Upon first viewing, you might not associate the characters of FOX's new series Lethal Weapon with hard work. Though Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Riggs (Clayne Crawford) are skilled detectives, their pursuit of criminals usually involves more action than research and planning. However, there is one person at the precinct who works diligently to help them solve cases on Lethal Weapon: Detective Sonya Bailey. The woman who plays Bailey, Michelle Mitchenor, is no stranger to hard work in her own life either, finding success as an actor, dancer, and part of the Breakdance Project Uganda. Luckily, Mitchenor learned a few things about hard work from the queen of it: Beyoncé.
"One thing that I did [learn] from her is that you have to work incredibly hard, and that's nothing but the highest level of excellence," Mitchenor tells Bustle. The Lethal Weapon star appeared as a dancer in the "Run the World" video and saw some of Beyoncé's own excellence up close. "Her work ethic is truly unmatched, and that's why she is who she is and where she is ... To have an incredible work ethic is definitely what I took from it and I continue to do that to this day. There's no other way around it."
You can see the work that Mitchenor puts into her performance when Lethal Weapon airs on FOX every Wednesday at 8 p.m., and you can also see the work that Bailey puts into her job. As a woman in a male-dominated workplace, Bailey has worked incredibly hard, and Mitchenor finds that both "encouraging" and "empowering" when she portrays the character. "I think it's great that, not only is she just as tough and just as ready to go and catch the bad guys, but she's also just extremely brilliant and extremely smart," the actor says of Bailey. "She knows how to crack codes and find ways and more information about the victims that are involved in the crime."
Coming from a dance background, Mitchenor didn't have to deal with trying to stand out in a male environment, but that doesn't mean she didn't need to prove herself. "[I was] just proving myself because I wanted to be the greatest I could be, or prove to myself that I could accomplish something," she says. "That definitely parallels with [Bailey], because she feels good about coming to them with this information that she's found that's helping them solve cases, so she's doing it for herself and then. So, in that way, it's just proving that you can accomplish something that may seem so far-fetched."
With that kind of ambition, it should come as no surprise that when I ask Mitchenor what she hopes happens next for Bailey, the answer is even more work. "I think I would love for her to get out on the field more. She's definitely always coming forth with the information ... I think being able to show that out in the field, and show that she's necessary to be out there and have their backs, would be really great," she says. "Maybe she could go undercover."
Between her own determination and the successes of the woman who plays her, I don't think Bailey will have any trouble moving up the ranks this season on Lethal Weapon.