Tricia Helfer previews Charlotte’s return to LUCIFER

Photo Credit: Marc Cartwright

When we last saw Tricia Helfer’s Charlotte on LUCIFER, the spirit of Mom had been sent into the void and the ball-busting lawyer was left battered and confused. Though she’s been gone for the first few episodes of the season, Charlotte makes her return to the LUCIFER fold in Monday’s all new episode, “Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards.”

I spent some time chatting with Tricia about what’s coming up for Charlotte, the impact it has on the team, and what it’s like to play a completely different character in Season 3. Plus, Tricia offered up some scoop about how the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reunions over the summer kickstarted a new endeavor.

We saw Mom go off into the void, so talk a little bit about bringing Charlotte to this world. 
It’s been a fun challenge playing an all new character [laughs]. She was a sharp attorney, extremely good at her job as a criminal defense lawyer. She isn’t a bad person herself. In one way, kind of bad by association, pushed the boundaries in order to do her job well. And overlooked a lot of things and that top of thing. She’s really been shaken to the core because she’s facing basically a four month blackout where she knows nothing but she’s told about all these and thinks that she got up to and so basically she wakes up from what she thinks is a four month blackout and has to kind of try and piece her life back together. Which Mom left it with challenges [laughs]. Her husband took the children and left, and she’s got to pick the pieces up at work.  She’s having these flashes, these nightmares. She doesn’t know what they are, but she assumes, like any logical human, that, especially when in your job your mind or your sharpness is something that’s integral, she assumes that maybe she’s just having a nervous breakdown. 

That’s almost worse than a lot of things. It means you’re not control of yourself and your mind, right? She doesn’t even go so far as to assume that there’s something worse than that. In the realm of Lucifer, obviously when somebody dies, you only go one or two places. So she’s not allowing herself to go there yet. She’s just kind of assuming she’s having a nervous breakdown. Throughout her discovery in the first episode back, she realizes it may even have been darker than what she’s thinking.  She ends up trying to figure it out, she’s grasping at straws, but trying to put together a facade, so that will crack in Monday night’s episode. 

And then you know ultimately she’s going to discover that she needs to try do better and be a better person. And that’s going to be a lot of her quest this season, is not only getting her life back on track, but trying to be better, and do better.  That’s hard for somebody. Mom was a little awkward, a fish out of water, with human mannerisms, and things. She knew about humans, but some little things went over her head a bit.  With Charlotte, she can be a bit of a cold person, and she doesn’t have a lot of empathy for people.  She’s really going to be shaken to the core and trying to figure out her life. She’s going to have ebbs and flows; she thinks she’s getting it figured out. And then you know you have another down period and realize you’re kind of covering it and not really facing your fears. She’s going to be on a bit of a roller coaster. 

LUCIFER: Tricia Helfer in the“Welcome Back Charlotte Richards” episode of LUCIFER airing Monday, Oct.30 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: John P Fleenor/FOX

It’s got to be exciting.  Probably exciting to play the mother of Lucifer, right, but now you have this whole other level to explore.  
Absolutely. My concern was where does she fit into the story, but I totally trust in the writers’ room, knowing that they were going to make her a fully fleshed out character and things. It is kind of funny. Last season, I was so much working with Tom and DB, my sons, and now this season, I’m working with so many of the other characters instead and I’m barely ever on set with Tom and DB.  I haven’t had a scene with DB yet. It’s like “where are you; where’s my Amenadiel?”

What are the ramifications of new Charlotte and the relationship she had or has with Dan? He kind of fell for her, didn’t he?
He did fall for her! Dan get sthe short end of the stick a lot [laughs]. Charlotte has no idea who this guy is, and she definitely is kind of pushing him away, and he’s not somebody that he would normally, the good guy, is not somebody that she normally would give any attention to. THat’s not to say that throughout the season, I don’t know exactly where we’re going with it yet, but she does sort of start to rely on him in ways, and there may be something there yet.  Certainly in the beginning, Dan gets his ego bruised yet.

