Levi Scott didn’t exactly end up quite like his sister, Madeline, after their wrongful convictions. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with ‘Proven Innocent’s Riley Smith about Levi’s ‘mission,’ working with Kelsey Grammer, and more.
Riley Smith stars on the brand-new legal drama series Proven Innocent, which airs Fridays on FOX. He plays Levi Scott, the troubled brother of Madeline Scott. Both Levi and Madeline were wrongfully convicted of Rosemary Lynch’s murder when they were teenagers. While Madeline went on to become a lawyer after her conviction was overturned, Levi has struggled. At the end of the premiere, Levi became a suspect once again after revealing that he was in a romantic relationship with Rosemary before she died. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Riley about peeling back the layers of Levi. As the season progresses, we’ll see just how different Madeline and Levi’s lives turned out.
“As close as they are, and they both went through the same 10 years in prison, you see kind of two sides of their coin,” Riley told HollywoodLife. “One becomes a famous attorney to represent wrongfully convicted people, and then Levi kind of represents the mass majority of people that get out of prison, which is you have a dark cloud over you and people still think you’re guilty. It’s hard to have relationships, and it’s hard to get jobs, and Levi carries an addiction that he picked up basically in prison that he’s trying to shake. Over the course of the season, Levi finally finds a mission for himself, which is to find out who really killed Rosemary Lynch, because if they [Levi and Madeline] didn’t, somebody did. The only way he’s going to really ultimately clear his name publicly is by finding her killer.”
In the premiere, Madeline goes to toe-to-toe with the man who helped put her and Levi behind bars, Gore Bellows. Madeline won’t be the only Scott to confront Gore. Levi will, too. “It’s going take a while to get there. And it’s really great. I finally get to work with the great Kelsey Grammer, and that was a highlight of my life. Levi and Gore finally go face-to-face, and I cherished every moment of that as an actor,” Riley teased.
Riley noted that Levi “comes with the most obstacles I’ve ever played. At every turn his back is against the wall.” He revealed that he’s living out his biggest fear with this role. “I’ve been doing research for a long time with this kind of role because this is my favorite kind of content. I watch all these kind of crime shows, and I listen to all the podcasts. It’s been my biggest fear my entire life, it’s the most random thing about me, but I’ve always had this weird fear that someone’s going knock on my door one day and say, ‘Riley Smith, turn around, put your hands behind your back. You’re wanted for this crime.'” Once he got the role, Riley was put in touch with a man named Jason Strong, who became his mentor.
“He [Jason] was incarcerated for 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit, and I listened to a podcast with him about it,” Riley continued. “The entire drive from Los Angeles to Chicago when I was moving to do this show, I must have listened to it three times. When I got to Chicago, I got to meet him and hang out with him. I’ve learned so much about this process, and it’s just a really unfair situation that so many people are in right now, and we’re hoping that this show will open people’s eyes to it. It’s a hot topic right now anyway, but hopefully we can shed more light on it and bring more awareness to it, and help more wrongfully convicted people get out of prison.”