Imposters co-creator and executive producer Paul Adelstein recently revealed to The Daily Dish that he almost wore Lenny's snazzy suit in Season 1. "Well, we had an idea for this magical fixer-type person in the first season. And we talked about maybe that being me," he said. "And then Uma Thurman is good friends with my co-creator, Adam Brooks, and she saw the pilot, and she said, 'Well, I would love to be on this show, maybe in the second season.' And we said, 'Now. Let's do it now.' So we made Lenny Cohen for Uma Thurman, which was a great thing to have."
Adelstein, who fans also know for his work in front of the camera in TV shows like Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Scandal, Private Practice, and Prison Break, said that he and Brooks later realized they wanted "a counterpart" to Lenny, and that's where his character, Shelly Cohen, Lenny's ex-husband and fellow fixer, comes in in Season 2. "They are former spouses, but they have really similar flair, a little bit of the magic that these kind of con stories can have. And Adam was kind of insistent that I do it. I was a little resistant, and then once we were off to the races, it was so much fun to get to go and play," Adelstein said. "I'm an actor first and foremost, and I always had a spot of jealousy watching everyone get to go off and play while we were still writing and editing and doing all the other fun stuff. It was great to go and get to work with Inbar and get to go play on the show."
Shelly Cohen (Paul Adelstein) and Lenny Cohen's (Uma Thurman) suit game is definitely strong.
The minute Imposters fans meet Shelly this season, they won't be able to forget him. Not only does he pay Maddie a surprise visit, but he also comes dressed in an outrageous outfit (flashy suit, driving gloves, and pink-tinted glasses), as well as a devilish grin and an unsettling amount of joy (clip above).
Adelstein said that they wanted to give Shelly "a dandy kind of vibe." He also took inspiration from Peter Sellers' portrayal of Clare Quilty in the 1962 version of the film Lolita, from his glasses to his neurotic enthusiasm. "It doesn't sound anything like that, but it turned into its own thing," Adelstein noted. "And we just wanted it to have a slightly hyper-real feel to it."
As you'll soon be able to tell, Shelly's insane energy is quite the contrast to Lenny's more calm, cool, and collected approach to getting the job done. "Lenny has a kind of definitiveness when she takes Sally away, for instance, in Season 1," Adelstein explained. "Shelly has that kind of hyper-glee in what he's doing that I find really scary — really fun to do, but really scary to watch. A sadist, basically. Someone who enjoys scaring people."
One thing that Lenny and Shelly do have in common is their flair for fashion, although Adelstein has to give it up to Lenny when it comes to which fixer dominates in the sartorial department. "Well, considering that Tom Ford made Uma's suit for her, I think that we'll probably go with Lenny, although Shelly has the driving gloves and the glasses, so it's a toss-up," he said. "If I could wear the suit she wore, I would have preferred that."
See what's in store for Lenny, Shelly, and the rest of the gang when Imposters returns Thursday, April 5 at 10/9c. Check out a preview of the rest of the season, below.