She provided comic relief on The
Good Wife and its sequel, The Good Fight, as attorney Elsbeth Tascioni (for which she won an Emmy), starred as roadhouse waitress Arlene Fowler on
True Blood and played the love interest of real-life husband Michael Emerson on Person of Interest. Now, Preston, 49, portrays peppy ex-con Polly on TNT’s new dramedy Claws, premiering tonight, about manicurists in Florida.
Why the title, Claws?
The show is set in a nail salon, and it’s about five women finding empowerment and strength. Each woman can symbolize one of the fingers on the hand. Claws can also mean defending against some outside force.
What’s up with your character, Polly?
She just got out of prison for identity theft against seniors. She lives in a fantasy world. She’s trying to create a life for herself that might not actually be happening in truth.
Did you have to take a nail class in order to play a manicurist?
We did a couple of [sessions] at a nail salon school. We had nail technicians and some hand models. We were really learning the basic manicure, but also acrylics, gels and all the detail work. I have more respect for nail art than I did before I did this project, that’s for sure!
When you look back at your career, which of your performances has left a lasting mark?
I would say that True Blood was a big turning point for me careerwise. I have the career of a character actor, and I’m happy because that’s what I wanted. I like transforming; I like being an illusionist.