Felicity Huffman to return to TV for 1st time in nearly 4 years following prison time for college admissions scandal

Felicity Huffman attends a gala Dec. 3 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
Felicity Huffman attends a gala Dec. 3 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Actress Felicity Huffman will be back on TV this winter, playing a guest role on an episode of ABC's The Good Doctor that is meant to introduce a spinoff, The Good Lawyer.

The casting is significant for the TV veteran, who's perhaps best known for her work on Desperate Housewives and Sports Night, because it marks the Emmy winner's return to the medium following her time behind bars. In October 2019, Huffman served 11 days at a federal prison in Dublin, Calif., for her part in the sweeping college admission scandal, in which parents had paid bribes to have their children admitted to top universities. Huffman had pleaded guilty in May 2019 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying $15,000 to have her daughter's SAT test doctored.

Huffman already had several projects, including two movies in the works at the time, and they were released after the scandal broke. When They See Us, Ava DuVernay's award-winning series following the case of the Central Park Five, began airing the month of her guilty plea, and the movies came out in July 2019 and May 2020. It was announced in November 2020 that Huffman would star in the lead role of series on the owner of minor league baseball team the Sacramento River Cats, but nothing has been announced on that front.

This latest project is scheduled to air March 6. Huffman will play Janet Stewart, an accomplished attorney with, as the show teases, "a fierce intellect and dry wit," who has previously represented Richard Schiff's The Good Doctor character, Dr. Aaron Glassman. While Glassman turns to Stewart to represent his protégé, Freddie Highmore's Dr. Shaun Murphy wants Joni DeGroot, a lawyer with an obsessive compulsive disorder, played by Nancy Drew's Kennedy McMann, to represent him; DeGroot then takes the lead in the case, which means that Huffman's Stewart must work under her.

In addition to her prison sentence, Huffman was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine for her part in the fraud and to complete 250 hours of community service and one year of supervised release.

Lori Loughlin, another celebrity convicted in Operation Varsity Blues, popped up in TV screens for the first time post-scandal in December 2021. She played her character from the series When Calls the Heart, from which she was fired following her arrest, on the spin-off When Hope Calls.