In what could be her first regular series role since Dr. Quinn, Medicine WomanJane Seymour has joined the cast of the new ABC drama pilot The Hypnotist’s Love Story, which is based on the novel by Liane Moriarty.

In the potential series, Ellen, a successful hypnotherapist, has rebounded from a number of romances that have gone wrong and seems to be settling into a true relationship with her boyfriend (played by Adan Canto). Like everyone, however, he comes with baggage — in this case taking the form of an ex-girlfriend turned stalker named Saskia (played by Heather Graham). Strangely, Ellen is actually kind of excited about the idea of a stalker, though she’s unaware that they already know each other. Jane, 68, is playing Ellen’s mother, Anne, who is officially described as an “independent single mother by choice who is confounded by her daughter’s longing for traditional romance.”

heather-graham
Heather Graham. (Tom Cooper/Getty Images for Global Down Syndrome Foundation)

What’s interesting is that, at least in the book, there is a certain empathy generated towards Saskia, that sounds like it will be similar to what’s greeted stalker/serial killer Joe Goldberg in the TV series You. In an interview with SheReads.org, author Liane commented, “I did feel compassion for her (and the awful thing is that I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt the same compassion if that character was a man). I actually found it quite scarily easy to put myself into her shoes and imagine how it would feel to behave that way.

“I should pause here to clarify that my compassion is not because I have personal experience as a stalker,” she added. “I read some great books on the psychology of stalking and learned that many stalkers have recently experienced a loss in their life, and that helped me create a backstory for Saskia. Once I had her backstory and felt I knew her, I found it very easy to write entirely from her point of view and understand her twisted logic. So much so, that when I switched back to Ellen’s point of view, I had to forget my knowledge of Saskia’s motivations, and keep reminding myself that her victims would obviously find her behavior very distressing.”

The whole idea of sympathy for stalkers/serial killers is discussed with You author Caroline Kepnes in our Classic TV & Film podcast