By Evan Lambert
With her star constantly on the rise and a Primetime Emmy nomination under her belt, Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley is back with yet another show — but this one is unlike anything she’s done. At the inaugural Tribeca TV Festival this past weekend, Wiley spoke to Flagrant about her role in the new YouTube Red series Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, while hinting at an arc for her character Moira in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television is, essentially, how it sounds. Ryan Hansen — a handsome, affable actor known for Party Down, Veronica Mars, and generally being funny — stars as himself, and attempts to solve crimes in L.A. with an actual professional cop (played by Wiley.) Apparently, Hansen (the character) needs footage for a show he’s filming within Ryan Hansen’s fictional universe. As for Wiley, her character frequently looks on with bewilderment as Hansen barrels his way through crime scenes.
“I think she’s really confused, like the entire time,” said Wiley before the show’s world premiere at Tribeca. “She’s very serious, she’s about the work, she’s about solving these crimes, and there’s nonsense going around. She’s wondering why everyone is not doing their job.”
Wiley also teased season two of The Handmaid’s Tale, which she had just been filming in Toronto. When asked if her character might find real happiness — and possibly a girlfriend — in the new episodes, Wiley said, “We haven’t talked too much about it, but Moira actually does have a partner who has been sent to the Colonies, so we’ll explore some of that this season.”
Wiley also confirmed that Moira will continue to play a “big role” in the show as she attempts to reach out to Offred (Elisabeth Moss) from her current safe haven in Canada.
Hansen, who admitted to Flagrant that he frequently gets mistaken for Dax Shepherd, joked in a post-premiere panel that Wiley’s recent Emmy nomination for The Handmaid’s Tale was a classic sign of overachievement:
“I have been doing this for a long time, and I think Samira has been at it for three years? And already Emmy-nominated?” he said. “Some people have goals like that, but … I can take my time. It’s not like, ‘stardom or nothing!’”
Hansen makes fun of himself in Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes as well — while also making fun of Kylie Jenner, NCIS: Los Angeles’ Eric Christian Olsen, multi-cam sitcoms, YouTube Red (“It’s exactly like YouTube, but it’s not free,” says one character), and general Hollywood narcissism. When Hansen is confronted with a criminal threatening to shoot him point blank, he cries, “Not the face!”
For fans of Hansen, Wiley, or spoof shows, the zany, meta comedy — created by Dodgeball and Central Intelligence director Rawson Marshall Thurber — will drop its entire first season on YouTube Red on October 25.
Just for fun, here’s Wiley taking on Laverne Cox on Lip Sync Battle.