WARNING: This article contains spoiler’s about season 3 of Amazon Prime Video’s Goliath. Read at your own risk!
Brenneman portrayed half of Billy McBride’s (Billy Bob Thornton) mighty medusa monster Diana Blackwood, a power woman with all the right connections who enjoys microdosing much more than reality. Alongside her brother Wade (Dennis Quaid), the pair are getting massively rich by drilling for water in California’s Central Valley.
Together, they plan domination of the state’s water supply, going to any length to get everyone involved and profiting. And it’s working — the pair are so wealthy, they soak in bathtubs full of almond milk while the other makes toast nearby.
“I believe we soaked in powdered milk, which made the water very opaque,” Brenneman tells EW, laughing. “I had nothing underneath but we sat in this opaque water. We took a lot of baths…. We kind of spun this backstory that we grew up quite privileged — our father was a mega farmer. We grew up mostly in L.A. but we’d go up to the ranch and we’d dare each other. Like, ‘I dare you to touch that electrical wire.'”
She adds about those scenes, “That whole thing was so kinky! That first bathtub scene in the beginning was the very first time I ever worked with Dennis and I didn’t know what was going on. He’s so awesome, but also just such a busy actor. So he was improving and coughing and laughing and splashing. It was sort of like being around this puppy!”
As much as she enjoyed splashing around, what was most important to her is that she understand the real-world situations that inspired the show’s third season.
“As the person who played Diana, I was obsessed with understanding the plot and the laws really well,” she says. “In real life, these mega farmers did take over the water boards, which is incredible — and that’s all legal. So in our story, that was Diana’s idea when she comes out of a trip, in a flashback she says, ‘We have to take over the water.’ So she really is a visionary and she makes it happen. She’s a great politician.”
She adds, “I hope through the show we’re able to bring more attention to what is happening. As an L.A. resident, we got out of some drought after a wet winter. But up until that point, it had been a good five years where everyone had to keep an eye on their water usage. But that was nothing compared to the water use of the farmers. What those of us who don’t know about what’s been going on, the state has prioritized these mega-farms who make a s—t ton of money. It was interesting to learn about it. I thought since it’s a fictional show it was all made up but no, a good 90% of it wasn’t made up at all. Like Dennis tells during that beautiful courtroom scene when he’s facing up to Billy, 95% of it is legal — it’s not ethical but it’s legal.”
In the end, the Blackwood’s lose out to McBride and Diana ends up shooting him before racing off in her car — where she also meets her fate. Or, does she?
“I think Diana’s body is dead,” the actress-turned-podcaster explains. “I had such a good time playing her and I fell in love with this series. I had one of the best times ever, honestly. I remembering talking about this and thinking, ‘I don’t think she’s dead.’ Her body can be dead but she can come back and visit Billy. He’s a blackout drunk and she’s a witch. I think she can find him on some level of consciousness. She can come back as some beautiful crane. They’re now cooking up season 4, so you never know if she’ll come back in some way.”
In a way, audiences might see a glimpse of her again… on TNT, where Brenneman’s next series Tell Me Your Secrets, will air.
“This woman, Harriet Warner, wrote it said, ‘I wrote your first sociopath part!’ I said, ‘Oh, yeah you did!’ But that role, her name is Mary, she gets to a certain immorality through deep grief. Diana’s more joyous in a funny way. She has so much pleasure in her emotions, in her body — pleasure from just being in her skin. I think the Goliath set was extremely free, very supportive, and a lot of improvising. All of that contributed to us literally not knowing what was going to happen from take to take. That’s something that I love to do. Diana is a brilliant female in a very masculine world. I really fell for her, coming up with all the ideas and being the brains behind this thing and then getting tossed under the bus. Nobody stands up for her, except for her sons who love her dearly. But I did feel for her as this fragile, brilliant person. I think she’s kind of a genius but also the butt of a lot of jokes. Yeah, I loved her.”
Season 3 of Goliath is currently available for streaming via Amazon Prime Video.