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Sharon Lawrence

Sharon Lawrence will be guest starring as Linda Fusco on Monk for the third time when "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend" debuts this Friday at 9:00 PM. She was introduced in the fifth season episode "Mr. Monk, Private Eye" as the ticked off real estate dame who hires Monk and falls for Stottlemeyer like a ton of bricks. She made her second appearance in "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan." She began her professional career as a singer and dancer in Broadway musicals "I've always wanted this career and I always believed I'd have it, but you can't imagine the initial awe of finding myself on stage with Anthony Quinn, Joel Grey and Topol"*

In 1993 she was cast as Sylvia Costas in NYPD Blue. Sharon won a SAG award and was nominated for an Emmy three times for her portrayal.

She supports many non profit organizations including The Creative Coalition, the Alzheimer’s Association and Global Green USA. She's an experienced diver, rock climber and poker player. She was also brave enough to jump right in and answer a few questions for me.

Did you have to audition for Monk? Did they have you in particular in mind for the role?

I did not have to audition for the role of Linda Fusco. It came to me as an offer, but I don't think it was written with me in mind. I'm just the lucky gal who got to play the part.

Did you know the role would be a recurring one?

When we finished the “Mr. Monk, Private Eye” last season, it was clear that because of Linda and Leland's chemistry and proximity, remember at that point they lived across the street from one another, I thought it was a possibility that she would return to the show again.

How do you see the character of Linda Fusco?

Like Sylvia, the role I played in NYPD BLUE, Linda serves to illuminate things about the characters she interacts with. I think there's a nice parallel between Sipowitz and Stottlemyer, right?

Linda is a take charge kind of gal. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. That's what makes her a successful realtor- her bold determination and sense of style. It's also why she gets to date such an attractive man...

Is Ted Levine fun to work with or is it all serious business?

Ted's a serious professional. I've been a fan of his film work for along time but I also admire the work he's done on stage. I saw him in Sam Shepard's BURIED CHILD on Broadway years ago and knew he was something special. He is a dedicated craftsman and it was a privilege working with him. He loves to rehearse and explore the layers of the scenes. It's great to work with people who really care about what they do. The entire cast is remarkable.

At one point the episode was called "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Girlfriend." Do you know why they made the change? Is Linda, in fact, a bad girlfriend?

The title of the episode "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Girlfriend" was changed because at a rehearsal, Tony got a huge laugh when he read the line to Linda "You're a bad girlfriend". You'll see why it's so funny on August 3rd.

What was the most memorable part of filming the most recent episode?

The most memorable part of my time on set was observing Tony Shalhoub as he transforms in to Adrian Monk. It's a metamorphosis right before your eyes. He changes his entire physical being. What a treat to witness.

I saw your Law & Order SVU guest shot. That was a scary character. How do you prepare for something like that?

I have had a few roles which call forth that kind of transformation, like the character I played on Law and Order: SVU. I played a psychopathic serial killer who seemed to change personalities in an instant. My husband trained as a psychiatrist in a big county psych ward and was very helpful in researching that pathology. It was a great challenge to understand that character's mind.

I think my training as a dancer early in my career gave me great lessons in physicality and the confidence to manipulate my body, voice and energy to create a character. That is why I love the arc of my career. It's filled with so many diverse roles- from earnest everywomen to comedic divas, from tear-jerking dramas to brassy Broadway musicals. All the roles interest and challenge me in different ways.

Do you prefer film or television or stage work? And why?

I'm so grateful that I've had to opportunities to return to the stage throughout my television career. I started there and respect the purity of the rehearsal process, the cooperative thrill when the company and the audience share that magic as the show unfolds and the gift of repeating the performance to bring new life into it each time. Of course, TV and film have their upsides too- the work on film exists forever and having someone to do my hair and make up is a luxury!

What are you working on now?

In October I will be back to a crime drama mini series called THE WEIGHT for The Movie Channel. It's a bit like THE WIRE- gritty and disturbing, just the 180 degree turn from Tess, my sassy Texas Pageant queen in HIDDEN PALMS on the CW!

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