Holly Hunter is wrapping up her ninth and final season on TNT's Saving Grace playing a troubled cop. Now she looks back about what it was like to work with real cops on the show. “I took shooting lessons, went to driving lessons, rode around with them,” she told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “It’s a job that requires things that I only have in my imagination.”

Born in Conyers, Ga., Hunter knew she wanted to do drama early on. She got a degree in drama from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied theater. She was cast in the Broadway play, Crimes of the Heart and made her debut in the 1981 horror movie, The Burning. One of Holly Hunter’s most popular roles came as a mute pianist who was sold in marriage by her own father and shipped to New Zealand alongside her daughter in the 1993 drama film Piano. Her first television series was TNT’s Saving Grace, which began in 2007.

With Saving Grace now coming to a close after a strong run, Hunter found herself constantly tackling many spiritual topics. “I feel that I’m a spiritual person in that I feel like I'm telling stories in a spiritual exercise,” she told Uinterview. “I think it’s something that we need as a culture and as humans.”

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Q: The show tackled such provocative topics like faith and religion. Did being on the show influence your spiritual life? - Kris Alcantara

Well, to a degree. I feel that I'm a spiritual person in that I feel like telling stories is a spiritual exercise. I think that it's something that we need as a culture and as humans. We need for people to put stories up in front of us that we recognize as ourselves so that we can see - you need to be able to see something in a finite form in order to identify with it sometimes because your life sprawls before you in this kind of way that you can't capture. And so storytelling — you kind of put your nightmares up there, you put your dreams up there and people can see them better because they can stand outside of it and look at it and recognize themselves inside it. So I feel that that in and of itself is a spiritual thing. I think Grace reinforced that for me because I had to answer why I was doing it often because it was very difficult. It's been a very difficult thing to do in terms of hours and in terms of commitment, personal commitment. And I was very personally committed. So that grew in me as — so I think it reinforced me as a person with a certain kind of spirituality.

Q: Was there anything about the character of Grace that you felt most strongly related to in playing this role now that you're wrapping it up? - Joe Galbo

Gosh. Well, I think it would be hard to say. I bring all of myself to Grace but I bring all of myself to every character that I've ever played whether she was an arsonist or a Texas cheerleader murdering mom or a TV broadcast journalist, news producer, or a mute Scottish bride. So I don't know, they all come from me or my imagination.

Q: Did you spend a lot of time with other police officers doing ride-arounds and things like that? - Uinterview

Well, I spent some time with the Oklahoma City Police Department on a number of occasions and they — from giving me moves just physically opportunistic moves, moves of offense, of defense, I took shooting lessons, went to driving lessons, rode around with them and it was, of course, humbling. It's a job that requires things that I only have in my imagination but that I don't have. And it inspires a good amount of awe to see what they encounter and what they confront and what they want to confront. These are people that want — they seek trouble out. They go — when everybody else is running away they're running towards and that's an interesting impulse for people to have and I thought that it totally embodied Grace because Grace is seeking out chaos and feels at home in it. It's just that Grace feels that way in her personal life as well as her professional life, and I can't say that for all cops.