How Will Trent Stars Ramón Rodríguez And Erika Christensen Had A Head Start On Building Will And Angie's Relationship, According To The Showrunner

Will and Angie touching heads in ABC's Will Trent
(Image credit: ABC)

ABC’s Will Trent is going strong in its first season, as fans get to know the cast of characters better and better as the weeks pass. The episodes have showcased Will (Ramón Rodríguez) and Faith (Iantha Richardson) getting to know each other more as partners, but the relationship at the heart of the show is one that was already decades old by the time of the series premiere. Will and Angie (Erika Christensen) have a long history, and showrunner Dan Thomsen opened up about how the actors had a head start on creating what is arguably the series’ most complicated dynamic. 

Will Trent showrunner Dan Thomsen, who previously worked with Will Trent guest star Mark-Paul Gosselaar on Fox’s The Passage, spoke with CinemaBlend at SCAD TVfest in Atlanta and opened up about starting the series with Will and Angie already having a long and complex relationship. He shared:

One thing that helped us a little bit is that Ramón and Erika knew each other prior to this pilot, and so it wasn't two people who were just meeting on a set for the very first time and then we're putting them into a scene where they have to be romantic partners. They're both such pros that we could just meet with them and kind of talk them through [it].

While it’s certainly safe to say that Ramón Rodríguez and Erika Christensen definitely didn’t have a dynamic nearly as complicated as Will and Angie’s before landing their roles, the stars did already know each other prior to the Will Trent pilot. According to the showrunner, even that little bit of background of having met before was helpful in selling Will and Angie’s relationship, and they were able to hit the ground running. Dan Thomsen continued: 

Especially at the pilot before they had a chance to read all of the books and kind of get all of the sense of what this history is, we could talk them through it and they kind of understood like, 'Oh, yeah, there's history with these people that have tried various different types of relationships. Are we romantic partners? Are we going to be married? Are we just going to be friends?Are we going to be roommates? Codependent besties?’ [laughs] And [the characters] can't quite figure it out, but they have this gravitational pull between them that just keeps them together all the time. I think that they really were intrigued by that.

The new ABC show is based on the novel series by Karin Slaughter, and the author has already gotten super honest about how it handled casting book characters for TV. The book series is already comprised of ten novels, so the stars would have had a lot of reading to do if they wanted to finish all the source material by the time they were filming the pilot. The showrunner only had good things to say about how the stars pulled it off, and he elaborated: 

There's some really tragic scenes where on both sides, Will is not afraid to put himself out there. We have some really tragic scenes where he really puts himself out there for Angie, and she doesn't reciprocate, and it just hurts so bad. But then you kind of see the flip side of that, too, where Will's not available for her, or Will puts her in a tough spot. It feels real to me, even though the situations are very heightened, and I love that we're able to do that type of stuff along with the week-to-week mysteries that keep people coming back. It feels like we have the best of both worlds.

While there have been some hurdles in the new relationships like Will and Faith (and Karin Slaughter also addressed how Will Trent is portraying their partnership from the books) and definitely sticky issues in existing dynamics like Angie and Ormewood, Will and Angie’s relationship can reach highs and lows that none of the others can due to all their history. Based on what Dan Thomsen had to say, fans should brace themselves for some more tragic scenes between the pair. 

At least fans can be confident that Ramón Rodríguez and Erika Christensen have a great handle on their characters and will deliver on those tragedies! Be sure to keep tuning in to ABC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET for new episodes of Will Trent, and revisit episodes that have aired so far streaming with a Hulu subscription. You can also find some upcoming viewing options with our 2023 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).