The series reunites the actor with Jason Katims, the “Friday Night Lights” showrunner. But the wealthy suburbanite she plays is “so not Tami Taylor,” she said.

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By Kathryn Shattuck

Back in 2010, after she shot the final episode of “Friday Night Lights,” Connie Britton rather famously had an identity crisis.

“Who am I, if I’m not Tami Taylor?” she wondered on her friend Chelsea Handler’s talk show.

Quite a few people, as it turns out. In the time since “Friday Night Lights” ended, Britton has been one of TV’s most reliable and flexible performers, grounding pulpy genre fare (“American Horror Story”), elevating soapy melodrama (“Nashville”) and embracing privileged obliviousness in the name of spiky satire (“The White Lotus”).

Her new show, “Dear Edward,” premiering Friday on Apple TV+, reunites her with the man who helped her turn Tami Taylor — a guidance counselor and the wife of a West Texas football coach, who keeps her husband steady and her marriage real — into a source of enduring affection. Jason Katims, the showrunner for “Friday Night Lights,” adapted “Dear Edward,” from the 2020 novel by Ann Napolitano, about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash and the community of mourners born in its aftermath.

The character he had in mind for Britton, a cosseted housewife named Dee Dee, was not in the book and, at first glance, could hardly be more different than the warm, pragmatic Tami. She is the kind of woman whose husband treats her and their daughter to a shopping spree at Valentino for their shared birthday. The kind who glides through life, in her expensive clothes and enviable hair — a signature Britton trait — radiant with the knowledge that she will never want for anything.

Katims, however, thought Britton would be perfect for Dee Dee because of her talent for charming viewers and then switching emotions on a dime, exposing something more vulnerable and naked.

“As soon as I thought of Connie for that role, I couldn’t think of anybody else,” he said in a video interview last week.

Britton was excited to read the script, she said, but once she had, she found it funny that Katims saw her as Dee Dee, given their history on “Friday Night Lights.”

“It’s actually not something that I would have necessarily thought, OK, that’s my next role,” she said in a video call from her home in Los Angeles. “But I actually appreciated it even more because it’s so not Tami Taylor.”

And yet she found Dee Dee to be “so hilarious and heartful,” she said. “And there’s something very freeing about the experience of working with Jason. We come from this improvisational background, and it’s like, ‘See what you find, see what you discover — the sky’s the limit.’”

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