Roosevelt High grad Miranda Rae Mayo lands role on ABC’s ‘Blood & Oil’

Miranda Rae Mayo plays the illegitimate daughter of the character played by Don Johnson in ABC’s “Blood & Oil.”
Miranda Rae Mayo plays the illegitimate daughter of the character played by Don Johnson in ABC’s “Blood & Oil.” ABC

Roosevelt High School graduate and Clovis native Miranda Rae Mayo was beginning to think 2015 wasn’t going to be a good year for her.

She was cast on the critically heralded Showtime series “The Affair.” But, after filming one episode, producers decided that she just didn’t look old enough for the role.

Then she auditioned for the new ABC drama “Blood & Oil” to play the illegitimate daughter of the character played by Don Johnson. Casting came down to Mayo and another actress. She didn’t get the job.

“I was OK with it and decided I didn’t really want to be on their show,” Mayo says jokingly during a phone interview from the series location in Utah. “Then I got a call from my agents asking me if I would be willing to go on the show with the original contract they had offered. I said yes.”

The next day, she was working on the show.

“Blood & Oil” is about an oil boom in North Dakota, where Hap Briggs (Don Johnson) is the biggest player. Billy (Chace Crawford) and Cody (Rebecca Rittenhouse) Lefever have dreams of making fortunes in oil, but they have to deal with Hap.

Mayo promises there will be a lot of interesting dynamics between her character, Lacey Briggs, and all of the players.

“Lacey is a super feisty character,” she says. “And the writers have been trying to make my personality fit her more.”

Mayo started acting at age 8. She performed with the junior company at Good Company Players, Children’s Musical Theaterworks and other productions while attending University and Roosevelt high schools. As soon as she graduated, she moved in with a cousin in Riverside to start her professional acting career.

She made a few guest appearances on TV shows, including “Law & Order: L.A.” Her biggest acting break was a five-episode arc on the BET series “The Game.” She’s also worked on “Pretty Little Liars,” “Stuck!” ‘Days of Our Lives” and “True Detective.”

She had never worked with Johnson, but she knew his work well. “Miami Vice” was her father’s favorite show and most of her family loved his work on “Nash Bridges.”

“I met him at our table read. I walked in the door and he gave me the biggest hug. He was so warm and welcoming and told me he had been rooting for me since he saw my taped audition,” Mayo says.

In all of her other jobs, Mayo has joined a series that was already in production. “Blood & Oil” feels different because she is part of the series from the start.

Mayo is cautious about giving too much away about her character. She reveals that Lacey will be a big part of the story, despite getting minimal time in the first episode.

Her story heated up in the Oct. 18 episode and kept Mayo’s promise that viewers would see a lot more of her – a lot more of her. She filmed her first love scene, calling the experience positive because of the respectful nature of the cast and crew.

Her only concern was shocking conservative relatives in Fresno.

Like any new series, how long “Blood & Oil” lasts depends on the number of viewers. So far ratings have been relatively low.

Mayo’s hopes TV fans will tune in and see that “Blood & Oil” has the same kind of dynamics as “Revenge” and the family elements of “Brothers & Sisters.”

Mayo has seen future scripts, and she says there have been times during her initial reading that she’s gasped at what is taking place.

“I really do think this business is such a crap shoot,” Mayo says. “Nobody knows what will happen. I am just staying positive and grateful. I think where people go wrong is taking the experience for granted.”

It seems 2015 hasn’t been that bad after all.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

Blood & Oil

  • 9 p.m. Sundays, ABC (Channel 30.1)