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Lawbreaker Christina Hendricks loves playing a 'criminal mum' on Netflix show Good Girls

She may be part of a trio of TV mums who show their bad side, but Good Girls’ Christina Hendricks tells Adam Stone why it’s nothing but fun on set, and how the show has gained such a huge following

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Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks.

Once named “the sexiest woman in the world”, Christina Hendricks is back on our screens in the fourth and final season of Good Girls.

The 46-year-old opens up about playing a “criminal mum”, filming during the pandemic and how she would cope if she had to break the law for the sake of her family.

For those who perhaps haven’t seen the show, how would you describe your character?

“Beth is your typical mid-Western mother. She’s hard working, organised and kind of on auto-pilot to the point that she has lost sight of her dreams. Then she finds out her husband has been cheating on her and her world is turned upside down.

"Mae, who plays my sister, is a single mother struggling to protect her child and Retta plays my best friend who has a daughter with a serious illness. Together these three women find themselves in a situation where they need money just to survive.

"They decide the best solution would be to rob a grocery store that just so happens to be secretly laundering money for a crime ring. So we go in trying to steal $15,000 and come out with half-a-million that belong to gang bosses who are now after us. That starts what has now become their life of crime.”

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Christina with her fellow Good Girls stars Retta and Mae Whitman

Christina with her fellow Good Girls stars Retta and Mae Whitman

Christina with her fellow Good Girls stars Retta and Mae Whitman

Where do we pick up the story at the start of Season 4?

“Well, it picks up from the end of last season with the Secret Service having caught up with Beth and the girls. The pressure is on more than ever and there’s a lot more trouble and drama. At the same time Beth’s husband, Dean (Matthew Lillard) wants to buy a hot tub business which Beth sees as her opportunity to get the girls out of the spot they are in and keep their criminal activities going.

"Everything is different now that Dean knows what Beth has been up to but he realises that in order to save his family, he has no choice but to support what Beth has been doing and maybe even get involved. He at least needs to turn a blind-eye so it’s a big turning point for them this season.”

How did Covid change the way you shot this season?

“Everything had to be sanitised of course and everyone had to be protected all the time. Also, we would usually shoot episodes one at a time but for this season we shot in eight-episode blocks which was hard because the storyline is so winding and ever-changing so it was really wild and crazy to what was happening when and why. I think we pulled it off.”

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Do you think the Good Girls can ever stop being bad now?

“I’m not sure they can because they have gone so far down that road. They got into this as a one-and-done thing but now they’re in so deep, I don’t know how they could ever go back to their old lives.

"You’ll see this season that, despite everything that has happened, they still somehow think that they are just around the corner from being normal moms.”

Why do you think the show has become so popular?

“I think it’s fun, quirky, weird and dark and because the characters are so relatable because I think we would all do anything to help our children.

"Yes they’re up to no good but you watch and you can’t help be, ‘Yeah, I’d do it too!’ Also, it’s just so much fun to watch these women make horrible mistakes.”

What kind of feedback do you get from fans of the show?

“Not so much now because we are all in our bubbles, but before Covid I did used to get mothers coming up to me saying how much they loved seeing women like them being so empowered and doing what they are doing.

"I did sometimes have to remind them that we’re not robbing grocery stores and that crime sprees are not something to aspire to but it’s wonderful to experience people loving the show and the characters. Now of course we don’t see any of that but hopefully people are still watching!”

You came to Good Girls having spent 10 years on Mad Men. Were you ever hesitant about taking on another big TV show?

“Sure. When you spend a decade of your life on a show, you really have to think about what you want to do next. It really was a case of, ‘Do I really want to do all this again?’

"But I looked at it and I really loved the characters, the story and I really wanted to work with these women on this wild caper. It’s intense and hard work but we have so much fun.”

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Christina as Joan Holloway in Mad Men

Christina as Joan Holloway in Mad Men

Christina as Joan Holloway in Mad Men

Did you all start the show as strangers?

“I had never met Retta but I knew Mae a little bit because we had done some animated things together. I actually called her when Good Girls first came my way and I asked her what she thought about it. She said it was going to be the best thing ever. She was right. We all hit it off from the moment we first got together and here we are four seasons in, still loving being together. We really take care of one another.”

So no arguments on set?

“No, just a lot of laughing between takes. We’re acting out these really stressful, intense scenes so it’s important to laugh and hang out with people you really love. We’re a team. I couldn’t love them more.”

Good Girls has a loyal following on Netflix. How do you feel about the fact people may be watching on their phones and tablets as well as on TV?

“I think it’s great. I really don’t care how people are watching, just as long as they’re watching the show because I really do think Good Girls is unique and different. The show has taken on a whole new audience through Netflix and I think that’s great. The more the merrier.”

What would you say you have learned from playing Beth up to now?

“I’ve learned that I could never do what Beth does because I would be laying awake ever night, staring at the ceiling worrying about what I was doing and when I’m going to get caught.

"As a character, I think Beth has learned that while she defined herself as a perfect mom for so many years, she never really liked it. She’s discovered that she likes the new life, even though it’s scary.”

How would you compare Beth to Joan in Mad Men?

“Well, they’re very different in so many ways of course but they’re also similar in the way they both realise they are good at something they never realised they were even capable of. Both Beth and Joan succeed through going on a journey of self-discovery, although in Joan’s case what she is doing is completely illegal.”

How do you look back on your time on Mad Men now?

“With great pride and gratitude. Playing Joan meant so much to me and she is a character that still stays with me even now. I learned how to love myself, be more confident and be more ambitious because of her. I learned a lot from Joan and I still miss her.”

Do you still keep in touch with the rest of the cast?

“Oh sure. I see January (Jones), Jon Hamm, John Slattery and some of the others. We went through something very special together. We’ll be friends forever.”

You have starred in many of our favourite shows but what are your favourite shows to watch? “I have a dirty habit for watching reality TV shows. All the Housewives shows, Married at First Sight... all of that stuff you can just watch, switch off and have fun watching stuff that is so far removed from what I do.”

  • Good Girls is on Netflix now

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