‘For Life’s Mary Stuart Masterson Teases Anya & Safiya’s Ongoing Relationship ‘Strain’ & More

Mary Stuart Masterson is part of the incredible ensemble cast of 'For Life.' She spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL and previewed what's ahead for Anya, including the 'conflict' between Anya and Safiya.

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Mary Stuart Masterson
Image Credit: ABC

Mary Stuart Masterson stars in the new ABC drama series For Life, which is inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr. In the show, Aaron Wallace is fighting to overturn his life sentence. Mary plays Anya Harrison, who is running for attorney general in New York. She’s also the wife of Safiya Masry, the warden of the prison where Aaron is imprisoned. Fans of For Life got a taste of Anya and Safiya’s relationship but we will see more of their relationship in the coming episodes. “There are arguments between Anya and Safiya that are substantive about life-work balance and how any relationship with two working parents — whose job wins? Whose job if it comes down to a conflict of interest, who has the career that gets the priority? Those kinds of issues come up a lot for these characters,” Mary told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY.

“What’s great is that here’s a lesbian couple that isn’t on screen in order to delve into the issue of being a lesbian couple,” Mary continued. “They just happen to be two women who are married and what the substance of their relationship and what their on-screen relationship is all about basically is how they resolve these conflicts and they argue all the time. But they are great arguments that are constructive, and when I say constructive it’s like, ‘Okay, but if you do that, this will happen to me. But if I do that, this will happen to you. This is long game. This is short game. Who’s going to do what? They’re really fun to play because it’s not just a couple of people unhinged emotionally. They’re actually trying to solve a problem, but they think there are two different ways to go and two different roads that they’re on that put them in conflict. There’s no easy solution for them ever. But the relationship is put under more strain than it ever has been or ever will be.”

Anya is running for attorney general and used to be a prosecutor. Despite prosecutors usually leaning more on the conservative side, Mary noted that Anya is more “progressive” than most prosecutors and “admires” what Aaron Wallace is trying to do. “Inherently, prosecutors are somewhat more conservative than certainly defense attorneys and err on the side of more people are in jail that did it than didn’t do it,” Mary continued. “You’d have to think that way in order to keep sort of prosecuting people with these mandatory minimums and so forth. But what’s cool about Anya is she’s actually more progressive and this is a result of her relationship with her wife and really goes for it. People can change, too. Like, we have several people running for president right now who are prosecutors and you know that that brings a lot of baggage because you’re basically prosecuting laws that maybe you don’t even 100 percent agree with the sentencing and the mandatory minimums and so forth. She’s actually willing to change and be part of the change that she wants to see in the world. But she comes at it from an inherently somewhat more conservative history. But she does get a little mini arc of change in there.”

Mary told HollywoodLife that she’s proud to be a part of a series that is addressing the problems in the justice system. “There’s so much wrong with the justice system right now. There’s such a need for criminal justice reform and for prison reform. Mass incarceration is just a really huge problem that needs addressing, so it’s really a privilege to get to be on a show that deals with it at all, let alone a network show.” For Life airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.