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Why Longmire's Cady Looks So Familiar

There may be no genre in American audiovisual media more enduring than the Western. For a mode of storytelling with such specific, quintessential defining features, it's rather astonishing how Westerns have managed to last from the very infancy of the moving image until its present days — sometimes reinventing themselves to fit the times, sometimes sticking to time-tested formulas, but always lingering on through to the next era of cinema and TV. And, incidentally, it could be argued that no 2010s show carried the torch of the genre more faithfully than "Longmire."

Developed by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin as an adaptation of Craig Johnson's "Walt Longmire" novels, the hit crime procedural series had an eventful production history which included a move from its native A&E to Netflix on Season 4, but it was never anything less than highly successful across its six seasons. The ostensible narrative center of "Longmire" was Robert Taylor as the titular sheriff. However, its heart was arguably Walt's attorney daughter, Cady Longmire, whose dedication to doing right by her clients, eventually including the residents of the local Cheyenne reservation, often made her the de-facto moral center of the cast. Cady was one of the few characters who remained as series regulars from the show's beginning until its very end, and the actress who played her, Cassidy Freeman, appeared in the majority of "Longmire'"s 63 total episodes. Here are a few of the roles where you might have seen her before.

Cassidy Freeman starred as Tess Mercer on Smallville

American actress Cassidy Freeman, who played Cady on "Longmire," has been a dependable presence on TV for several years now. Long before she joined the A&E Western-tinged crime procedural, Freeman was already making waves in the role of Tess Mercer on "Smallville."

Developed by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, "Smallville" predated the eventual onslaught of superhero series that would take over The CW in the 2010s under the banner of the Arrowverse. Premiering on Warner's broadcast network back when it was still known as The WB, the show went on to run for 10 seasons and become one of the 21st century's most emblematic genre hits, thanks to one nifty premise: Patiently charting the rise of Clark Kent a.k.a. Kal-El a.k.a. Superman (Tom Welling) from overwhelmed Kansas teenager to full-fledged Man of Steel. Naturally, that evolution included an intense arch-conflict with Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), which had repercussions that lingered even past the character's exit from the show in Season 7.

Luthor was succeeded as CEO of LuthorCorp by his protégé Tess Mercer, a character original to "Smallville" but loosely inspired by the comics figure of Lena Luthor. Although her connection to Lex Luthor and command over LuthorCorp theoretically placed her in opposition to Clark, Tess had a complex, ever-shifting relationship with the show's protagonist, never quite falling into the boxes of either "hero" or "villain" — and Freeman proved her chops by doing justice to the role's emotional and moral ambivalence.

She had three different guest spots on three CSI shows

Cassidy Freeman starred on "Smallville" during the show's final three seasons between 2008 and 2011, and, following her breakthrough on that show, she also went on to make appearances on various other TV series leading up to 2012, the year she began her "Longmire" bow. Her guest spots in that time included NBC's short-lived "The Playboy Club," on which she played Frances Dunhill, and a hop over to The CW's own "The Vampire Diaries," where she played Sage for three episodes.

Interestingly, that period of Freeman's career was arguably most defined not by any one role she played in an extended capacity on a single show, but by the three separate one-off roles she had on three different "CSI" franchise series. First, in 2009, she had a small role on the fourth episode of Season 10 of the original "CSI," titled "Coup de Grace." Freeman played Officer Donna Grayson, who gets interviewed as part of the episode's investigation. Then, in 2011, she popped up on "Indelible," the premiere of "CSI: NY" Season 8, playing Devon Hargrove, a waitress at the bar where the week's murder case took place. Finally, she completed her triad of "CSI" guest roles with Connie Jaden, a character on "CSI: Miami" Season 10, episode 15, titled "No Good Deed." A neighbor of the episode's victim Henry Duncan (Patrick Breen), Connie reveals a troubling willingness to poison his dog with chocolate to get rid of its barking.

She currently stars on The Righteous Gemstones as Amber

"Longmire" ended in November 2017. Less than two years later, in August 2019, Cassidy Freeman was already back on American TV screens in a regular capacity by way of her role in HBO's popular televangelist comedy "The Righteous Gemstones."

The series, created by Danny McBride, brings the writer and actor's signature style of irreverent humor to the world of megachurches. As its title suggests, "The Righteous Gemstones" is centered around the Gemstone family, a powerful dynasty of pastors and televangelists led by widowed patriarch Dr. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman), who presides over the Gemstone Salvation Center. McBride himself stars as eldest child Jesse Gemstone, who spends the series trying to balance his obligations to the family and the church with his proclivity for less-than-saintly behavior.

McBride has never shied away from playing his characters as unsympathetic and even downright loathsome figures, and Jesse may be the most glaring example of all — an arrogant, imperious hypocrite with no qualms about hurting his subordinates or his loved ones. And a large amount of his callousness falls on the shoulders of his wife Amber, played by Cassidy Freeman. At first endlessly dedicated to her role as a proper Christian wife, Amber nonetheless finds that she can't keep Jesse from falling into his bad ways no matter how much she bends to his will, eventually forcing her to step beyond the confines of her strict domestic duties and become a more complex and conflicted character.