'In Living Color' Star in New Dramatic Series

PHOTO: Kim Wayans arrives at the CBS Summer Soiree at The London West Hollywood, May 19, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif.Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Kim Wayans arrives at the CBS Summer Soiree at The London West Hollywood, May 19, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif.

Kim Wayans returns to television in a new series Sunday, but it's a long way from neighborhood gossip Benita Butrell or the Snack n Shack waitress she played on the hit 1990s sketch comedy show, "In Living Color."

"I think some fans will be surprised, but it will be a pleasant surprise," Wayans told ABC News. "My fans who love me from comedy will still recognize their Kim even though it's a dramatic series."

Wayans makes her dramatic TV series debut in a new CBS drama, "Reckless," which airs Sunday at 9 p.m. She plays Vi Briggs, a tenacious paralegal with a knack for turning up case-winning facts. Fortunately, Vi has a great sense of humor.

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"It uses the humorous aspects of myself in this character," Wayans said.

The 52-year-old actress also gets to have fun with her character, sometimes going in the field or undercover for a case. "She's not just sitting at her computer plugging away," Wayans said.

But in the two decades since "In Living Color," Wayans has been plugging away.

She is the best known sister of the Wayans comedy dynasty, which includes Keenen Ivory, Damon, Shawn and Marlon Wayans.

"My greatest blessing in this life is my big ole family," said Wayans, who is in the middle of five brothers and four sisters. "I was never one of those kids who wished I was an only child. I always loved being surrounded by so many brothers and sisters, to play kickball or come to your defense. My family is a great comfort and joy."

In recent years, Wayans' career has taken a dramatic turn after she was cast in 2011's "Pariah" as Audrey, a religious mom at odds with her daughter's sexuality. Wayans won accolades for her role and got the attention of the creator of CBS's "Criminal Minds," who wrote an episode in 2012 specifically for her.

Wayans, who played a mother of a murdered child out for vengeance, alongside Mackenzie Phillips, was the first "unsub" in the history of the show to get away at the end.

That guest role led to the call for "Reckless," where Wayans auditioned for a familiar face. The series executive producer, Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen," "Twilight"), was once the production designer on Keenen Ivory Wayans first film "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," which also starred Kim.

"She's such a cool chick," Wayans said of Hardwicke. "It was a lot of fun working together on this pilot. She's just a smart, fun person."

Wayans spent six months on location in Charleston, S.C., shooting the series and enjoying the time away from the stress of her Los Angeles hometown while savoring the local cuisine a little too much.

"At some point, I had to squeeze into Vi's little tight pants and I was like all right now," she said. "I have to slow up."

Wayans may be slowing up on comedy for now, but she'll never give it up.

"I haven't hung up my comedy chops," she said. "They're still there. I'll never completely give it up. Comedy is something I hold very dear to my heart."

She jokingly declared, "The world will be laughing again."