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Why The Mom From Locke & Key Looks So Familiar

The age of streaming television is officially underway, and Netflix is continuing its streak with everything from reality television to new comedies to adaptations of popular books. One of the streamer's latest and greatest efforts is Locke & Key. Led by Lost alum Carlton Cuse and adapted from the beloved comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key is already a huge sensation Netflix, drawing longtime Locke & Key fans and newbies alike. Since its premiere on February 7, 2020, the series has become a bonafide Netflix hit thanks to its imaginative story, solid scares, and twisting, turning narrative.

Locke & Key focuses on the members of the Locke family, who move from Seattle to a small town in Massachusetts after the patriarch of the family, Rendell (Bill Heck), is murdered. As the family settles in Rendell's ancestral home, they discover that the house is host to some sort of supernatural force. After the Locke children find keys around the house that open doors to create magical happenings, they then discover a demonic presence in the home trying to get the keys for its own sinister use.

Leading the Locke family is the matriarch Nina Locke, the sole remaining parent and Rendell's widow, played on the series by Darby Stanchfield. An experienced dramatic actress like Stanchfield is perfect for this ambitious and challenging role, and as you make your way through Locke & Key, you might find yourself wondering where you've seen Stanchfield before. From campy network dramas to prestige television series, here's why Nina Locke from Locke & Key looks so familiar.

Nina Locke's important role in the Locke & Key story

As the mother of the Locke family and the only parent to her three children Lucas (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones), and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), Nina is the glue holding her family together, even as she struggles with the recent death of her husband. Like the rest of her family, Nina is anxious and depressed about moving back to the Locke family home, as well as mystified and frightened by the supernatural happenings within the house. As they settle into their home — which is in a serious state of disrepair when they arrive — Nina turns to some of Rendell's childhood friends, including Ellie Whedon (Sherri Saum) and Rendell's younger brother Duncan (Aaron Ashmore).

Though Nina had no previous knowledge of the magic of the keys, she starts discovering weird things within the house. For example, when she tries to hide a broken mug from her children, she accidentally uses the house's magically mending key and returns to find it whole again. However, she still remains skeptical of the magic within the house, and her overarching obsession with Rendall's death not only clouds her judgment, but also renders her unable to fully immerse herself in the magic. Protective of her family and her husband's memory, Nina is a strong mother who doesn't allow herself to be bogged down by the supernatural.

Darby Stanchfield has been on big-name TV series

Before Locke & Key, Darby Stanchfield made her dramatic debut on a single episode of CBS' Diagnosis: Murder in 2000. After that, she appeared on shows like Cold Case, The Mentalist, Monk, Without a Trace, Bones, Nip/Tuck, and more — including sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother. She also appeared in a few feature films, including the 2004 Josh Duhamel-led adaptation of The Portrait of Dorian Grey and in 2007's Waitress, as the wife of Nathan Fillion's character. (Stanchfield teamed up with Fillion again to play his namesake character's ex-wife on Castle in 2009 and again in 2013.)

In 2006, Stanchfield began her first television regular role on the CBS drama Jericho, portraying April Green. One year later, she joined the supporting cast of Mad Men, playing Helen Bishop, a neighbor of the Draper family whose son develops an unsettling obsession with January Jones' Betty Draper. However, her biggest television turn was yet to come.

You probably know Darby Stanchfield from Scandal

After working with showrunner Shonda Rhimes on Private Practice, on which she held a guest role as Tess Milford, Stanchfield partnered with Rhimes for Scandal — Rhimes' buzzy primetime soap that chronicled the exploits of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a political fixer working closely with the fictional President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Stanchfield remained a regular on the show — playing Abby Whelan, one of Olivia's investigators who later became the White House Press Secretary — for its entire seven-season run. During her time on Scandal, the actress became fluent in the quick wit and speech characteristic of Rhimes' whip-smart yet extremely fun shows.

Whether you're new to Stanchfield or remember her from Scandal, there's no doubt that she's the perfect choice to play Nina Locke. Locke & Key's first season is streaming on Netflix now.