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How The CBS Drama Introduced Morena Baccarin

SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from Friday’s episode of Fire Country on CBS.

Morena Baccarin made her debut as deputy sheriff Mickey on Fire Country — a role that could lead to a spinoff series if the TV (or CBS) Gods deem it worthy.

In the episode “Alert the Sheriff,” Mickey enters the scene in Edgewater via helicopter; she’s in pursuit of a money launderer who ends up dumping $50,000 in cash over the convicts while they while they’re working in the woods. Viewers quickly learn that Mickey is not only the step-sister of Sharon (Diane Farr), she also played an unfortunate role in putting Sharon’s son Bode (Max Thieriot) behind bars before he joined the Cal Fire firefighting program.

Mickey and Sharon have been estranged, but the women use the episode to heal old wounds. Sharon also leans on Mickey for support when she learns that Bode is not the father of Cara’s daughter, Genevieve. (Before she died in episode 5, Cara asked Bode to look after the girl).

“Our backstory is that Mickey’s dad was an original resident [in Edgewater] and he got busted for growing weed,” says Joan Rater, who wrote the episode with Tony Phelan that was directed by Thieriot. “And if you’re a kid who has that kind of chaos happen early in your life, it would make sense to us that you would want to avoid chaos at all costs. You would want to believe in order and rules and law and order. And so she’s a person who likes order, but she knows everybody in town. It gives her a unique perspective.”

“Because of her unique background, she’s somebody who firmly believes in the law as a force against chaos, and she deeply cares about this community,” adds Phelan. “She’s grown up here in a very real sense, the community saved her when her parents ran into trouble early on. So I think a lot of her journey is in discovering her own power and her own ability to take care of these people.”

As to whether Baccarin will get her own series, Phelan says it’s up to CBS and what their needs are moving forward. Friday’s episode is not considered a backdoor pilot; the project is expected to go through another development stage before a potential series order would be made.

“We think there are more stories to tell in Edgewater, and I think the audience has reacted to the idea of this small town and a small town where a lot of the people in town are first responders,” says Phelan. “I think that’s one of the things that makes Fire Country special.”

CBS’ decision to explore a Fire Country spinoff is not surprising, given the fact that the drama ranked as the most watched new broadcast series last season, averaging 8 million viewers per episode, 10 million in live+35 multi-platform viewing. And CBS President and CEO George Cheeks hinted at the possibility of a Fire Country spinoff during a conversation with Deadline’s Peter White last June at the Banff World Media Festival.

“We are focused on mass-appeal franchises,” Cheeks said at the time. “This season’s number one show was Fire Country, which completely lends itself to building out a whole new universe… It became very clear that not only was the show special, it really felt like this could be a great example of us building together a franchise from scratch. And so I’m like, ‘you guys, congratulations, you got your back nine. Now let’s start talking about ideas for new extensions.’ They’ve already come up with some great ones.”

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