Actress Rebecca Romijn as Michelle Maxwell and actor Jon Tenney as Sean King. Costume Design for the series pilot done by Antoinette Messam. Photo credit: TNT.

“King & Maxwell”

June 14, 2013

TNT’s new drama series “King & Maxwell,” starring Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn, is based on David Baldacci’s best-selling crime novel series about ex-Secret Service agents turned private investigators, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. At one time in a seemingly past life, King was responsible for protecting a Presidential candidate who was later gunned down before his eyes as the result of a split second lapse of attention. Over the course of the next eight years, King’s life as he knew it continued to spiral downward. Then he meets Maxwell, who has done some pretty significant damage to her own career as well, somehow allowing a candidate she was protecting to vanish without a trace. The disgraced duo teams up to solve crimes in Washington D.C. (though the series is actually filmed in Vancouver, BC) and eventually they discover that the ill-fated incidents that ended their careers may not have been a coincidence after all.

With two weeks of prep time and two weeks of actual shooting, Costume Designer Antoinette Messam designed the costumes for the pilot, setting the tone for the rest of the series. One of the best experiences, she recalls, was being able to have coffee with Jon Tenney in Los Angeles before they started filming to talk about his character and look at images of various styles and pieces to determine what would be best for King.

“King goes from someone who was once stoically dressed and put together (as a Secret Service agent) to someone whose life has fallen apart, so I had to figure out how to portray that and still make him ‘TV hot’,” Messam says. “It was also very important to Jon to be able to accurately portray a character that’s so well loved in the books, but with his own spin.”

One of King’s staple pieces, which is pictured in many of the show’s promotional images, is a leather John Varvatos jacket that, thanks to Messam and her team, appears to have as much of a backstory as King’s character himself. Messam created three multiples of the jacket, using an ager/dyer to grease and paint certain areas to give it a worn and perfectly lived-in look, especially in the elbows and around the collar. Despite the gradual resurgence of King’s career as he pulls himself together, the weathered jacket remains a fixture in his wardrobe.

“I usually work from inside-out, but in this case I had to start with that jacket,” she says, adding that it was perfectly symbolic of a new life, a new beginning. “(John Varvatos) jackets are timeless, classic with an edge. There’s a weight to them, a little somethin’ somethin’, and perfect for someone who can technically be considered a has-been but is now coming back with a vengeance.”

You can catch King & Maxwell Monday nights at 10/9c on TNT.

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