Found is more than worthy of your attention.
The NBC freshmen series has been setting social media ablaze week after week as viewers get deeper entrenched into the lives of the Mosely & Associates team and the captivating cases they take on each week.
Recently renewed for a Season 2, Found is buoyed by a fantastic ensemble, which includes the effortlessly charming Kelli Williams, whose storied career has seen her play various roles on some of primetime’s hottest series.
Williams steps into the role of Margaret Reed, who serves as the lead investigator for the firm and suffered a tragedy 13 years earlier when her son, Jamie, was abducted from a bus station.
We chatted with Williams about her character and got some insight into what drew her to the role and her excitement for what’s to come.
Margaret has been spending most nights at the bus station, hoping for Jamie’s return or to learn more about his abduction. And it left her estranged from her other children.
During Found Season 1 Episode 9, Margaret went to therapy and had a breakthrough moment when she admitted that she was holding herself back. But why was now the time for her to start on the path of healing?
“I think that when she saw her daughter after those ten years and walked into the office … it made her realize that she, thinking that she was doing the right thing by then ultimately abandoning her other two children for this need to just so deeply, almost weirdly, dig into the trauma of Jamie is losing Jamie.
“And I think she’s just been looping and obsessing and not being able to give up that grief and that shame that she’s been carrying around for all these years.
“So, I think going into therapy, prompted by seeing her daughter, makes her realize, which is so vulnerable for Margaret, this idea that she’s almost held onto that trauma.
“I guess in a way, I don’t know if this is the right term, but she keeps trauma bonding with herself and the bus station over and over again. And I think that she realized that it’s destroying her in a sense. That’s no way to live.
“Truthfully, could you imagine if we truly played Margaret as if she slept in the bus station every night? She would not look good. She wouldn’t be wearing nice clothes.
“I have to say I’m proud of Margaret for coming and what the writers have given her in terms of the choice to say it’s time to unearth this and truly work on her guilt.
“I think that that kind of opens the floodgates for her in vulnerability and then the possibility of healing and then reconciliation with her daughters, who she abandoned.”
Margaret is an intriguing character with a devastating backstory and so many layers. We’re only seeing a fraction of it at this point. And the complex nature of the character helped draw her to the role.
“I had initially read the pilot episode,” Williams explained. “I work for Nkechi. I directed her on All American and All American Homecoming. And I had moved to directing full-time in the last five years.
“And so, I was reading it thinking, ‘I’m going to put my name in the hat for it.’
“I knew Nkechi had this project in development, and I was excited for her. I love working for her. Then all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Oh damn, I would totally play Margaret if I was still acting. I’d totally be going in on this.’
“And then I said that to Nkechi, and she’s like, ‘Oh wait, what? Wait a minute.’ She’s like, ‘Would you?’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean? Would I?’ ‘Would you?’ We just had this funny exchange.
“And then, ‘Okay, well, you’ve got to go and do the whole bells and the whistles of getting the job.’ And I was like, ‘Okay’.
“Clearly, Margaret hit a nerve with me in terms of loving complex people. I love the nuance of, dare I say, damaged people in the sense of, as an actor, sort of the human condition in terms of what sadness and trauma do to us.
“I just love the way she wrote the community of our little moxie, our little motley crew of Mosely & Associates, who are there in support of each other. Then, we also try to take our pain and fuel it into something good to bring people home.
“And particularly this franchise, our whole modus operandi of Gabi’s life’s work, which obviously is so complicated in and of itself.
“So that drew me to it, and I was like, ‘Okay, do I want to step aside from this whole other career I built to play Margaret?’ And the answer was like, ‘Okay, yes.’
“Is that scary, too? Yes. But I’m very happy to be there. It’s such a lovely group.”
While everyone at the firm brings a unique skill to the team, Margaret’s graced with the art of perception, which Williams had familiarity with due to her role on another series in the past.
“You know what’s funny is that ironically, I did a series with Tim Roth called Lie to Me for three years,” Williams said.
“And he was sort of a lie detection specialist. And so there was a book that a guy named Dr. Paul Ekman wrote about all these micro tells that we give away all the time throughout the day.
“So I did a lot of research for that show, and Dr. Ekman was on set with us sometimes. So, I did research for it basically ten years ago.
“And when Margaret came up, and Margaret had this Margaret vision, I joked around, but I was like, ‘Oh, now I get to be Tim Roth. I get to play like you are lying.’ It’s pretty funny.”
A season renewal shows just how much of an impact the new drama has had on audiences, with fans flocking to their televisions each week to follow the twists and turns and compelling characters.
“I think that it was a real sort of the special sauce of Nkechi all around the idea of the show,” Williams said when asked about what has gotten the audience so invested in this story.
“It’s like where you have these standalone episodes with each week finding someone, bringing someone home, and then you have the complexities of the humanity of the main characters.
“So often, I don’t think the main characters get to be quite as “damaged” or complicated, it seems at times.
“The decision they made to reveal Sir so quickly in the beginning, at first, I was like, ‘Oh God, they’re going to do that. Wait, don’t do that.’ But then so much of the series is about knowing he’s there, but then the audience knows more than the rest of the regular actors.
“And obviously, the guest stars don’t know either, but so you guys as an audience coming in and watching, knowing all of the shit that’s happening and that, oh, Lacey’s seeing something and what’s happening, you get to be there with us, but even ahead of us.
“And I think that’s really kind of compelling. I think as a viewer and also particularly, I think it’s unique for a network show. I feel like that’s something that you might see more on a cable show. And the fact that Nkechi could marry all of that together is really, really cool.
“That’s one of the things that drew me initially to the project, too.”
With the promise of more stories, Williams has some thoughts about what she’d like to see further explored with Margaret.
“I have heard little whispers of the characters getting to each character’s origin story,” Williams told us. “You know what I mean. Their initial ‘how they got to where they are in the sense of all of our trauma,’ I guess.
“So I think that’s really exciting to know. What is it? Are we possibly going to find Jamie, my son? What is the relationship with my daughters going to look like? What does it look like if I start to extract myself from the constant trauma reinforcement of my guilt by going to the bus station?
“What does it feel like not to go there sometimes, and how that might be crippling in and of itself. There’s just so much material for all of our characters coming up in the next season, so I’m excited.
“It’s so funny, though. As an actor in the project, it’s like you can get an idea of what the arc is if you sneak a peek into the writer’s room, right? But then, so often, you just don’t get to know until you’re in it. And then your characters live in these parallel universes.
“Then, certain decisions that maybe you would’ve made, three or four episodes later, you find something out that maybe you could have planted a seed before, but maybe you somehow weirdly planted a seed without even knowing you were planting a seed. So it’s weird.
“It has its own logic that starts to happen. Maybe it can feel flimsy, and then it can feel super strong, like they connected all these dots for us, and then we as actors need to come in and then materialize those connections.
“So, it’s cool. When the writer’s room and also because Nkechi’s writer’s room and Sonay’s writer’s room pay attention, it’s really fun to see how we’re living in tandem.”
***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***
You can watch Found on Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC.
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.