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So Help Me Todd's Marcia Gay Harden Took The Role Of Margaret Because Of Her Love Of Physical Comedy

Academy and Tony Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is well-known for her work on stage and screen, and in 2022, she took on a different role as Margaret Wright – a well-versed defense attorney trying to help her son Todd, portrayed by Skyler Astin ("Pitch Perfect"), turn his life around in the new CBS show, "So Help Me Todd."

While our first real introduction of Margaret seems to be a harsh one — she's reminding Todd that he owes her almost $10,000, and stamping on his childhood dream of all things — we learn to feel empathy for her. During the same episode, her husband Gus Easton (Jeffrey Nordling) is assumed missing until Todd tracks him down on a flight and learns he's leaving Margaret and just didn't know how to tell her.

Despite that sadness, and Margaret having to cope with her failed marriage, "So Help Me Todd" is still a comedy at its core. How can it not be? Todd's the black sheep of the family and his perfect siblings, Allison (Madeleine Wise) and rarely seen Lawrence (Matthew Wilkas), make him the target of jokes and pranks. There's also the additional awkwardness of Todd's ex-girlfriend Susan (Inga Schlingmann) who not only works at Margaret's firm but is engaged to someone else.

With a career as illustrious as Harden's, there was a special motivation behind taking on the role of Todd's successful, determined, and hard-cracking mom.

She enjoyed the promise of physical comedy

Her motivation for accepting the role? Her affection for physical comedy. In an interview with CBS Mornings in October 2022, Harden said that while she loved the legal part of the show, it boils down to her affection for it being comical: "I love physical comedy. I love being in comedies, it's like nothing else."

Harden also expressed her admiration for her co-star, Astin, who plays her son in the show: "Skylar and I have this really bantering relationship." Audiences can tell the characters do love each other; Margaret wants the best for Todd, but it just might not come across that way as they clash more often than not.

One scene that really conveys physical comedy comes when Todd brings a bag of trash into the office. Margaret scolds Todd for sneaking around and for bringing garbage in that can't even be considered evidence, which Todd then accidentally spills. The altercation ends with Margaret flustered, telling Todd to "pick that up and go to your office," while Todd reacts like a child having a tantrum, saying he doesn't even have an office. He then sits irritably, throwing his hands up to try activating the motion-censored lights in his office because the switch is broken. 

Audiences can expect to enjoy more physical comedy from Harden in "So Help Me, Todd."