As the new “Suits” season arrives, viewers can brace for a fresh blitz of lawyer words.
The concepts bounce around; actors have to seem like they’re cozy with them.
“When you’re doing ‘techno-babble’ – which is what we used to call it – you have to make sure you understand it,” said Denise Crosby (shown here), the new “Suits” antagonist.
And yes, she’s worked with some of the best babblers of tangled techno. She was Tasha Yar, the security officer in the first year of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” After the character died, she’s been Yar’s daughter … and her grandmother (in a fan-fiction film) … and, due to time travel, Yar herself.
She’s also been a cannibal in three “Walking Dead” episodes. She’s done “X-Files” and “Invasion: Roswell” and “Pet Sematary” and more; compared to this, a bunch of lawyer words should be a breeze.
Crosby shows up in the final minute of the “Suits” season-opener and stays for nine episodes, becoming a “special master” — a concept that was new to her. “I thought, ‘Is that a real thing?’”
It is. Masters are often appointed by a judge, but she’s with the bar association, ready to supervise lawyers who keep shredding papers and stomping rules. “They’ve been so unscrupulous for so long.”
Techno-talk hits actors in different ways. Julianna Margulies said she remembered a lot from her “Good Fight” dialog, but few “ER” details. “The lawyer stuff, I can retain, (but) I don’t have a medical brain.”
And Crosby? Well, she’s used to visiting other times and worlds. She did that in her first role.
That was at Cabrillo College, where she was majoring in journalism. (Crosby still reads two newspapers a day and praises the Los Angeles Times for its Pulitzer-winning coverage of the actresses and others who used phony sports roles and essays to get into the University of Southern California.)
She had been in choirs, but hadn’t acted. Then she was nudged into “The Contrast,” a 1787 play considered the first one written in the U.S. by an American, about an American subject.
“I had this powdered wig and a corset,” Crosby recalled. “It was ridiculous.” But it was a start; then a summertime acting workshop inspired her.
She did more … until a local newspaper mentioned that she’s Bing Crosby’s granddaughter. A professor grumbled and there was a backlash. Crosby dropped out; she modelled and even did Playboy photos.
There’s skepticism, she said, of anyone “who comes from a celebrity family. They assume that people opened doors for you. I didn’t even know my grandfather.”
Bing Crosby was a giant as a singer (41 No. 1 singles), actor (an Oscar) and producer. But during his first marriage, he was a recovering alcoholic, married to an unrecovered alcoholic, Dixie Lee. Two of their sons (Lindsay and Dennis, who was Denise’s father) committed suicide.
When Bing died, Denise was 19 and had never met him. She’s met his second family only briefly, but is close to her cousins. “Our interest has always been: ‘We will not put this onto another generation.”
And she does seems to have gone on to a good life. She’s embraced the “Trek” culture, doing “Star Trek” cruises and videogames and producing two “Trekkies” documentaries.
Her first marriage ended in divorce, but her second (to actor-turned-writer Ken Sylk) is in its 24th year. And their son? Bing, the baseball buff, would be delighted.
Augie Sylk is a 6-foot-4, left-handed pitcher who already had an 88-mph fastball in high school. He was injured most of this season at Southern California, but pitched two innings (no hits, two walks); he was promptly drafted by the Kansas City Royals and is getting ready for rookie-league ball.
Yes, one actress’ kid got into USC legitimately. “He wrote his own essay and he played on a real team,” Crosby said. Lately, that alone seems like a triumph.
— “Suits,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, USA Network
— Denise Crosby arrives at the end of the season-opener (July 17, rerunning at 1:05 a.m. and then at 9 a.m. July 21), then is key to the “Special Master” episode on July 24