NEW YORK (AP) — "It's funny that we're doing this together," says Dominik Garcia-Lorido, who for this interview is joined by her "Magic City" co-stars Kelly Lynch and Elena Satine. She explains: "Our characters are the three women on the show who don't need a man!"
She has a point. On this Starz drama series set in fast-living 1959 Miami Beach, the other fabulous femmes are married: Vera (played by Olga Kurylenko) is happily wed to hotel magnate Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), while Lily (Jessica Marais) is joined in stormy matrimony with mob boss Ben Diamond (Danny Huston).
No such entanglements for this independent threesome, though their differences from one another are as marked as anything they have in common.
On "Magic City," whose season finale airs Friday at 10 p.m. EDT, Mercedes Lazaro (played by Garcia-Lorido) is working part-time as a housekeeper at the Miramar Playa, the luxurious hotel built by Ike Evans, while she trains to be a Pan Am stewardess.
"When I first heard 'Cuban maid' I was so running in the other direction," says Garcia-Lorido, who, as the daughter of actor Andy Garcia, is herself of Cuban descent. "But while, back then, a Cuban-Catholic girl of 21 would probably have been married with kids, this girl is about to work for Pan Am and travel the world."
Then love catches her off-guard in the form of unexpected romance with her childhood friend — and younger son of Ike — Danny Evans (played by Christian Cooke). But that doesn't mean she automatically abandons her dreams. In this week's episode, she's ready to fly as she proudly models her Pan Am uniform for Danny.
"I had a very intense first love, so I had a desire to tell Mercedes' story," confides Garcia-Lorido (whose films include "The Last Goodbye" and "City Island").
Lynch's character, Meg Bannock, is the classy, moneyed older sister of Ike's deceased first wife whose bankroll could spring Ike from the grip of Ben, aka "the Butcher," his thuggish silent partner.
"Because of Meg's extreme wealth, she doesn't need a man for any reason other than for fun or distraction," says Lynch (whose credits include "Drugstore Cowboy," ''Desperate Hours" and the series "The L Word"). "But Meg does have that human need — which is family," and that means rapprochement with Ike, her brother-in-law, from whom she's been estranged for several years.
Finally, Judi Silver (Satine) is a high-priced escort often found in the Miramar Playa's posh Atlantis Lounge — and lately found in jeopardy thanks to the company she keeps.
"I'm always attracted to playing broken, damaged people," says Satine. "I knew Judi wasn't going to just be this happy-go-lucky girl who's a hooker for fun. She's the life of the party, but underneath lies some real darkness for her."
That darkness includes a prison cell where Judi is jailed, in trouble with the law as well as the mob.
Satine says she has long been fascinated — "obsessed" is her word — with the period in which "Magic City" is set.
"I read the autobiography of Judith Exner, who was mistress to (Chicago crime boss) Sam Giancana and John Kennedy and Frank Sinatra, and the three of them were seen having drinks together at the Fontainebleau Hotel" — the real-life Miami Beach resort that helped inspire the fictitious Miramar Playa. "It makes you think: Miami Beach is where everything happened, where everybody — gangsters, politicians, movie stars — intermingled. And where their secrets were kept."
Kept, that is, until they were exposed in glaring, dishy detail.
Says Lynch, "That Rat Pack-Lenny Bruce-Sinatra-Dean-Martin time was so cool and so hip! And so sexy! When we get dressed in our costumes and our 1950s undergarments, I look at myself in the mirror and think, 'This is much better than what's going on with Spanx!'
"But then, so quickly, it was over — slammed up against the '60s."
Even so, there's no end in sight for "Magic City." Already renewed for a second season, it draws on the bountiful memories of series creator Mitch Glazer (Lynch's husband), who grew up in Miami Beach in that glamorous time and, as a teen, was a cabana boy at Collins Avenue's Deauville hotel.
"I've been hearing these stories for 23 years," says Lynch. "When Mitch and I first got together, we would tell each other about our past lives. I grew up in Minnesota and I would tell him about ice fishing. He would tell me, 'I once had lunch with (legendary mobster) Meyer Lansky.'
"I'd say, 'OK, you win.'"
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier
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