"I recycle and I'm looking into getting a hybrid car," says Gugu Mbatha-Raw, whose Fox drama series "Touch" has its official premiere (its sneak preview debuted in January) on March 22. The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as the father of a mute boy with the special ability to see interconnected patterns in numbers, and Mbatha-Raw plays Claire Hopkins, the social worker assigned to his case. "She was a foster child and has her own history with social services. Her main priority is the child and making sure he gets what he needs. It's a tempestuous relationship with Kiefer's character Martin. She's a little conflicted because she witnesses these incredible things that Jake is able to do but because of her job she has to toe the line."

 

Mbatha-Raw was drawn to creator Tim Kring's script, which she found "so exceptional and striking for me emotionally," and the opportunity to do some more dramatic fare after the lighter, playful "Undercovers." "I was really excited to play a social worker, something I could research in the real world. I spoke to several social workers, at a school I visited in Brooklyn," she notes. She also likes the notion the series presents that everyone is connected. "Traveling around the globe, working in the States and having the opportunity to work with different cultures, I've definitely felt that over the past couple of years," says the Oxford, England native, who lived in New York before moving to Los Angeles. "It's very hopeful and comforting to believe we're all connected."

 

Although "Undercovers" was short-lived, "it was my first job in the states and I'm so thankful to J.J. Abrams for that incredible opportunity. Overall I learned a lot from doing it," says Mbatha-Raw, who'll be seen in the movie "Odd Thomas," a supernatural thriller based on a book by Dean Koontz. "It's totally different from 'Touch,' she says. "It's great to mix it up."

 

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