Satisfaction premieres on USA Network on July 17 as a steamy new drama about a husband and wife and how their successful lives start to evolve as they look at what makes them happy and the lengths people go to achieve happiness. As Neil and Grace Truman make unconventional decisions, they become more in tune to their desires and their connection to each other grows stronger.
Katherine LaNasa plays Adriana, and there’s no way to skirt around her occupation. I’ll just let Katherine explain, “She’s a business woman and a pimp.” More specifically, she’s Neil’s pimp.
Did that catch you off guard? Let me go back a bit a fill in a little info about Neil and Grace. Neil is successful. Very successful, like 80-inch 3D-TV successful. But one day, he decides he hates his job, freaks out in a meeting, and guess what happens? Nothing. Instead of this being a crazy, American Beauty moment, everyone laughs and he’s given a raise. Instead of the cathartic release of changing his situation, Neil is slammed with despondency and a realization that if he wants to free himself from his stagnant life, he has to do something even more dramatic. He slides into the high-end world of sex and seduction, where he meets Adrianne, a powerful woman who wants Neil to join her stable of elite male escorts.
LaNasa was drawn to the part by the opportunity to put a unique spin on the character of Adriana. “When I read my part on the page, it felt a bit more mature, almost a Joan Collins –type role.” But, she says, “Instead of playing the part kind of arch and sophisticated, I put a bend on it where I made her an old cool-girl. I came up in the 80’s in New York and I was hanging with this older crowd. And there were a lot of these chicks like that that I would see that were in their 40’s who were able to move through the world. Opportunists, really, who could take one thing and turn it into something else. And I recognized Adriana as one of those girls.” In the Satisfaction pilot, it’s hard not to be drawn to Adriana’s character. She’s cool, captivating and possesses a sexual power that reminds me of Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct. But not in an I’ll-kill-you-with-an-ice-pick way, more of a sex-is-power-and-I have-a-lot-of-power way.
What is it about Episode 105? Throughout my set visit, the actors to whom I spoke described Episode 105 as a series-defining episode. Naturally, this is the secretive world of serialized TV so they wouldn’t reveal much, but LaNasa teased, “When I read script 105, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is a TV show!’ It is soooo out there. It’s really complicated. The pilot is really beautiful and I then feel like the next couple of episodes [are spent] laying in all of the characters and getting the plot points going. And then I read 105, everyone just opens up and has these different levels and layers and changes and the show takes some trippy turns and I kind of thought, ‘Wow, this is really original! This is very, very original.’”
I think having a main character who is a madam is original too, but LaNasa reveals she didn’t consult any “industry professionals” about the part. She says, “The role is really a fantasy. I speak Japanese; apparently I’m a tattoo artist. But I feel like it was a character from someone’s imagination more than it had to do with being a madam. I don’t know how to explain it. To me, Adriana is a mysterious Jack-of-all-trades, and I think a deviant, really. I think the madam thing is a deviation rather than a necessity, for her — like Heidi Fleiss.” And since being a madam is what she does and not who she is, Adriana’s character moves easily through the wealthy social scene of the generic cosmopolitan American city in which Satisfaction is set and eventually slides into all aspects of Neil’s life (which LaNasa says will happen around — you guessed it — Episode 105.)
When asked why people should watch the show, LaNasa points to herself as the show’s ideal viewer. “I think it is a show for my generation. Who are working and successful, but there’s this sort of apathy that the show addresses, this sort of disconnection to what is happening in our world. We’re so filled with social media and things like that. There’s all of these ways to be present and not be present.”
Satisfaction Premieres on USA Network Thursday, July 17 at 10pmET/PT
image © Guy D’Alema/USA Network