The popularity of USA's legal drama Suits has produced a spinoff series that just rounded out its cast with popular daytime alum Bethany Joy Lenz (ex-Michelle Bauer, Guiding Light).
Deadline reports that the Florida native has signed on in a series regular role for the series that follows powerhouse attorney/original Suits character Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) as she adjusts to the dirty world of Chicago politics. The project was originally introduced in the season seven finale of Suits, which served as a backdoor pilot for the spinoff.
Lenz has replaced original actress Rebecca Rittenhouse as Keri Allen, a driven and ambitious city attorney serving as unofficial right hand to the mayor.
"I'M THRILLED. Thank you all for your support and encouragement and all my friends who rolled their eyes when I told them 'I quit, I don't have the stamina for this business anymore,'" Lenz shared on Instagram. "This beautiful character on a smart and cool show came my way at exactly the right time in my life. Couldn't ask for a lovelier team of people to be working with. I'm so grateful I'm bursting into tears randomly throughout the days. So excited."
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I'M THRILLED. Thank you all for your support and encouragement and all my friends who rolled their eyes when I told them "I quit, I don't have the stamina for this business anymore". This beautiful character on a smart and cool show came my way at exactly the right time in my life. Couldn't ask for a lovelier team of people to be working with. I'm so grateful I'm bursting into tears randomly throughout the days. So excited #blessed #backinthesaddle #suits #suitup #skirtsuits @usa_network @iamginatorres #USA @deadline #APA #AtlasArtists @creativeprinc @bonnieezane #tvnews #suitsspinoff @suits_usa #suitors #KeriAllen
Several other actors will be joining Lenz in the series, which is currently starting production in Los Angeles. Chantel Riley has signed on as Angela Cook, a certified Nursing Assistant and Jessica's cousin, who is suspicious of Jessica's sudden altruism. She is preoccupied with taking care of her two sons, protecting her mother, and staying connected to her community. Isabel Arraiza has joined the cast as Yoli Castillo, Jessica's passionate assistant, who will learn from the best how to most effectively channel her intensity. And Eli Goree has signed on as Derrick Mayes, a former journalist who got into politics to make a difference but struggles with the reality of what it takes to do so.
As seen in the backdoor pilot, Morgan Spector plays Mayor Bobby Golec, the handsome, charismatic, and enigmatic working-class mayor of Chicago. Meanwhile, Simon Kassianides plays Nick D'Amato, a tough cop who serves as the mayor's driver but has a mysterious connection to one of Chicago's biggest developers.
The spinoff hails from UCP and is executive produced by Suits creator and executive producer Aaron Korsh alongside executive producer and showrunner Daniel Arkin. Doug Liman, David Bartis, and Gene Klein of Hypnotic and Torres also executive produce.
Lenz is best known to daytime fans as GL's Michelle, a role she played from 1998 to 2000. After leaving the CBS soap opera, she went on to find primetime fame in roles like One Tree Hill's Haley James Scott, Colony's Morgan, Dexter's Cassie Jollenston, and Grey's Anatomy's Jenny.
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