Kathy Bates talks 'Harry's Law' return: 'I wish the naysayers would just shut the F up'

Harry’s Law is back on NBC this weekend, debuting in its new Sunday 8 p.m. time slot for the second half of season 2. Kathy Bates, who earned an Emmy nomination last year for her portrayal of curmudgeonly attorney Harry on the David E. Kelley series, admits she’ll be the first person checking the show’s ratings the next morning. “Unfortunately , I’ve gotten into that habit. What I really should do is not look at the Internet at all ’cause it makes me want to put a bullet in my brain,” she tells EW candidly. “Some of these people are just so stupid. I don’t even get it…. All [they] talk about is the blessed [18-49] demo this, demo that, and how the cancellation bear is gonna eat us and all that stuff. So we’ll see. We’ll just see.” 

Watch her defend the show’s ratings in the video interview below. The condensed version: “It really bugs the crap out of me when I read online that this is the lowest-rated show on NBC, ’cause all they’re talking about is the demo. They totally disregard the number of viewers. And, you know, as somebody who’s 63 years old, I really take offense at that because we do have an audience of older viewers, I think, for the most part.”

Oh, she’s just getting started. “We do have a real faithful following, and I wish they’d just shut up about the GD demo. I mean, who cares?” she says. “It’s just like, we really are the highest scripted show on NBC. I mean, that’s been our status since we went on the air.” (Technically, Smash now holds the title, averaging 9.6 million viewers in its short season, but recent episodes have been below Harry‘s 8.6 million season 2 average.) Regardless, Bates says “We had over 11 million viewers the very first night, just as Smash did, although we didn’t have the mega press behind our show,” she says. “So I’m really proud of that. We’ve done really well. And there are a lot of people out there who love this show. So, you know, I wish the naysayers would just shut the F up.” (She’s great, right? Suddenly you feel like watching the show.)

Having not seen a lot of Kelley’s legal shows before Harry’s Law, Bates didn’t necessarily know what she was getting into when she signed on for Harry’s Law. “I didn’t realize how polarizing David E. Kelley’s work can be. At first, I was like, ‘What? What’s going on here?’” she says, with a laugh. “I’ve grown to love it. I think the series has found its feet. There’s that fine line that we walk. We want it to be believable but life can be kinda bizarre at times. How many of us have had experiences in our own lives where we say ‘Nobody would believe this?’ So there is that element in life, and when that comes together in a comedic dramatic form, it’s lovely entertainment.”

What’s coming up on the show? Here’s a sneak peek:

– In Sunday’s episode, Harry represents a man who’s suing the tobacco industry after losing his wife to lung cancer. The tobacco industry’s attorney, played by Boston Legal‘s Christian Clemenson, works at Harry’s old firm. “Harry hates and loathes these people,” Bates says. Which is why, after he lowballs her on his settlement offer, she happily accepts the drastically raised figure he returns with after taking a nail to the head while working on his boat. Adam (Nate Corddry) doesn’t think it’s right for Harry to take advantage of his head injury. “There’s a wonderful opportunity after that for Adam to have a dramatic moment with Harry when he says, ‘You can’t cheat. That seems to be the way of the world these days. Everybody’s cheating everybody. But we look up to you, and you can’t do that,’” Bates say. “I’ve been eager for Nate to get his moment in the sun, and this certainly is one of those moments.”

– Sunday’s episode is the start of an arc for Clemenson that Bates insists will be very entertaining. Is a nail in the head as wacky as it gets? “Oh, I think there’s gonna be a lot more wackiness. Yep, a lot more wackiness. I mean, it’s vintage David E. Kelley, so you can expect wackiness,” she says. Looking ahead, “There’s a contest for the sexiest female and male attorney that they have. And there’s a fundraiser that gives money to St. Jude’s. I can’t wait for people to see this. It’s sorta David E. Kelley’s way of saying, you don’t think our show’s sexy? Well, here you go,” she says. Who enters the contest? “Well, use your imagination. I mean, we got a lot of sexy-looking people on our show. So no one will be spared, let’s put it that way,” she laughs.

– Expect to see Malcolm (Aml Ameen) again later this season. “I know a lot of people where disappointed when Harry moved upstairs and got away from the ghetto. And this story takes us back into the ghetto, and really addresses what’s been going on in the neighborhood and the gentrification of the neighborhood. So I’m very excited about that episode.”

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