Justin Lubin/NBC
Samantha Highfill
March 05, 2018 AT 04:26 PM EST

On Good Girls, Mae Whitman plays Annie, one of three women who decide to take matters into their own hands. As last week’s pilot showed, Annie teamed up with her sister, Beth, and their best friend, Ruby, to rob a grocery store. (Hey, they’re just trying to get enough money to take care of their kids!) But when the women discovered that they accidentally robbed a gangster, well, let’s just say their lives aren’t going back to normal anytime soon. 

For Whitman, Good Girls represented an opportunity to play something new — and no, not the “mom” part. “I’ve never played a character that’s this irresponsible and spontaneous and has such blind confidence,” Whitman says. “I always play the wise-beyond-her-years teenager, so I feel really excited that I actually got to play an adult but that was still sort of a teenager inside.” 

The adult who’s still sort of teenager inside might ring a bell for fans of Gilmore Girls, which followed the “best friends first and mother-daughter second” duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (and which starred Whitman’s Parenthood costar, Lauren Graham). At least that’s what Whitman thought of when she read Annie’s dynamic with her daughter Sadie. “I’ve been injecting the Gilmore Girls thing into it where they kind of are raising each other in a way,” Whitman says.

But unlike Lorelai and Rory, Annie and Sadie aren’t on their own. Yes, Lorelai had all the townies of Stars Hollow and, when she had to, her parents, but Annie is surrounded by Beth and Ruby. “I love the relationship of the three women, the fact that it’s just three women who are imperfect and unapologetic as the leads of a show and nobody’s making a big deal of it,” Whitman says. “It is something I think there should be a lot more of and I’m surprised there isn’t. There are so many unapologetic male characters on TV and with women, there’s always a justification. [On Good Girls], we’re flawed people but we’re growing and we’re trying.”

In fact, Annie’s journey is a lot about dealing with consequences. You know, adult stuff. “She hasn’t been the perfect mom and the fact that [she and her daughter are] friends and the fact that Sadie feels like she needs to take care of Annie is stressful, and that becomes part of Annie’s journey. She’s not used to seeing consequences for her actions and as things get more serious, she’s actually starting to take note of things around her and how important they are and how easily she could lose things.”

Ultimately, Whitman says Good Girls is “a story of people who feel like they don’t have a voice and are not being seen or heard. I think there’s a lot of people who feel that way right now so I found that to be an interesting subplot of: How far would you go to protect your family and where would that take you?” Whitman adds, “Obviously I’m not saying go rob a grocery store because it definitely doesn’t turn out well, but hopefully it will inspire people in littler ways to start taking their power back. In legal, fun ways. Pick a flower, take a walk, do what you need to do.”

Good Girls airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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