (Season one available on DVD)