‘Why Women Kill’ creator Marc Cherry dishes on show’s messages

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Why Women Kill | Thursday, CBS All Access

Marc Cherry has followed fellow network hitmakers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy to the enchanted kingdom of streaming TV. “Why Women Kill,” which debuts Thursday on CBS All Access, follows three women living in three separate decades — the ’60s, ’80s and present day — as their marriages are tested by infidelity. Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a happy homemaker cut from the same cloth as seminal TV moms Harriet Nelson and Donna Reed. Simone (Lucy Liu) is a brittle socialite and business co-owner whose fitted jackets and shoulder pads will remind you of Alexis Carrington of “Dynasty.” Taylor (Kirby Howell-Baptistery) is a bisexual attorney living in an open marriage with her screenwriter husband Eli (Reid Scott). Each woman lives in the same Spanish-style home with an interior that changes with the styles of the passing decades.

Cherry, 57, spoke to The Post from Los Angeles.


How did you settle on using three decades?
I picked the decades that were telling me the most interesting messages. Beth Ann is the smiling stereotypical housewife. She thinks she has everything she’s supposed to want. Simone is a Joan Collins-type, a businesswoman who thinks she has it all. I turned 20 in 1982 and Ronald Reagan brought being rich back into fashion. Taylor is in an open marriage and that story is partly told from her husband’s point of view. The show is about how these characters manifest the messages of their time.

How did you decide on the three actresses in “Why Women Kill”?
Ginnifer I had met before. She came to my office at Disney, Walt Disney’s old office. She was available to work after “Once Upon a Time” and I thought she would know how to play Beth Ann. We were talking about Lucy for the role of Taylor but somebody suggested her for Simone. I remembered how funny she could be. I loved her on “Ally McBeal,” so we sent her the script. And we wanted an actress of color to diversify the cast. I’d seen Kirby’s work and thought she was terrific.

Which freedom have you most enjoyed while working in the streaming world?
The way you plot a soap opera or continuing drama is different. On “Why Women Kill,” I had three months to prepare. On ABC, I had six weeks from the pilot pickup on “Desperate Housewives” to the start of production. The first season, which had 22 episodes, gobbled up most of my ideas. It makes such a difference in quality to be on streaming. I’m living proof of that.

One of your first jobs was writing for “Golden Girls” in 1990. How does that experience still influence your career?
I was in a room with really good writers. You get to hear how people with good story ideas do their work. What’s a good joke? What’s an earned character development? It helps you develop your taste. All these people had amazing points of view and it has done more for shaping my artistic identity than anything else.


And here’s what else to watch this week:

Creating Woodstock | Tuesday, Amazon

This documentary explores what went into the production of the, three-day 1969 music festival on Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York, which included an iconic performance by Jimi Hendrix. “Do you think it was easy to get Janis Joplin to sign a paper when she was drunk?” asks Artie Kornfeld, one of the event’s organizers.

The Terror | Monday, 9 p.m., AMC

Season premiere. Japanese-Americans Chester Nakayama (Derek Mio) and his family, in a World War II internment camp, deal with an unsettled spirit terrorizing the camp. George Takei, a real-life former camp prisoner, co-stars.

Succession | Sunday, 9 p.m., HBO

Season premiere. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) tries to make amends with his dad for the attempted takeover of the company. Logan (Brian Cox) receives some unvarnished advice from his financial banker.

Claws | Sunday, 9 p.m., TNT

Season finale. Just when the crew thought that they could become bosses, fate takes a turn on Desna (Niecy Nash) and Roller (Jack Kesy). As the walls close in on Desna’s reign, she is forced to make a choice no one would have expected.

City on a Hill | Sunday, 9 p.m., Showtime

When an unlikely source confides in Decourcy (Aldis Hodge), the Massachusetts State Police hatch a plan that promises arrests without the help of the FBI. However, keeping out of the way is not Jackie’s (Kevin Bacon) strong suit. Jenny (Jill Hennessy) opens up about her past.

Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

Our Boys | Monday, 9 p.m., HBO

Series premiere. On June 12, 2014, the disappearance of three Jewish boys in Israel sends shockwaves across the nation. Simon (Shlomi Elkabetz), a terrorism agent at the Israeli Security Agency, searches for answers. Arab teen Mohammed (Ram Masarweh) lands in a dangerous situation.

Mindhunter | Friday, Netflix

Season premiere. FBI agents Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) delve into the psychology of murder and get all-too-close to real monsters.



By Robert Rorke

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