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Why Angie In Will Trent Looks So Familiar

The title role of ABC's newest crime procedural, "Will Trent," is played by actor Ramon Rodriguez. A Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent, Trent can map out crime scenes perfectly in his head. The dyslexic, gifted investigator then uses his skills to search out killers and abductors in the Georgia state area.

One big complication in Trent's neatly compartmentalized life, however, is Atlanta detective Angie Polaski. The pair share a tragic past, both as former foster children and sometime lovers. Rodriguez told Newsweek that he enjoys the agent's tricky relationship with Polaski. "They've got a very deep history embedded with each other from their foster care home and still, to this day, is [an] on-and-off, tug of war relationship where sometimes it's working and other times it's not," he said.

If the actress playing Polaski looks familiar, it's because she's been in hit 2000s films, co-starred on a beloved NBC show, and more. Here's where you've seen this performer before.

Erika Christensen's first major TV role was a CBS period satire

According to BuzzFeed, Erika Christensen first began acting at the age of 12. Her first IMDb credit is actually in the Michael Jackson music video for the song "Childhood," but Christensen's movie debut was 1997's film adaptation of the classic sitcom "Leave It to Beaver."

Even as a child, Christensen liked acting. "People are counting on you, and I think that's a good thing to grow up with that," she told BuzzFeed. "You'd better step up to the plate." The young actress guest starred on several 1990s sitcoms and dramas, including "Frasier" and "Touched by an Angel." But her first major network television role was on the CBS satire "Thanks," a sitcom based loosely on the first Puritans in the United States. Christensen played the character of Abigail Winthrop on all six episodes that were completed before it was canceled.

She later told BuzzFeed, "It was a pretty British comedy, and it did not hit. It was kind of too clever for its own good somehow." Despite the failure to find an audience, it was still a pleasure to work with legendary co-star Cloris Leachman. "She was probably exactly how you might imagine her — she's just a wild woman," Christensen said.

She plays drug-addicted teen Caroline in Traffic

Playing the addicted daughter of the nation's "drug czar" (Michael Douglas) in a gritty Steven Soderbergh film may have seemed like too much of a risk to another young actress. But Erika Christensen told Vulture, "By the time I was 15, I was so frustrated with just being the cute girl next door." She turned out to be the perfect choice to appear in the 2000 drama "Traffic" as Caroline, a tightly-wound honors student who finds a release — and ultimately addiction — in cocaine and heroin use. The actress had to do research on drug use, because as she told Hollywood.com in 2000, "I have no experience in drugs whatsoever."

"Traffic" was the kind of complex role Christensen had wanted. "I got a couple little opportunities of like, 'Yes, thank you, please let me try something,'" she said. It was also a good career choice: the movie was critically acclaimed, won four out of five Oscars it was nominated for, and had given Christensen her strongest movie role yet. But it was her next big film that would put her front and center.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Swimfan may be one of Christensen's defining performances

Originally, Erika Christensen was offered the role of the girlfriend Amy, eventually played by Shiri Appleby, in the 2002 teen erotic thriller "Swimfan" (via Vulture). But she also wanted to move forward in her career after the darkness of "Traffic." She told Vulture, "I remember meeting with director John Polson and being like, 'I know how to play Madison, that's what I want to do.' And then they were like, 'Okay.'"

So Christensen successfully took on the role of gorgeous, obsessive high school stalker Madison Bell, opposite Jesse Bradford as her hapless prey, Ben. At the time, Christensen was drawn to the character's absolute delusion: "I was like, 'She thinks she's right at every stage of this story.'"

The film received extremely negative reviews from critics at the time, but Christensen says she's still approached about "Swimfan" by, well, fans. "And now people just say, 'I love that movie,' or 'I was so appreciative of how that movie was something different. It wasn't what teen movies were doing at the time.'"

She played Julia on the beloved NBC drama Parenthood

The NBC dramedy "Parenthood" ended up running for six seasons and 103 episodes, despite never having the strongest ratings (via Indiewire). Yet the show received positive reviews from critics and had a cult audience, with The New Yorker calling it "one of only two great dramas on network television" in 2012.

"Parenthood" focuses on the Braverman family, including the parents Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), as well as their children Adam (Peter Krause), Sarah (Lauren Graham), Julia (Erika Christensen), and Crosby (Dax Shepard), their spouses, and their own offspring.

Julia is an ambitious lawyer raising two children, Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae) and adopted son Victor (Xolo Maridueña), with her husband Joel (Sam Jaeger). Julia's "Type A" personality can clash with Sarah and Crosby, but she always comes through for her siblings.

Per BuzzFeed, Christensen was only 26 when she auditioned, and was unsure about playing an older character. But the producers assured her the audience would believe the change. Ultimately she liked getting to play a wife and mother. "I thought it was really cool, because it was somewhere I'd never been as an actor," she said. "Not to mention a person."

Christensen is a murder victim in the thriller Kimi

Erika Christensen only has a small role in the  2022 HBO Max thriller "Kimi," but it's still her first performance in a Steven Soderbergh film since "Traffic" in 2000. Christensen spoke positively about reuniting with the veteran director after two decades, telling The Seattle Times, "It was great. It bizarrely felt like no time had passed."

The actress plays murder victim Samantha, the mistress of Amygdala CEO Bradley Halsing (Derek DelGaudio). After Samantha threatens to expose Halsing's Kimi smart speaker product for spying on customers, Halsing orders her death at the hands of hitman Rivas (Jaime Camil). However, Halsing stupidly gave Samantha a Kimi device, which records the sound of Rivas killing her. An Amygdala employee, Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz), hears the murder, but is now a potential victim herself.

"Kimi" received positive reviews after premiering on HBO Max, and Film of the Week called it "the kind of quick, nimble genre workout that looks easy when Soderbergh ... does it." Hopefully, Christensen will work with Soderbergh again soon.

She co-stars with Zach Braff in the new Cheaper By The Dozen

The third screen version of the classic book, the recent Disney+ film "Cheaper by the Dozen" stars Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union as Paul and Zoey Baker, a couple whose blended family means they're now raising 10 children together.

Erika Christensen co-stars as Kate Baker, Paul's ex-wife and a yoga studio owner. Kate is also the mother of Ella (Kylie Rogers) and Harley (Caylee Blosenski) and the godmother of Haresh (Aryan Simhadri). Where Paul and Zoey have to be stricter as parents, Kate is more over the top and fun.

The actress appreciated that the script felt fun and different, yet also socially conscious. "It also touched on deeper social commentary about family, our similarities, and individuality, all without sacrificing any of the lightheartedness," she told The Seattle Times.

Christensen likes playing roles in film and on television that are challenging but are also enjoyable. She told BuzzFeed, "Certainly, if any opportunity like that comes my way, I'll take it. It has so much value. But it's also super valuable to laugh, and imagine what it would be like to be a superhero."