‘She just oozes it,’ say Erin Brockovich about Katey Sagal on ABC’s ‘Rebel’

Katey Sagal (ABC/Karen Ballard)

Katey Sagal has played some wild women with her roles as Peg Bundy (Married… With Children) and Gemma Teller Morrow (Sons of Anarchy). But Sagal reported she’s never played someone like Annie “Rebel” Bello, a character inspired by the life of legal advocate Erin Brockovich, for the new ABC drama Rebel.

It is not a traditional dry legal drama. Creator-executive producer Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy) reported, “It’s sexy. The show is very sexy, and it’s family, it’s friendship, it’s all of the human interactions with a legal element.”

“Lucky me,” Sagal chimed in during a lively virtual interview session presented by ABC for the Television Critics Association (TCA). The description of her Rebel character is “a funny, messy, brilliant, and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves.” When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.

 A relentless champion for justice, Erin Brockovich was the law office clerk who fought for the underdogs and was the subject of the Oscar-winning film starring Julia Roberts. Rebel, like Brockovich, should inspire everyone to become his or her own hero. Erin is also an executive producer for the series, and showrunner Vernoff said, “We have Erin visits our writers’ room, and we just steal and absorb, and put it into the script. And with Katey, it’s a beautiful, divinely feminine collaboration.”

Sagal said when she had “a badass lunch” with Brockovich, “Just sitting and hanging out with her, clearly the passion and fire came out even over lunch.”

The feeling was mutual with Brockovich noting, “Katey just gets it.  She just oozes it.  Just being with her, it’s her energy, it’s her presence. It’s like ‘I’m a badass.’  She’s it.  She gets it.  It’s just there.”

With her usual confidence and edgy charm Sagal explained to the TCA members that Rebel is not a lawyer. “If she were a lawyer, she’d be way limited. And she’d have to wear those lawyer clothes. No fun in that.”

“I think what I love so much about Rebel is that she can cross a few lines. She can go outside the box. She can push where maybe I guess it wouldn’t be within legal bounds. I mean, not that she’s illegal, but she just pushes a little bit further. She can gather knowledge from everywhere. Her primary purpose is to do the right thing, and to fight for the right thing. I think sometimes legal mumbo jumbo can make that confusing when it’s actually a very straight line in terms of what’s right.”

(ABC/Temma Hankin)

The stellar cast also includes Andy Garcia as Cruz, John Corbett as Grady Bello, James Lesure as Benji, Lex Scott Davis as Cassidy, Tamala Jones as Lana, Ariela Barer as Ziggy, Kevin Zegers as Nate, and Sam Palladio as Luke.

It’s interesting to note that Sagal is pulling double duty on ABC this season with a recurring role on The Conners as John Goodman’s girlfriend.

Rebel premieres on April 8, 2021 on ABC. Tune in.


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.