Accused Morgan's Story

Accused star Meaghan Rath on what makes ‘Morgan’s Story’ the FOX drama’s most intense episode

Accused has already established itself as the most gripping show on television. However, the FOX drama takes things to another level with “Morgan’s Story,” which is a disturbing thriller about a relationship gone incredibly wrong. Meaghan Rath (Hawaii Five-0, Being Human) stars as Morgan Knight, who finds herself being targeted by her husband when she finally decides to end their tumultuous marriage. While every episode of Accused packs a punch, this one is particularly nail-biting to watch.

Ahead of the episode’s April 11 premiere, I spoke with Meaghan about what it was like to take on such a messy role, what her costar Christopher Gorham brought to the experience, and how the character plays against what TV viewers are used to seeing from her. Learn more about the episode in the first part of our interview below.

Brittany Frederick: What was it that attracted you to Accused initially? Was it the series itself or was there a particular draw to the character of Morgan Knight?

Meaghan Rath: First and foremost, before I even read the script, was the team involved. The caliber of of talent that they brought together to be able to bring this show to life is so incredible. And then reading the script, I really connected with the character and felt that there was something that I could bring to her that felt new and fresh and emotionally exciting.

BF: “Morgan’s Story” is a departure from the roles audiences know you for. Hawaii Five-0‘s Tani Rey would have arrested Morgan’s husband Jason on that show. Was it interesting to play someone who couldn’t save the day or save the situation immediately?

MR: I think all those other characters that I’ve played still have the same sort of emotional problems, but they’re in kind of extreme situations. (laughs) So it wasn’t that different. I think it was different from, I had just finished doing a comedy. So I was emotionally in a place where I had that itch to scratch to do something really dark and intense. It was difficult, but enjoyable.

BF: Jason Knight is a truly terrible character, but he’s played by a truly wonderful actor in Christopher Gorham. How would you describe working with him on something this intense?

MR: He is the nicest man in life—and just such an awful human being in the show. Sometimes I think it takes a really, really nice person to pull off someone so awful. But Chris was a perfect scene partner to do scenes like that with, because between takes you feel like you’re safe. We had some very physically intense and challenging things to do, and I never felt scared with him. It’s a really vulnerable thing to put yourself in situations like that, especially the situation that Morgan’s in and the scenes that we had to do together. It was really, really nice to have Chris on the other end of that.

A preview for the Accused episode “Morgan’s Story.” (Video Credit: Courtesy of FOX.)

BF: There’s a small, but very pivotal, scene where Morgan provides her divorce lawyer with some backstory about her relationship with Jason. It gives some context to “Morgan’s Story” that helps elucidate how their marriage became so unhealthy. How important was that scene for you?

MR: It was important for me to create a well-rounded character. That we understood that Morgan did want those things [Jason offered] at the beginning. At her core, she’s not someone who cares about money at all. But you understand in that scene that she comes from a background where she didn’t have anything growing up, and the life that Jason provided for her was kind of nice. She wasn’t duped into marrying him. She loved him at the beginning, and she wanted that life and liked it. Things changed along the way as their relationship became toxic. But she wasn’t a victim.

BF: Were there scenes that particularly stuck with you during filming, or that you’d single out to the audience as they’re watching?

MR: I’m so thrilled with the way that it turned out. It’s a scary thing to do. You’re throwing yourself into an episode of television that feels like a little movie. You don’t know the crew, because every episode is an entirely different cast. And so to come in and do something like that, you’re in a very vulnerable position. And everyone has to be on the same page with the tone of the show and what we’re doing, telling these stories in an honest way. You never really know how it’s going to turn out. Your job really ends when they yell cut.

Milan Cheylov, our director, was so fantastic. I think he really put together a beautiful story. The crew was incredible. Our DP [director of photography] was amazing; I think the show looks so beautiful. I loved how the those intense emotional scenes came out. The scene where Morgan asks her husband for a divorce was very intense to shoot, and we filmed it a hundred different ways, because we didn’t know where we wanted to go emotionally. We were trying to paint a picture of who this person was in this specific situation. And I really love how it came out.

Accused Meaghan Rath in Morgan's Story
Meaghan Rath in the “Morgan’s Story” episode of Accused. (Photo Credit: Robin Cymbaly/Courtesy of FOX.)

BF: “Morgan’s Story” is wonderfully done, but it’s also very tough to watch. How would you describe the filming experience? You’re working with incredible people, yet you’re also working on something that is so challenging.

MR: There were a lot of very intense scenes emotionally and then some some physically intense scenes. And what I really appreciated as an actor was there was so much care put into making sure that we were emotionally taken care of. We worked with an intimacy coordinator who was so incredible. And that’s a relatively new thing in this industry. Anytime you do a sex scene, or a scene of abuse or assault, or frankly any time there’s even a kiss, there’s an intimacy coordinator that you’re working with, making sure that you’re okay.

They also really took care of the crew on those days that there were really intense things that we were filming. There were trigger warnings on the call sheets that would say, this is the scene that we’re going to be shooting tomorrow, if this is triggering for you, please call this number. You don’t have to come into work. These are ways that you can take care of yourself emotionally. It was really, really refreshing to see that and be a part of that. It was like shockingly emotional for me. As actors, we spend our entire career—especially as women—filming scenes that [are] really uncomfortable, and you have to do it in front of an entire crew. Just to be taken care of that way really meant something to me.

Accused airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. on FOX. Stay tuned on Wednesday for the second half of my interview with Meaghan Rath about the themes and plot twists in “Morgan’s Story.”

Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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