After upholding the law (to varying degrees of success) for more than a decade on the small screen, Niecy Nash is finally playing by her own rules in TNT’s Claws — and she’s having a blast.
A boss in every sense of the word, Nash’s Desna Simms spends her days making Florida’s Manatee County — or at least the fingernails of its citizens — more beautiful, while spending her nights laundering money for a colorful character named “Uncle Daddy” (Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris). But as we saw in Sunday’s series premiere, Desna isn’t in it for the long haul; all she needs is $20,000 to open her own salon and start a better life for herself and Dean, her brother with unspecified special needs.
She’s also a mother figure to her salon associates: Polly (The Good Wife‘s Carrie Preston), a prom dress-rocking jailbird with a heart of gold; Jennifer (Justified‘s Jenn Lyon), a married mother of two with an appropriately short temper; and Quiet Ann (Scrubs‘ Judy Reyes), a real lady’s lady with about as much dialogue in the premiere as Vanna White gets during any given Wheel of Fortune episode.
And then there’s newcomer Virginia (The Bay‘s Karrueche Tran), a former “dancer” with severe boundary issues — unless someone told her it was a good idea to sleep with her boss’ sidepiece Roller (The Strain‘s Jack Kesy) and rub it in Desna’s face. That behavior, as expected, got her literally tossed out of the nail salon. (“I gave you a chance, bitch!” Desna yelled between blasts to Virginia’s face in the parking lot. “I taught you a trade, bitch!”)
Little did Desna know, her dynamic with Virginia was about to change big time. When a visit to Roller’s new mansion turned sour — Desna wasn’t thrilled with her meager $3,000 bonus, Roller told her to shut up, she tried to kill him, etc. — Virginia delivered a bullet to Roller’s head, saving Desna’s life. (Well, whatever’s left of it, anyway.)
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