‘Conviction’ Star Hayley Atwell On Her New Role And Hanging Onto Peggy Carter

Perhaps no one was more upset by the cancellation of Marvel’s Agent Carter than Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell, but the actress has accepted the end of the series to the extent that she has moved on to a new project. Now starring in a new ABC drama, Conviction, Atwell opens up about her new role as Hayes Morrison, but still maintains a connection to Agent Carter and holds out hope to reprise that role in the not so distant future. For now, Hayley embraces Conviction and the legal drama for what it is, an intriguing new branch in her television career.

Conviction Gives Hayley Atwell A Chance At Rebirth

As E! News shares, we’ve already seen the death of Peggy Carter well into the future, when her funeral makes its way into Captain America: Civil War, but Atwell says there’s still more to tell. After all, there are 40 years or so, between where ABC’s Agent Carter left off and that Civil War scene. For that reason, Hayley says she still holds out hope for an Agent Carter reprisal, but she also says she has to move on in the meantime.

“I hope one day, if it’s right, that she can come back, but I do feel as an actor, part of the experience of going from job to job is the freedom to absolutely kill off the part you’ve just played in order to inhabit a new world. I think that’s kind of been essential,” says Atwell.

Hayley says playing Hayes Morrison on Conviction, like any new role, gives her a chance at rebirth. After having spent so much time creating Agent Carter‘s star character, Atwell feels it’s time to reinvent herself as someone new and suggests that the exciting part of acting is learning how to change herself in ways that will let a new character grow from within.

“I want to start again. Every time I do a new job, I want to start again of not knowing what I’m doing, how to do it, who this person is,” says the Conviction actress. “And that stops me from just repeating Hayley Atwell every time and just giving the audience the same thing because I would find that boring, so they must find that boring. So I was really thrilled to be given a new opportunity.”

Conviction Is Part Political Thriller, Part Legal Drama With Hayley Atwell At The Center

In covering ABC’s latest drama, Fox News reports that Hayley Atwell stars as Hayes Morrison, an attorney and the daughter of two politically connected parents. Following a conviction for possession of cocaine, Atwell’s character is released from prison and forced to work as the head of the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). In taking up the position, Hayes replaces her professional rival, New York District Attorney Conner Wallace (Eddie Cahill).

In her personal life, Hayes is a former first daughter, which led Atwell to research the likes of Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump. In comparison, the Conviction actress says Hayes is a horrible first daughter, never putting the reputation of her mother (Bess Armstrong) or her current mission to run for a Senate position ahead of her own instant gratification. In coming to realize how harmful her actions have been to those around her, Hayes takes the position and release from prison in order to protect her mother.

“We actually see the relationship between mother and daughter, which, of course, we’re not privy to with real first daughters, as it should be,” Atwell says. “So, I’m having to, with the writing, just make that up as I go along. I think the most interesting thing is one line where Hayes says, ‘Were you ever just my mother, or was that always another angle?'”

While Conviction will also have the case of the week theme, Atwell says the cases will bear directly into the interpersonal relationships going on elsewhere in the series, whether it’s focusing on Hayes’ relationship with her mother or with her relations with her co-workers. Eddie Cahill’s character is especially integral to Hayley’s Conviction character, because, in addition to having been a rival, he also serves as a kind of life saver for Morrison.

“They’re going to see…quite a naughty heroine on the verge of self-destruction, but kind of being saved by you,” Atwell says to Cahill in a group interview.

“It’s so great to think of this strong whirlwind dynamic force of a leading character who really is in the middle of an identity crisis,” Cahill added. “It’s so compelling.”

Conviction airs on Mondays on ABC.

[Featured Image by Mike Windle/Getty Images]