Carrie Preston Says Expect Surprises On Season 2 Of ‘Elsbeth’ And Names Her Dream Guest Star

EXCLUSIVE: Carrie Preston says viewers will learn a lot more about Elsbeth Tascioni in season two of her CBS show and should also buckle-up for some surprises. She is also aiming high with her dream guest star ahead of Elsbeth‘s second outing.

Preston is at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival and sat down with Deadline to talk about the show. CBS has renewed the freshman series for the 2024-2025 season and Preston said the team is gearing up for a run that has been extended from ten episodes in season one to 20 episodes in season two.

More from Deadline

The writers will stick to the procedural formula but add twists in season two. “You’re going to be able to enjoy the structure of the how-done-it, but they’re going to mix that up, so don’t be thinking you know exactly what you’re going to get each time,” Preston said. “They’re trying to make sure that there’s some freshness so that people don’t get too comfortable, and also, you know, this is Elsbeth, so there’s going to be some surprises.”

The series follows Elsbeth Tascioni, a whip-smart and unconventional attorney who moves from Chicago to work with the NYPD. Viewers get to see the killer at the start of each weekly case. The format lends itself to weekly guest stars with Keegan-Michael Key, Elizabeth Lail, and Laura Benati among those in season one.

“It’s been great to see who we’ve gotten so far,” Preston said. “I think now that the show has done well, other actors who might have been like: ‘Oh, I don’t want to do a procedural,’ might say: ‘Well, this is one I might do because the writing is great.’”

Deadline asked Preston who her dream guest star would be. Her lighthearted response showed she is aiming high: “Meryl Streep, if you’re around and you want to come and be on CBS, we’d love to have you.”

The format of Elsbeth is one of the keys to its success, for Preston: “It has an old-school structure, like Columbo. It’s comforting for people to show up already knowing who the killer is. People can just enjoy the ride and not be stressed.”

The Elsbeth character made guest appearances in The Good Wife and The Good Fight over a 14-year span, and in the second run of her own show, we’ll get to know the super-smart and quirky character a whole lot better.

“Even though we have always a case that we’re on, we’ll be learning more about her personal life,” Preston said. “I think the writers will be even more willing to take a couple of moments in each episode to really breathe into Elsbeth’s out-of-work life.”

The series is described as an “extension” rather than a spin-off from The Good Wife and The Good Fight.

“A lot of times I was being brought on to The Good Wife and The Good Fight to lighten proceedings,” Preston said. “Now Elsbeth’s taken on his new job as a detective, that feels different, and the writing is different on this show to the other two.

“That dictates what my job is and what I need to do. There are a lot of scenes where I’m summing up crimes, or talking to killers, or doing psychological kind of stuff. I’ve learned how to pace her differently.”

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.