Kimberly Williams-Paisley on Flipping Claire & Miles' Relationship in the New 'Darrow Mystery'

Meredith Jacobs
Q&A Bettina Strauss/Crown Media

Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Tom Cavanagh, and Wendie Malick are back in a new Darrow mystery on Hallmark, and the case and their relationships may be a bit different, but it's just as fun and entertaining as ever.

In Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery, the case brings up Joanna's (Malick) past when a former colleague needs their help. And, of course, it all leads to Claire (Williams-Paisley) and Miles (Cavanagh) facing off in court — while also trying to figure out what's going on in their relationship.

Here, Williams-Paisley previews the case, Claire's relationships, and more for TV Insider.

Can you preview the case and key players?

Kimberly Williams-Paisley: A former colleague of Joanna's comes to town and is asking for some legal assistance. Shortly after that, she is accused of murder. Claire really wants to defend her. Joanna and she had a falling out, so Joanna's conflicted about it, but that's how we come into the mystery of it. As per usual, Claire really believes she's innocent.

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Then the opposing attorney, the prosecutor assigned to the case, is Miles, and Claire and Miles have had an on- and off- kind of relationship. They've never really gone the distance and actually officially started dating, so the love component is the other story going on.

You mentioned this case is personal for Joanna, which means it also affects Claire. Can you talk about how their relationship has changed since Joanna moved home and the two of them are working together, particularly in this movie?

They're getting along better now. Joanna has softened a little bit. Now they're actually helping each other. In this episode, you do see them working together in a nice way. I really enjoy that relationship that they have with each other.

(Bettina Strauss/Crown Media)

Then with Miles, there's sort of a new wrinkle because an ex-girlfriend of his comes to town and that forces Claire to think about what she really wants the relationship to be.

Speaking of Claire and Miles, we see how well these two do in their jobs, but when it comes to their love life, they keep stumbling and taking one step forward, two steps back. 

She's never felt threatened before, but with this ex showing up, she's feeling jealousy maybe for the first time ever. She was taking it for granted that Miles would always be there and she realizes that might not be the case. She has to decide what she's going to do about it.

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That's how it was also set up, that he kept asking her out. It was, "Oh, today's the day I ask you out again."

Yeah, they had that in every other episode, and he was always doting on her, so it's fun that they've flipped that a little bit on this one.

Can you talk about balancing the professional and personal lives for these characters? That’s something these movies do so well. We see Claire at work, but also at home with her daughter.

Yeah, and I love that part of it. It's a family show, and the family relationships are really important. You see her supporting her daughter, who's running for class president. Then of course, there are a lot of kitchen scenes in this one. Joanna's learning how to make pancakes and looking up these homemaker things online, which is really against type for her. There really is a lot of family and heart at the base of the show.

(Bettina Strauss/Crown Media)

What’s changed the most about Claire and how she goes about things, both professionally and personally, since we first met her? What did you especially want to stay the same?

She's getting braver in relationships, finally. When we first met Claire, she was still really hurting after the death of her husband and afraid for Lou, that if she got into another relationship, it would affect her in negative ways. But Lou has been encouraging her to do it.

What hasn't changed is that professionally, she's at the top of her game. She knows what she's doing, she loves her work, and she's committed to it.

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As an executive producer, was there anything in particular you wanted to explore with your character going into this movie?

I was maybe the one who suggested the jealousy aspect of it when we were doing the last one. I just thought it'd be really fun to see Claire as someone who's jealous and insecure and what does that do when you've taken something for granted and then all of a sudden she gets the rug pulled out from under her. I was really looking forward to that tension.

Is there anything you hope to do with the character or her relationships in future movies? There will be more, right?

Hopefully. We haven't gotten the official on that.

(Bettina Strauss/Crown Media)

There's more fun to be had for this world and these characters. Finding a good mystery is great. I love the court scenes and Phoef Sutton's writing. He always makes me sound smarter than I think I feel. I'd love to see the continuation of the banter and the humor and these people getting in uncomfortable situations and trying to figure out how they're going to work their way out.

Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery, Movie Premiere, Sunday, September 8, 9/8c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries