Laverne Cox is set to continue her ascent into the upper echelons of on screen fame with a role as a trans attorney in CBS drama pilot Doubt. The role of Cameron Wirth – a sassy, smart defence lawyer – was reportedly created specifically for a transgender actress. And who better than Cox, the Orange Is The New Black star who appeared on the cover of TIME as the cultural face of "the transgender tipping point"?
Wirth has a starring role in Doubt as an Ivy League-educated defense attorney who gets romantically involved with a client accused of a violent crime. The script for the pilot will be written by Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, the married duo who produced Grey's Anatomy. In other words, expect lots of clandestine conference room hook-ups and emotionally complicated love triangles.
Doubt is Cox's first big role after her star turn in OITNB, which landed her a world record as the first trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy. Casting Cox in a role made for a trans woman also bucks the trend of casting non-trans (i.e. cis) actors in trans roles – Jared Leto came in for criticism from the LGBT community when he played a trans woman in the Oscar-nominated film Dallas Buyers Club. Similarly, Jeffrey Tambor faced a similar outcry when he was cast as a trans woman in the Amazon TV series Transparent.
In an interview with Dazed, Cox explained why casting a trans actor for a trans role is important to society as a whole. "In my experience, trans folk watching Orange Is The New Black have a point of identification that they might not have if someone cisgender plays the role," she said. "And those who are not trans can find themselves having sympathy for the trans actor. That can create these initiators of social change."