(CBS Local)– A new episode of “Clarice” comes to CBS on Thursday night at 10pm EST/PST and actor Jen Richards will appear as a guest star. The trans actor has been a consultant for the show and she gets the opportunity to jump in front of the camera as Julia Lawson, the corporate accountant who refuses to work with the FBI and Clarice specifically.
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Richards to discuss tonight’s episode, the importance of representing the trans community properly on television and the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill.
“I came on as a consultant to help create a character, a trans character who could help address the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill,” said Richards. “In the context of the show, she works at a pharmaceutical company, which might be our big bad guy. The FBI agents are still trying to figure that out. Clarice is looking for an informant inside the pharmaceutical company to help them. The first episode which airs this week, my character Julia is forced to confront whether she wants to confront Clarice about her own complicity in the narrative framing of Buffalo Bills as a trans person.”
Richards has been acting since she was a little kid, but said when she came to Hollywood that there really wasn’t a place for trans people. A lot of her work has been behind the scenes as an advocate, consultant and activist, but she has done great work on-camera on shows like HBO’s “Mrs. Fletcher.” Richards got the attention of the “Clarice” showrunners when they saw her in the documentary “Disclosure” discussing Buffalo Bill.
“They wanted to provide an opportunity for a trans character to do something different than we’ve seen before,” said Richards. “It was a profound delight to be a part of that entire process. We are still seeing a rash of anti-trans bills across the country, many of which are rooted in the understanding that trans people are somehow predatory. In fact, trans people are rarely the perpetrators of violence and very often, at much higher rates, are the victims of violence. Buffalo Bill has created a narrative that isn’t based in reality and actually shapes people’s actions. On a more personal level, as a trans person growing up and watching television, if you only get to see yourself through violence or a victim, it doesn’t create a real hopeful model for your place in the world. It fills me with joy that kids can watch a trans character played be a trans actor.”
Watch “Clarice” tonight on CBS and stream the whole series on Paramount+.