Shades of ‘Moonlighting’ in TNT’s New Procedural ‘King & Maxwell’

by | June 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM | Interviews, King & Maxwell

Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn in "King & Maxwell" (Photo: James Dittiger/TNT)

Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn join the TNT summer lineup of crime solvers with the premiere of “King & Maxwell,” a new scripted series in which they play former Secret Service agents turned private eyes. Look for it beginning Monday night.

Developed for TV by “NCIS: Los Angeles” creator Shane Brennan from characters from the best-selling books by author David Baldacci, “King & Maxwell” will feature the same mix of comedy and drama that Brennan applies to his hit CBS series.

“One of the big things about the show is it is just as much about the characters — Sean King and Michelle Maxwell [as it is the cases],” Tenney told XfinityTV.com in an exclusive interview. “They are both trained in the Secret Service, but they were there at different times. Because they were working for the government and they are no longer, they are working outside the rules as it were, and can do things in ways they couldn’t do before.”

In addition to being a former Secret Service agent, Maxwell is a former Olympic rower, who keeps in shape by rowing to work each day. She is a special combination of beauty and brains, who employs her Beltway connections to help solve cases.

King is her opposite. He washed out of the Secret Service when the presidential candidate he was protecting was assassinated.

As he sunk into despair, he was rescued by a friend — whom we learn about in the premiere — who got him into law school, which gives King an edge on knowing just how far they can work outside the law.

And while there is a touch of “Moonlighting”‘s will they/won’t they to their relationship, it isn’t what the series is about.

“They are both good at observation, reading faces, reading rooms and situations, and reading attitudes,” Tenney says. “They pick up clues that the average person might not pick up. They are very good at connecting the dots and contextualizing everything. Because they were working for the government and they no longer are, they are working outside the rules, as it were, and can do things in ways they couldn’t do before.”

King and Maxwell work out of a ramshackle office along the river’s edge, so they are not quite as successful as they hope to become. They are more on the level of a “Magnum, P.I.” than the upscale Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. But with Washington, D.C. as their beat, the majority of criminals and mysteries they become entangled with involve the world of power and politics.

“As P.I.’s they have to drum up business,” Tenney says. “Sometimes it is busy, sometimes it is slow. Sometimes they will do a case for the money; sometimes because it is the right thing to do. That is another ongoing battle between King and Maxwell: ‘We have to take a case for the money.’ ‘No, no, no. We have to do it right.’ That is part of the dynamic as well.”

Along the way, they will butt heads with F.B.I. Special Agents Rigby and Carter, played by Michael O’Keefe and Chris Butler respectively. As is the norm, sometimes the FBI and King and Maxwell are antagonists; sometimes the FBI accepts their help.

“It is nice to have that back-and-forth, and that tension,” Tenney says. “Through their eyes, we see the world of the law, where we are outside of the law — but our hearts are in the right place.”

As for guest stars, in addition to the previously announced Jerry O’Connell, Romijn’s husband, Catherine Bell will be guest-starring for an arc.

“Catherine Bell plays an ex love of mine,” Tenney says. “She is playing Joan Dillinger. It is a big character in the books.”

And speaking of guest stars, Tenney plans to return to “Major Crimes” at the end of its season to reprise his role as Fritz Howard, as well as direct an episode, which he says he is excited to do.

“King & Maxwell” premieres Monday, June 10, at 10/9c on TNT.