Jane Lynch on Her 'Angel From Hell' Role: "I Love What a Mess She Is"

The Emmy winner plays a drunk and possibly high woman who claims to be a guardian angel in the new CBS comedy.
Darren Michaels/CBS

After six seasons playing the sinister Sue Sylvester on Glee, Jane Lynch is back on the small screen in a much more angelic role. Or is it?

"I love what a mess she is and that she has no shame around her alcoholism or the fact that she lives in her car," Lynch said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Monday.

In CBS's new half-hour comedy, Lynch stars as Amy, a woman claiming to be the guardian angel of a neurotic doctor named Allison (Maggie Lawson). Together they form an unlikely friendship — though Allison isn't sure if Amy is an angel or just nuts. 

"It's OK that we don’t know," said star Kevin Pollak, who plays Allison's dad. "Its more fun that we don’t know."

Creator Tad Quill said he was inspired by supernatural-esque classic comedies like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. "What would it be like if a person actually came into your life and said they were your guardian angel?" he said. "And to boot, that person was drunk and possibly high and smelled a little homeless."

Because she is an angel in human form, Amy can have intimate relationships but she can't fall in love. "She loves being in human form. She loves food. She loves sex. She loves drinking," said Lynch.

Despite some of her personal vices, her intentions for Allison are pure. "I don't think there's a thing that Amy wouldn't do for Allison," said Lynch. "The stakes for her is that she wants to remain an angel and this is her last chance because she's really screwed it up before."

Added Quill: "She's run afoul of the law in the past and she's absolutely going to be the bull in Allison's china shop."

Because Amy at least believes she is an angel, the series will tackle questions surrounding faith without diving too deep into specifics. "I think there's an element of spirituality to it. Amy is coming at things from a very spiritual place. She's doing good in the world so that automatically brings up questions of faith," said Quill.  "Its first and foremost a comedy. It will always be funny."

Angel From Hell premieres Thursday, Nov. 5, at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.