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Shanola Hampton Says Her Character Gabi Mosely on Found Is Swimming in Secrets
Actress Shanola Hampton reveals there are so many secrets that drive the drama in Found.
On the surface, NBC's Found, the upcoming missing person's procedural, looks like an altruistic, feel-good drama about former kidnapping victim Gabi Mosely (Shanola Hampton) using her terrible experience to help others. But as the new trailer reveals, Gabi's got a great big, Mark-Paul Gosselaar-sized secret in her basement.
While each episode of Found — which premieres October 3 at 10/9c on NBC — is most certainly about Gabi's D.C.-based crisis management firm chasing kidnapping cases before they grow cold, it's also a taut, psychological exploration of what it means to be prey and predator.
As a 16-year-old, Gabi saved herself and another little girl, Bella, from their kidnapper, Sir (Gosselaar). Both grew up to be strong advocates for others who end up in similar situations, but Gabi takes it to a whole other level by abducting Sir, imprisoning him in a secure basement cell, and forcing him to help her solve new cases, as the insight of a predator gives her a new perspective.
Shanola Hampton on the Found team
In an interview with NBC Insider completed prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the equally fierce Shanola Hampton told us that Gabi is still wrestling with trauma and staffs her firm, Mosely & Associates, with other collaborators who have their own personal traumas, including a grown-up Bella, now known as Lacey (Gabrielle Walsh).
"I think it starts there," Hampton said of why Gabi was inspired to create her company and team. "Their history is that she was able to save Bella when Bella was a little girl and she was just a little girl herself. Then it became her mission to make sure that Lacey / Bella could go on and live life. And maybe even part of her wants her to forget that that ever happened, because life is so good now. But the Lacey character is still so wounded."
Hampton said that even though Bella was held by Sir for a fraction of the time that Gabi was, it has deeply impacted Lacey into her adulthood. And if Gabi can avoid that for others, she will — by any means possible. "After she [hires] Lacey, [next] it's how do I find a team?"
Seeing a world where tragic things are still happening to innocent children, Gabi is compelled to make it right, the actress said of her character's mission.
"Her passion is to find others and to save them. It's to keep them from feeling that pain that [she] felt," she said. "And then it comes together. The universe lays out all of these people."
Assisting her at Mosely & Associates are a staff of equally passionate yet broken heroes still navigating their paths of healing, too, including Margaret (Kelli Williams), Lacey (Walsh), Dhan (Karan Oberoi), and Zeke (Arlen Escarpeta).
"The biggest thing at M&A is no one judges how others choose to deal with their trauma, and their healing process, or their lack of," Hampton said.
But is Gabi's secret about Sir a step too far? Hampton admitted that will be a huge issue for Gabi and her inquisitive staff as the season unfolds.
"Even though Gabi is doing this horrible thing, at the end of the day, this is going to be her family. So if there was anyone that's ever going to know this big secret and this crazy thing that she did, it's these people that she's put together under the guise of healing," Hampton said.