TNT’s legal drama Raising the Bar returns tonight at 10 PM for a second season with one dramatic difference: Mark Paul Gosselaar’s idealistic (and formerly shaggy-haired) defense attorney Jerry Kellerman is sporting freshly shorn locks. When announced in April, the news prompted a resounding “Thank God” from commenters around the web who were glad to see Gosselaar back to a more familiar “Preppy” look. In a recent interview, Gosselaar dished on the decision to part with Jerry’s mane, as well as a few other tidbits from the new season.
I spoke to your wife Lisa last summer and she was less than enthusiastic about Jerry’s long hair. Is she the secret reason for the cut this season? No [laughs]. She would never interfere with what I do on the show. She might personally not have liked it, but she understood it for the character. She wasn’t part of the decision process. She was part of the process of what might look good on me while we were actually cutting it, though. She definitely had an opinion about it, rightly so. I was stealing all of her scrunchies.
What was the reasoning behind the cut this season? In the first episode of the season Jerry does it for a client who is on trial. He didn’t want to distract the jury on his appearance from the facts of the case. And just like on the show, we didn’t want the hair to distract from the characters and the stories on the show. We don’t want that to always be the talking point. We can get the point across that Jerry is a rogue and doesn’t conform to the system in other ways.
Piercings and tattoos? [laughs] Exactly. That’s what I was hoping for.
What’s the scoop on Jerry and Bobbi’s relationship this season? It’s going to take some time. She has some things that she has to contend with before we can have a full blown relationship. We have some time this season with 15 episodes, which is nice. I’m hoping for that slow boil. I always find that the courting part of the relationship is much more interesting than the relationship itself.
Just on TV? Or in real life too? Just on TV! I’d get in trouble if I said the latter, especially after being with my wife for 16 years. I love to watch people on TV flirt, and the whole awkwardness is great.
Are we definitely going to see them get together? I do think they’ll get together, although I can’t tell for sure at the moment. I would imagine we don’t want to disappoint. I hope if we do get together it wouldn’t ruin what we had. I leave that up to Steven [Bochco]. He’s so good at doing that stuff.
How’s it been working with the hilarious John Michael Higgins this season? Awesome. I was absolutely amazed when his name was floated around for that role. I didn’t think there’d be any way to get him. What a great addition to our show. These judges are sometimes so vile and without that hint of comedy behind their intentions it would get old really quick. That’s why Jane [Kaczmarek] is so good. Michael is vile on a different level than Jane. I don’t want to give too much away but he and Jerry get along better than Kessler and Jerry.
Raising the Bar airs tonight at 10 PM on TNT. Stay tuned for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon at 12:30 tonight, where Gosselaar hinted we might get a Saved By The Bell Reunion!