TV veteran Hilarie Burton is guest starring on ABC’s “Forever” Tuesday (Nov. 11) in an episode titled “The Ecstasy of Agony,” a title which should pique your interest. She’s playing Iona Payne, a domination therapist.
“Isn’t that a nice term for it, ‘domination therapist’? It’s very professional,” Burton tells Zap2it with a laugh. “It’s so funny to me because I’m a mom, I do preschool runs now, so to play a domination therapist is hilarious.”
A “domination therapist” is exactly what it sounds like — therapy through bondage and ritualized, S&M punishment. So did Burton have any whip-wielding lessons to prepare for the role?
“No, just real-life experience. I’m just drawing on my past,” she deadpans. “No, that is a total lie. [laughs] I was taking care of my son and running our farm, and I got this call out of the blue asking if I wanted to work for a couple days and do this totally random storyline, and I’m like, ‘Hell yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do right now!'”
“Iona is a woman who knows what she wants,” Burton continues. “She’s very comfortable in her own skin and she’s also very professional. There’s a lot of salaciousness attached to what she does for a living, but she does handle herself in a professional manner. But when she’s scrutinized for the murder of one of her patients, we start to see things unravel a little bit.”
When Dr. Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) and his team begin investigating Ms. Payne, she finds herself drawn to Henry and his own issues. “I think there is a clear melancholy [in Henry] that women find wildly attractive,” says Burton. “She begins questioning him about his occupation and his answers are very curious to her. There’s some unlocking to be done. He’s a man of layers and secrets, and as someone who’s very guarded herself, Iona finds that very attractive.
“I don’t think melancholy has to always be super morbid,” she adds, “but I think there are people on this planet that are more sensitive than others and when one sensitive person recognizes another, there can be sanctuary in that relationship.”
Unfortunately, as of right now it looks as though Ms. Payne is only briefly a part of Henry’s life. But Burton says she’d be open to returning if the show wanted to explore their relationship further.
“I had a lot of fun with this cast and a lot of the crew members I’ve worked with before,” she says. “I’m a New York farmin’ lady now, so any time I can take a trip down to the city and do something fun just to shake it up a little bit, I’m always game. I had a really lovely time with all those folks.”
“Forever” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.