You mention not knowing exactly where things are going, but has there been talk of an overall arc or theme for Charlotte this season?
With Charlotte, I don’t know where it’s ending up in the season. I haven’t had that convo yet. In the break, we all sat down with the writers to talk about the characters but because I hadn’t read about Charlotte yet, because she wasn’t in the first few episodes, it was like, you guys gotta give me something first before I have any questions.  I’m due to sit down with them and see where she’s going! [laughs].  This season really is about her identity and trying to figure out.  She knows who she was and she knows that she’s missing this time that she doesn’t really understand – nervous breakdown, went to Hell – doesn’t really, there’s a lot that she’s trying to grasp onto; on the off-chance that there really was something really dark about it, she’s trying to do better, be a better person so that ultimately she doesn’t end up in that same spot at some point.

But you know, you are inherently who you are, right? She’s maybe not fully grasped that she has to turn a new leaf, or whatever that expression is.  Yes, she has to be a better person, instead of acting to be a better person.  I don’t know if it’s the following episode, or it’s coming up soon after, but she grasps onto the Ella Lopez, Aimee Garcia’s character. Last season, Ella said to Mom “there’s a lightness about you,” but when she sees Charlotte, she says “there’s a darkness about you.” There’s a fun episode that Aimee and I had where Charlotte kind of zeroes in on Ella and is like, I’m going to figure out being good by being around you, which sends Ella into fit, which we don’t usually see.  All of a sudden, this person that she sees darkness in is around her all the time. That was a really fun episode to shoot!. For the rest, where we are now, there’s going to be ebbs and flows. She’s thinking she’s getting it on track. She’s doing better, she’s starting to work with the prosecution instead of defense, and then she’s kind of shaken again, and she realizes she was putting on a facade instead of changing, so it’s going to be a roller coaster for her.  Her struggles are very human, unlike Mom, and what brought her here, Charlotte, I think we’ll be able to relate to her struggles in some way.

Photo Credit: Marc Cartwright

You mention something universal – trying to find yourself. That’s what makes the show that’s about the devil, and his mother, and brother, and God. It’s so relateable because there is such a human struggle with every character.
This season, with every character, is a lot about identity. Certainly for Charlotte. For Lucifer – at the beginning of the season, he’s like, I’m the Devil.  He’s grasping back onto that part of his identity. Amenadiel is trying to figure out, still, why he’s here, and why his father put him here.  Linda almost died because of Mom last year, and she’s trying to figure everything out.  And Maze, everybody is going through their own bit of identity crisis this season it seems.

What are you hearing on social media from fans about Charlotte or what they hope to see?
It’s so funny! I kind of lost it on Twitter or Instagram (@TruTriciaHelfer/@officialtriciahelfer) I posted a picture of me and Aimee on set the other day – somebody wrote back “Spoiler!”  it’s like, I’m back!  We’ve known it for months! [laughs]. I’m amazed that some people are watching my Twitter or Instagram feed and they still haven’t figured out that Charlotte is coming back. I think some people still think Mom is going to be coming back, and I’ve heard a lot of people that are excited.  The majority of people who have tweeted are like, we’re going to miss Mom, but we’re excited to see what Charlotte is about. I hope that I portray this new character and make them see the difference in it. I’m excited to see what they think Monday!  Most people just want to know “who is she?”

What else have you been working on besides LUCIFER?
I went and did a Hallmark Summer movie that aired.  It was an extremely fast turnaround – I got to work with one of my old BATTLESTAR costars, Paul Campbell, a lovely guy.  It was a complete opposite!  Just a normal, sweet woman trying to find romance and all that. It’s nice every once in a while to just do something completely opposite, and go yeah, I’m going to be the romantic partner, on the beach in Cancún. It was definitely a lovely month! So, then was busy with a couple of BATTLESTAR reunion panels this summer – ATX, Entertainment Weekly brought us in for a reunion panel, so that was really fun, and we did one at Comic Con, and Marc Bernardin, a writer/journalist moderated one of the panels, and he and I were talking, and it sparked this idea – we’ve only done one episode but we’re about tape another one, we’re doing a podcast, a re-watch of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, so we’re going to do a podcast for every episode. There’s one for THE WEST WING, and we’re attempting to do that as well.  There will be some information soon about where it’s going to land, but we’re going to pre-tape a couple of episodes.  

I love a good BATTLESTAR re-watch! 
Exactly! [laughs] The idea was sparked because we were talking and I was like, I haven’t seen it. I watched it when it aired, but some of the episodes were rough cuts, and not the final version. I was like, I really want to go back and watch it now that it’s been a span of time, and he goes, why don’t we do it on a podcast, so I’m really looking forward to it!

LUCIFER airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX.