It’s been a tough time for Melinda. Li was killed; EJ replaced her as DA. How is she feeling? “She had such a complicated relationship with Li, where she was always balancing where she wanted to be professionally and her professional goals and her ambitions. Everything she’d built her identity on was suddenly turned on its head with her unexpected relationship with Li. And when he died, it was one of those moments of, just when she opens up and becomes vulnerable, she gets taken down. So it’s a very, very tough moment for Melinda, after trying to explore that part of herself that’s been closed off since losing her daughter. So that’s where she’s at — an ‘all or nothing’ moment in her life.”
Table For One: Melinda will be dining alone now that Li (Remington Hoffman) is dead.
A lot of who Melinda was was tied to being the district attorney. How is she coping with having lost her job? “It was one of those necessary changes. Sometimes you need to break the thing before you can put it back together. I think that’s where she’s at. She was completely devastated, but also realized that the kind of life she was living was unsustainable, to only have her identity wrapped up in her work. I could really, really relate to that. What’s interesting for this journey that Melinda’s on right now is just finding other parts of herself. Maybe even the viewers are like, ‘Who is Melinda now?’ That’s actually really exciting for her to find out for herself as well. I don’t think she knows yet. So it’s really exciting. There’s so much possibility with Melinda as a character, so many storylines that are possible and so many directions her character can go. That’s so much more fun than to be locked into this sort of caricature, if that makes any sense. She’s a complicated person.”
What does it mean to you that the show has used Melinda so much of late? Did you ever expect to be on the show so many years and involved in a front-burner story? “I’m delighted that it’s happening. I did not expect it. All I know is I really enjoyed exploring her as a human, fleshing her out, and giving it a little breath. It’s really exciting to see that people have been responsive to it, and that the wonderful writers have been able to have a symbiotic relationship with me as an actor and write material that I can play with. It’s been a really pleasant surprise.”
The writers have developed a friendship between Melinda and Sloan. How did you feel when that started? “First of all, I was really surprised. We went from being sort of nemeses to being friends. That’s an interesting ‘frenemy’ combination, because there’s always an imminent threat. Am I threatening her? Am I really being vulnerable? Am I opening the door? At first, it was shocking. I just couldn’t believe that was the route we were going. But I enjoyed it, because I could allow myself to be surprised by Melinda in that unlikely friendship. Sloan is a hot mess. I think Melinda maybe has that wanting to save [her quality], even though she wouldn’t say it. She has a righteousness about her that wants to help and save. Sloan has shown her a little bit of kindness and opened that door for her.”
How would you describe your relationship with Jessica Serfaty (Sloan)? “It’s really fun. She’s really a fun person to work with. We laugh a lot. We enjoy our time together. I think we’re both getting our feet wet together. It’s been fun to build our relationship at the same time as building the relationship between Sloan and Melinda.”
Partners In Crime: Sloan (Jessica Serfaty) and Melinda are in cahoots.
Having spearheaded this whole baby switch for Sloan, is Melinda worried about future repercussions? “Right now, Melinda’s sort of lost and flying by the seat of her pants. She’s lost her job and is terrified about going to jail. That’s the last thing she wants to do. She’s terrified about what EJ DiMera will do to her [if he finds out]. So yeah, she thinks a lot about the future. Maybe she’s on a weird self-implosion, self-destruction [course] to rebuild herself on the other side. Not sure what it is yet!”
Has it been fun playing out a story of this scope? “So fun. I can’t wait for it to get even juicier. I’ve had such a great time. It’s just really fun to play all these different sides and get the script and go, ‘What?!’ To flip the pages to find out what happens next, who hates me now, and who loves me tomorrow. It seems that that’s what happens with Melinda. She’s loved one day and hated the next. I think she’s got a heart of gold. I really want people to fall in love with her, even if they love to hate her. That or hate to love her!”
You get a lot of fun dialogue. Do you enjoy that part of your character, being funny and getting to deliver such great lines? “I love when Melinda has humor, even when it’s dark. I try to do it with a little bit of a smile. I like to say she’s deliciously dark. I love it. I love her sass. I start to have scenes with Leo. Then you’ll have the two sassy pants going at each other, and I’m really excited about that. I love working with Greg Rikaart [Leo]. So that’s really fun too. I want even more sass and more snark. If you’re playing something so dark and sort of cynical, you kind of need a little levity as well.”