Roma Maffia is finally front and center on “Nip/Tuck”

While weddings are happy occasions in real life, they are often one of the telltale signs (see also: new baby, jumping over sharks) that a TV show is circling the drain.

But as Nip/Tuck has proved over its five seasons, the outrageous drama about a pair of lascivious plastic surgeons and their inner circle is never short on ideas, or on ways to twist convention into something fresh and, well, twisted. Take the marriage of Christian and Liz, for instance. They took vows to be together “til death do us part,” but the focus was really on “death.” Christian believed he was dying of cancer when he decided to marry his longtime platonic friend in order to ensure he would have someone to help him face his final days, and to put in place a stable person to bring up his young son.

Roma Maffia

But it all changed with one phone call. Pulling out the old wrong-sample-at-the-lab trick, Christian gets a new lease on life, but the look on his face as he and his new wife depart for the honeymoon is anything but relieved. It’s more, “How am I going to get out of this thing?”

We’ll find out how when Nip/Tuck returns for its sixth season on FX Oct. 14. It is the penultimate go-round for the boundary-pushing show, which will end its run with an already filmed seventh season sometime next year.

Roma Maffia, who plays Liz, won’t divulge many details on what happens to the marriage, other than to say that Liz “yet again finds out another hard lesson.”

The pairing was one of the more unlikely in TV history, with Christian an incorrigible womanizer and Liz a compassionate yet world-weary lesbian. Maffia herself admits to being “shocked” at the idea initially, and worried how gay and lesbian viewers would react.

“When [show creator Ryan Murphy] sent it to me, I was like, ‘How does that even happen that she goes with him? Especially him?’ And then I thought, ‘OK, so it makes sense.’ They’ve always had this bond. He’s slick. She’s lonely. And that way, I get it,” she says. “But it was a stretch, and I was really very conscious of making it so it wasn’t like Liz forgot she was a gay woman. I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, I woke up with amnesia and now I’m into Christian.'”

Besides throwing her for a curve, the storyline did help solidify Liz’s place in the show. For several seasons she had weaved in and out of the main stories, often relegated to the background and sometimes not seen at all. But her strange new relationship moved her front and center, and made it appear that she wouldn’t be fading away anytime soon.

Elsewhere on the show this season are a bevy of guest stars, some new and others who are returning. They include Rose McGowan, Vanessa Redgrave, Mario Lopez, Gilles Marini, Barry Bostwick, Famke Janssen and Joan Rivers.

Having finished shooting on the show in June, Maffia still has another year or so before the public knows how it all ended. Seasons 6 and 7 were filmed back to back, a circumstance that Maffia had never experienced before, and made the ending seem all the more sudden.

“It was so hard,” she says. “You do that thing, where you say, ‘I’m not going to think about it.’ Because … it was constantly the countdown, but when it got closer, it was like, ‘Oh, boy.’ And then people go through that thing where you try to distance yourself a little because you don’t want to feel bad. But it ended quietly because the way they’re laying out the seasons. So that was different in itself. It ended in June and it was sad, it was exciting to see what was next. It was all those things.”

Maffia is already looking into what’s next, having secured a recurring role on the Showtime series Dexter as a marriage counselor for the newlywed serial killer. She also is working with Rosie O’Donnell, trying to get an adaptation of Mary-Ann Tirone Smith’s memoir Girls of Tender Age before cameras.

And if she has her way, she will reunite with Murphy on his new project, the runaway hit Glee, which Maffia gushes about at every opportunity.

“Every time I see Ryan, I’m singing to him,” she says. “So he better put my butt on Glee.”