Niecy Nash-Betts interview: ‘The Rookie: Feds’ and ‘Dahmer’
“They want to be seen and they both want to be heard. They want to be able to take up space and know that they have value in the world,” declares Niecy Nash-Betts, who this season not only stars in the new ABC crime dramedy “The Rookie: Feds,” but also features in “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” as the real-life neighbor of the monstrous serial killer. For our recent webchat she says, “Simone waited later in life to live her dream of becoming an FBI agent, but she still feels like she has value,” she says, adding about the woman she portrays in “Dahmer” that “in trying to call the police and trying to share what she was experiencing through living next door to Jeffrey Dahmer wanted to be heard, wanted her voice to have value in the world, and neither of them ever stopped trying.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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Nash-Betts has been all over TV this year, following her acclaimed performance as weary neighbor Glenda Cleveland in the hit Netflix limited series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” with her starring role in ABC’s “The Rookie: Feds” as straight-shooter FBI recruit Simone Clark, a woman who “walks to the beat of her own drum.”
“The Rookie: Feds” was created by Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter and stars the four-time Emmy nominee alongside Felix Solis, Frankie Faison, Britt Robertson, Kevin Zegers and James Lesure. The show’s premise and characters were introduced in a two-part “backdoor pilot” episode of ABC’s “The Rookie” last April, before premiering its 22-episode freshman season this fall. Nash-Betts brings an endearing irreverence and wit to her character, a “woman of a certain age” who has graduated as the oldest rookie at the FBI Academy. She has finally achieved her dream of being a fully-fledged FBI agent, bringing her unique skills and perspective to the Los Angeles Field Office’s Special Investigative Unit.
“I was like, ‘yes please, and thank you,'” the actress smiles when looking back on the day she was offered the starring role on the ABC crime dramedy. “A Black woman joining the FBI, being an equal opportunity lover and really enjoying her second act?” she adds, referring to Simone as being the embodiment of a “dream deferred,” which resonated with her personally when taking on the role. “There always will be things that you dream about, things that you think about, things that you want. They don’t necessarily have to be career-related, but it could be a relationship, it could be a child, it could be anything that you’ve longed for and wanted,” she explains. “There is always a way and that’s really what I leaned into.”