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Stella Baker: 'Republic of Sarah' brings hope to politics

Sarah (Stella Baker) leads her city to declare independence on The Republic of Sarah. Photo courtesy of The CW
Sarah (Stella Baker) leads her city to declare independence on "The Republic of Sarah." Photo courtesy of The CW

LOS ANGELES, June 14 (UPI) -- Stella Baker plays a schoolteacher who finds herself running her own country on The CW's drama The Republic of Sarah, out Monday. Baker said the series depicts an idealistic view of citizens engaging with politics.

"It's such a progressive outlook on the possibility of what a country can look like," Baker said in a recent Television Critics Association Zoom panel.

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The show begins when Lydon Industries shows up in the town of Greylock, asking to dig for valuable minerals. Lydon wants to pay people to relocate to make room for the digging.

Sarah finds a loophole dating back to the founding of the 13 U.S. colonies, showing that neither the United States nor Canada laid claim to the northeastern town. Sarah proposes the town declare independence to hold off Lydon.

When the vote for independence wins, Sarah finds herself in charge of a country. Some of Sarah's tasks include finding a utility company to power the city and dealing with immigration at the new border between Greylock and the United States.

Still, Baker said Sarah's task hardly compares to that of a large country.

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"There's only 2,700 people in Greylock," Baker said. "I think that's a different task than forming a government for hundreds of millions of people."

Baker said the people of Greylock had an intimacy with local government before declaring independence. The town continues its civic engagement as a country.

"Everyone who expresses an opinion is heard," Baker said. "It's just that in Greylock when people vote for something or engage civically, it's the laws for the whole country."

The circumstances that allow Greylock to declare independence are a fictional invention of creator Jeffrey Paul King. However, Baker said the depiction of civic engagement is realistic.

"I don't think it's so different than when we show up to our town hall here and say, 'This is what we care about' or 'This is what we need,'" Baker said.

Sarah had not set out to actually form a country. Yet, her education as a high school teacher enabled her to devise the plan to stave off Lydon.

Baker said Sarah's educational background continues to be an asset as she runs Greylock. One of the biggest lessons Sarah has to learn, Baker said, is to delegate.

Even a small country like Greylock is more than one person can run alone. Sarah gets some help from her mother (Megan Follows), her friends and even some of her students.

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"One of the biggest challenges for Sarah is figuring out how to reach out and get help," Baker said.

The 27-year-old Baker said she has help in her role as lead of the series. Baker credited King with balancing the show's civics lessons and character drama.

Baker is also the daughter of actor Simon Baker and made her television debut on his show, The Mentalist, in 2014. Baker said her father still answers her questions when leading The Republic of Sarah becomes overwhelming.

"I can call my dad and be like, 'What's going on? Am I doing it all wrong?'" Baker said. "He has been available to give me guidance."

As Sarah figures out how to run a country in the first season of Republic, she comes into conflict with her friends and family. Sarah's brother Danny (Luke Mitchell) is a Lydon executive who still wants to dig on Greylock land.

Baker said Sarah must learn to separate politics from personal relationships.

"The whole season is really about her figuring out the difference between taking care of your family, taking care of your friends and taking care of a country," Baker said.

The Republic of Sarah premieres Monday at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.



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