Things are about to hit the fan on “Good Behavior,” as Letty’s (Michelle Dockery) baby’s father Sean (Todd Williams) showed up and declared he’s going to get custody of Jacob (Nyles Julian Steele) — prompting Letty to ask Javier (Juan Diego Botto) to kill Sean.

But before that shocking cliffhanger, it was Estelle’s (Lusia Strus) big day: Letty’s mother has had some ups and downs throughout the season, revealing herself to be a lot more complicated — and vulnerable — than the cruel, exhausted monster we first met. In a lengthy phone conversation with Screener, Strus dissects the episode — everything from her marriage to Rob (Joey Kern), to her relationship with Letty, to how Estelle would feel about Javier killing Sean (spoiler alert — she’s on board).


Screener: Why makes Rob different for Estelle than all the other guys she’s been with?

Strus: Rob is the one person in this show who has a really simple agenda, an unconfused agenda. He’s kind. He’s not ignorant, he’s just kind. He just wants to be kind, and good, and he decides he likes someone and then he’s going to like them — and there isn’t confusion behind that, where I think all of the other relationships, they have such history behind them, in terms of what we carry. But he is good to her, he’s just good to her. And it’s really good sex — consistently good sex. [laughs]

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And it was important when we talked about the idea of Estelle being with a younger guy that she wasn’t trying to be younger for him. That it was a younger man stepping up his game for her. It was important to me and it was important to [the creators] and that’s something else in our relationship that I really like.

Letty and Estelle have some great moments this episode. Have they finally gotten to a good place?

[laughs] I don’t think they ever “finally” get anywhere. I think it’s any mother-daughter relationship. I think the show is really well-written in that regard. It’s these pieces of their lives that you see, these moments in this mother-daughter, sister-sister relationship — you know, they’re 15 years apart. So you see these frenetic moments where it goes back and forth.

When you’re dealing with someone that has been an addict, who has disappointed you, you don’t trust, there is a back and forth, and everyone around that person gets it. And Estelle has her own issues with trying to get around things rather than through them, so neither of them have any real tools for living. Estelle does not go to therapy, you know? [laughs] So I love the way it’s written, because it’s what really does happen behind closed doors in families– it’s not a presentational, TV version. It’s not sentimental. Every time it gets close to being sentimental, they pull the rug out, and that’s why I think that’s why [Estelle and Letty] never arrive anywhere.

lusia strus michelle dockery good behavior Good Behaviors Mean Mama Estelle on good sex and not caring if Javier killed Sean

When Sean shows up, is he a common enemy they can fight together?

I don’t like Sean, so I would say common enemy. You know, Letty created a lot of havoc. I mean, she left her kid. And when it’s just Letty, I can say, “You did it, this is all you.” When Sean shows up — especially when Letty and I are starting to change a little bit — I can redirect and say, “You did this to her.” It’s part of loving someone who’s an addict: You just want to blame people.

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I think for Estelle, she messed up with Letty so badly because she didn’t know any better — she saw what Letty could do, and she doesn’t even want to admit how big of a part she played in what happened to Letty … [She’s] not willing to admit that, and just wants to have another glass of wine or marry another guy who loves her. Everybody tries to get around their problems, one way or another. Something’s gonna be the solution.

I think [the blame] is that subtle, “How are we going to figure out what’s wrong with Letty?” thing, when nothing’s really wrong with Letty. She’s just not ordinary, and she’s trying to be. And as soon as she accepts that she’s extraordinary, and when Javier comes in and starts putting her into extraordinary circumstances and that’s where she thrives, then it’s kind of like, “Oh, OK.”

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If Javier did kill Sean, as Letty asks, would Estelle care?

I think Estelle would not care! Estelle doesn’t know that Javier is a murderer. She does think he’s a chef — or a drug dealer, maybe. But a very nice one, very polite drug dealer [laughs] — and there is something about Javier, for me, that immediately I trust him. Immediately I see that there’s something solid about Javier, in terms of… Nothing bad would happen, Letty would be safe with him, and maybe even Jacob. He’s good with Jacob, and I’d even admit that above Letty.

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But Sean did some bad stuff and if Sean wants to take Jacob, no one gets in the way… So no, I don’t think Estelle would have much of a problem with it. You’re not going to pull money out of Jacob’s college fund to do it, but you figure out a way to do it and that’s fine. And she’d totally help cover it up!

“Good Behavior” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."