IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS

THERE are few women in the world who wouldn’t want to kiss Tas­ma­nian-born ac­tor and The Men­tal­ist heart-throb Si­mon Baker. But his co-star Robin Tun­ney is one of them.

Tun­ney plays De­tec­tive Lis­bon in the hit crime drama and says de­spite there be­ing inklings of a ro­mance be­tween her char­ac­ter and Pa­trick Jane ( Baker) through­out the first three sea­sons, a love match would be a bad idea.

‘‘ I don’t know where it would go from there, un­less it was the end of the show, be­cause it’s not one of those tele­vi­sion dra­mas that . . . shows you what’s go­ing on be­hind closed doors,’’ she says.

‘‘ Like, are we sup­posed to be, like, hold­ing hands at crime scenes? Or do we have a Men­tal­ist Ju­nior and bring the baby to see dead bod­ies? ‘‘ By virtue of the fact that they’re the op­po­site sex, ev­ery­one is like, ‘ Is there go­ing to be ro­mance?’. But I feel like if there was, it would be so embarrassing in the next episode.’’

While Tun­ney is clearly against the idea, she says the de­ci­sion is not up to her so it still might hap­pen – a prospect that makes her mother very happy.

‘‘ My mum’s like, ‘ So are you and Si­mon go­ing to kiss this year? I feel like the ro­mance is re­ally go­ing to hap­pen this year’,’’ Tun­ney says, im­i­tat­ing her mother.

‘‘ And I’m like, ‘ Mum, I have no idea’. And she’s like, ‘ Yes you do and you just can’t tell me’. I’m like, ‘ Mum, I don’t work for the CIA. It’s CBS, we’re not that se­ri­ous. I’d tell you if I knew’.’’

There may be no love on screen for the pair at the mo­ment, but off screen the two share a gen­uine fond­ness for each other. Tun­ney praises Baker for his work ethic and his de­vo­tion to his wife of 13 years, Aus­tralian ac­tress Re­becca Rigg.

‘‘ He’s got a great mar­riage, he’s got a fan­tas­tic wife, and I think the idea that he’s been mar­ried for [ so long] is the best thing for me be­cause he’s in such a solid sit­u­a­tion,’’ Tun­ney says. ‘‘ He loves women and he re­ally re­spects them and he’s the guy who can go, ‘ Oh, that girl’s pretty’, but it’s like the most be­nign thing in the world.’’

The 39-year-old calls the Aus­tralian her ‘‘ TV hus­band’’ and says he’s her rock.

Tun­ney, who got her first big break in the witch film The Craft, also cred­its Baker with mak­ing her a bet­ter ac­tor.

Hav­ing done lit­tle TV work be­fore The Men­tal­ist, Tun­ney says she has learned a lot from Baker. He starred in Home & Away and Heart­break High be­fore scor­ing the lead role in the hit Amer­i­can le­gal se­ries The Guardian.

‘‘ He loves go­ing to work and I think that at­ti­tude on set def­i­nitely goes from the top down,’’ she says.

‘‘ The bar is raised and it’s largely due to him.’’

Rather than an­other TV se­ries, though, Tun­ney says her next step will be back into film. In The Men­tal­ist off-sea­son she starred in the small independent film, See Girl Run, which she says rein­vig­o­rated her af­ter play­ing Lis­bon for so long.

‘‘ When you’re try­ing to make an independent film, it’s like a group of kids try­ing to push a rock up a hill. They’re there for the right rea­sons be­cause they want to learn and they’re given op­por­tu­ni­ties that they wouldn’t nor­mally get.’’

While movies may be Tun­ney’s long-term plan, she says she is con­tent to re­main on The Men­tal­ist as long as the sto­ry­lines con­tinue to be in­ter­est­ing.

‘‘ I feel blessed to have a place to go where I like ev­ery­body. It re­ally is a fam­ily and I feel like it’s help­ing my act­ing,’’ she says. The Men­tal­ist, WIN Tas­ma­nia, Mon­day, 8.30pm

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