When Simon Baker inked a new $30 million deal to continue his starring role on The Mentalist, his female co-star was quick to hit him where it hurts.
Robin Tunney, who plays detective Teresa Lisbon opposite Baker's psychic consultant Patrick Jane, wasn't going to miss her piece of the action.
"When they published how much money he's making," she tells Switched On, "I sent him a text asking if I could borrow $3000. I was like 'you can't tell me you don't have it'."
The joke says everything about the relationship between Tunney and Baker, who she laughingly calls "cougar meat".
They are more teasing siblings than your average, will-they, won't-they TV couple.
As the 39-year-old explains, the jibes go both ways, with Baker returning fire on his co-star.
"Are you kidding ... there are so many lines of attack," she says. "He's constantly teasing me. We've joked around that on television, it's too busy a schedule to do much acting. So whatever is going up on screen - the teasing, the fondness, as the relationship's progressed - it's just us in real life and how comfortable we are with each other. There's very little acting involved. We're pretty lucky."
In an industry where egos can be measured against bank balances, the attitude of Baker and Tunney is more than luck, it's a rarity.
Rather than showing any sign of jealousy, Tunney says she's grateful for the opportunity to work alongside TV's golden boy.
"Let's face it, most actors aren't rocket scientists and are really fragile," she says.
"The idea that I'm working with somebody who makes my day so much shorter ... he just makes me better."
Their bond is central to the success of the show, now in its fourth season on Nine.
Fans were left hanging about the fate of Baker and Tunney's characters at the end of series three with Jane killing the man he believed to be his nemesis Red John, while Lisbon was shot in the hunt for the serial killer.
Joining the cast this year is actor Henry Thomas (of E.T. fame), who plays the bounty-hunting brother of Lisbon.
Tunney says Thomas reveals "why Teresa can put up with so much from Jane, because she's had this brother always getting her into messes her whole life. It's normal to her."
She says her ease around Baker can be explained by the relationships she's had with Australians, on-screen and off.
"I can't seem to get away from Australians," she says.
"I used to go out with an Australian (Chopper writer/director Andrew Dominik) for a really long time. Ben Mendelsohn is one of my great friends. The cultural teasing is there ... but you always know where you stand. If they tell you you've done a great job they mean it."
But she stops short of wanting to see her "TV marriage" to Baker cross that romantic line.
"All these people are dying for you to get together but it's not a soap opera. It's not Grey's Anatomy, it's not about people in the bedroom," Tunney says. "I mean, are we supposed to be giving furtive glances over dead bodies? How's that going to work? It's much more fun for people to want it, than for it to actually happen."
Two people who would like to see it happen are Tunney's parents, big Baker fans.
"I think my mother would like to come out and be my kissing double," she says.
"He's incredibly sweet to my parents and I'm pretty sure they like him more than me. My dad will call and say 'you must tell Simon, in tonight's episode, he took my breath away. The show was amazing'. No mention of me and I'm like, 'Daaaaaaad'."