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The Night Court Cast Talks Season 2: Friendships, Familiar Faces, & Dating Woes
Night Court's Melissa Rauch, John Larroquette, Lacretta, and India de Beaufort tease the old and new friendships that will define Season 2.
Time to crack the gavel because Judge Judge Abby Stone (Melissa Rauch) and her merry band of misfits are back. With the new year comes a fresh cavalcade of jurisprudence handed out by Judge Stone in her Manhattan Criminal Court as Season 2 of Night Court premieres January 2 at 8/7c on NBC.
In the hit revival of the classic '80s sitcom, Abby Stone continues the legacy of her beloved father, the now-deceased Judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson), by taking over his infamous seat, dispensing justice to the weirdest of the weird in New York City. Season 1 saw Abby acclimating to the city and establishing her own wit and style separate from her legendary father's. She also assembled her unique, dysfunctional work family to serve and protect, including grumpy public defender Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), reprising his iconic role from the original; Olivia (India de Beaufort), the assistant district attorney; Neil (Kapil Talwalkar), the awkward clerk; and Donna "Gurgs" Gurganous (Lacretta), the court bailiff.
The Season 1 finale delighted audiences with the return of original series bailiff "Roz" Russell (Marsha Warfield). Curious about how much more we'll see of Roz in Season 2, and what's to come for the motley crew, NBC Insider spoke with most of the cast to find out what we can expect for the characters.
Abby enters the dating pool
After a long distance engagement to her hometown boyfriend, Rand (Pete Holmes), Abby finally realized they want different things and they called their wedding off. This means Abby is a free woman in the city, and that's an interesting blank slate to explore.
Assessing her character's evolution, Rauch said, "The first season we had a little bit more country mouse vibes from Abby as she was experiencing New York for the first time. I think she's got a little bit more savviness to her this year." With her single status, the actress said Abby is "now allowed to say things that she wants for herself," even though she won't shed her people-pleaser ways. "She's trying now to figure out what she wants wants herself, so it's the fun and games of seeing Abby try that on for the first time," she said.
In Season 1, the show played with a flirtation from Neil towards Abby, but Rauch said that won't take off anytime soon. "She's going to be trying to see what the city has to offer by going on some first dates," she said. "There's an episode where there's a double date with her and Olivia. She's just putting herself out there to see what that looks like. Even her trying to create her first online dating profile, there's a lot of fun to be had in seeing this side of Abby."
Dan Fielding will migrate back to New York City
It felt like we just got the character of Dan Fielding back on our TVs, when the season finale had him accepting a dream appointment as a judge back in his home state of Louisiana. That can't be permanent, right?
With a light in his eyes, Larroquette told us, "All I can say is that circumstances arise that we will bring Dan Fielding back to New York for a another purpose, and from there, we will build a story. Obviously, he will stay." Thank goodness, because having that Fielding sarcasm tempering the insanity of Judge Stone's court is a big reason the revival is so much fun.
And speaking of fun, the season finale that had "Roz" Russell standing before Fielding's bench was a fantastic cliffhanger reunion to leave the audiences with during hiatus. Asked what that reunion felt like, Larroquette said, "It was immediate and intimate and hilarious to be with [Warfield] again. In some ways, it was reminiscent of the fact that when we looked at each other, we realized we were the only two left from the original. But it was heartwarming to see her. The last time I saw her was at Markey Post's Memorial, so it was happy to see her in circumstances where we got to work together again instead of just being at a place because of our love of the people who had passed." Look for the season premiere, "The Roz Affair," to continue where the duo left off.
With a whole season full of new and potential returning characters to anticipate, we asked Larroquette if anyone topped his personal wishlist and he said that it would be Candace Bergen. "She and I have spent a lot of time together," he shared. "We were on Boston Legal together and we did a Broadway play together. I went to New York and guest-starred on the reboot of Murphy Brown. I think if I could cajole her to come out to L.A. for a minute and find the right story for her, I would just love to work with her again."
Olivia gets a bit vulnerable
If there's anyone in Judge Stone's crew that is still thawing to the idea of embracing this team as her own, it's Olivia. As the experienced assistant district attorney, she likes to complain this gig is way beneath her, while also desperately wanting to belong. In Season 2, actress India de Beaufort hinted that Olivia's evolving friendships with Gurgs and Abby will continue to open up her character...a bit.
"I think there will always be a piece of Olivia that is Olivia as we know her. But she's now willing to admit that there's a little bit more vulnerability in there than she's let on before," de Beaufort assessed. "I think that's what keeps her interesting. And as we discover a bit more about her and, hopefully, a bit more about her backstory, those elements of her will open up. But there's something really fun about someone who can be a little icy and uncensored at times, and it doesn't hurt to let her jump back into that element of herself as necessary, whilst also developing what's going on underneath."
Since Olivia's home life remains mostly a mystery to the audience, de Beaufort is excited to get to a point in the series where audiences can see more than the "ambitious, no-nonsense, but slightly neurotic, caffeinated, prosecutor." She does tease there will be an odd moment of that coming this season, and she hopes we'll get to meet her oft-mentioned mom in the flesh.
Gurgs glues the ladies together
As the friendly and enthusiastic bailiff for Judge Stone's courtroom, Gurgs has proved to be the one person able to connect the disparate personalities together. Enthusiastic like Abby, but pragmatic like Olivia, she's able to make the sisterhood within the room work. Actress Lacretta said we should expect even more of that this season as her friendships with both women grow. "Olivia grounds Gurgs in a way, as she can be a bit flighty from time to time," the actress said of their character's bond.
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"But then Abby is definitely the sun," Lacretta said of Gurg's ultimate role model. "Regardless of what's going on, Abby always seems to see the silver lining in everything. And that's nice and refreshing because sometimes shows can get a little dark, even if it is a comedy. It can get a little dark and we're dealing with criminals at the end of the day. So to have a beacon there that's gonna see both sides, and really try to find a common ground for what they've done, and what their punishment should be, is really refreshing."
Asked if Gurg's reassignment to London will take her away from the action, Lacretta smiled and said, "You'll definitely hear about it."