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Actress Jaime Ray Newman as Samantha "Sam" Gordon on ABC's "Mind Games." Costume design by Leslie Schilling. (Screenshot image courtesy of ABC).

“Mind Games”

March 21, 2014

In ABC’s new series “Mind Games,” Christian Slater and Steve Zahn star as the brothers and partners of Edwards and Associates, a unique company founded on the belief that people’s decisions are overwhelmingly influenced by seemingly peripheral and subconscious factors. Ross and Clark Edwards (played by Slater and Zahn, respectively) specialize in manipulating people’s environments and experiences, swaying them to make decisions that will affect their client list in desirable ways.

As a former professor and expert on human behavior, psychology and motivation, Clark’s skills are rooted in academics and scientific knowledge. In contrast, Ross, who’s recently come out of a two-year prison stint for fraud, has a proclivity for scheming and thieving. With their team of intelligent and calculating colleagues, the duo helps their clients alter fates in their favor (and make Edward and Associates serious money in the process).

Costume Designer Leslie Schilling took the reins on “Mind Games” after the pilot (which was designed by guild member Ann Foley), so she built upon the existing palette and principal cast’s respective styles.

“We made some tweaks based on network notes and producers’ notes, and I like to add my own personal touch,” Schilling says. “I also get to start fresh for new characters [introduced after the pilot], and we have weekly meetings to touch base on guest stars and storylines.”

Schilling maintained and elaborated on basic, character-driven wardrobe staples—for instance, brainy Clark (who is also bipolar) is continually outfitted in patterns and textures that give the somewhat manic character a markedly professorial feel. “We always have three, so maybe a plaid with a tweed jacket and a moleskin pant, for example,” she says.

Given the show’s focus on psychological manipulation, it’s fitting that the power of color emerged in a season-one storyline. In the episode “Royal Fiasco,” Edwards and Associates employee Sam (Jaime Ray Newman), an ex-con whom Ross met in court-ordered group therapy and rehab, decides (*spoiler*) that she’d like to take their relationship up a notch.

“We had a discussion about red and how it’s connected to seduction, and she’s trying to seduce and start a more sexual relationship with Ross,” says Schilling, who put the actress in a dress by London-based fashion line Reiss. (The designer has used several Reiss items in season one, especially for actress Megalyn Echikunwoke, who plays Edwards and Associates employee Megan Shane. Megan is an actress who takes on various roles for each of the company’s projects).

“Sam is an ex-con and we played with the idea that she may have stolen some of her clothes,” Schilling says. “The dress isn’t something she’d usually wear. . .and she’s got fair skin, so this red kind of ‘pops’ on her. And yes, in the storyline, she did steal it.”

You can catch the Edwards and Associates team’s exploits Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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