Why Sandy From After Life Looks So Familiar

Fans of dark comedy, rejoice! In April 2020, Netflix dropped the hotly anticipated second season of Ricky Gervais' bleak and hilarious series, After Life. The show continues the journey of Tony, a painfully depressed and recently widowed man who is attempting to get his life in order despite his overwhelming desire to be a jerk to everyone with whom he comes in contact. Thankfully for his friends and coworkers, even though Tony is slow to change, he's beginning to come around in the second season to the idea that he'd be a lot happier if he was just a little bit nicer to everyone around him – emphasis on "a little bit."

One of the characters who returns from season 1 is Sandy (Mandeep Dhillon), a colleague of Tony's at the middling local newspaper where he works. At the beginning of the series, Tony is tasked with mentoring Sandy. This is a source of dark humor, at first, as Tony hates his job and his life. As the show progresses, however, the two form as much of a friendship as Tony will allow in his depressed state. It's one of the show's most affecting relationships, thanks in part to the warm performance by Dhillon.

If you're a fan of the show and wondering where else you've seen Mandeep Dhillon, we're here to help. While she did play a First Order Lieutenant in Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker, her part was tiny, and her costume overpowering. So, let's take a look at a few roles from which you might have actually recognized the British thespian.

Mandeep Dhillon hacked her way onto 24: Live Another Day

One of Dhillon's earliest roles was on the 2014 revival of the action thriller series 24: Live Another Day. The show was a one-off sequel to the main series, which ran for eight seasons on Fox. Kiefer Sutherland returned to play the part of Jack Bauer, who reunites with his former colleague, Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), after coming out of hiding following the events of the main series.

Chloe is involved with a hacktivist group in the United Kingdom called Open Cell. Dhillon plays Chell, one of the young hackers working with Chloe's renegade team. Although Chell is a minor character on the show, Dhillon provides some necessary warmth on an otherwise intense series, much as she does on After Life. Her friendship with Chloe helps strengthen the former government agent's ties to the group. It makes the moment when the entire cell of hacktivists, including Chell, are murdered by a terrorist one of the emotional highlights of the season.

Mandeep Dhillon was rescued by Dr. Who

Several years after her stint on 24, Dhillon joined another beloved, long-running TV series. This time, it was British sci-fi adventure, Dr. Who. Her role here was more substantial, although it only lasted for one episode. In the horror-themed installment"Knock Knock," the actress played Shireen, a friend of the 12th Doctor's (Peter Capaldi) companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie). The episode begins with the two friends recruiting three other pals to go in on renting a house that will work for their student budgets.

After an exhaustive search, the group finds exactly what they were looking for: A large, inexpensive, charming old home with more than enough space for all of them. The catch? It's haunted by the spirit of a young woman who was turned into a tree by her father. It's just a minor inconvenience to get so much space in the current housing market, though! Needless to say, the good Doctor shows up to sort the whole situation out for his young companion and her surviving friends.

Although Shireen makes it out alive, albeit probably traumatized after getting cocooned in a swarm of giant tree lice, the character never made another appearance on the show.

Mandeep Dhillon stole the show on The City and the City

Perhaps the juiciest role of Dhillon's career came courtesy of BBC sci-fi detective mini-series The City and the City, which is based on an acclaimed novel of the same name by China Miéville. The series is set in the twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma, which exist within one another, but whose residents are forbidden from visiting or even observing the other. When a woman with ties to both cities is found murdered, police must cross the forbidden divide to solve the case.

In the adaptation, Dhillon plays the sidekick to lead investigator Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey), but her character, Constable Lizbyet Corwi, is far from second fiddle to her superior. In a total contrast to serious and reserved Inspector Borlú, Corwi is brash, forceful, and swears like a sailor. Critics praised the chemistry between the two leads, and specifically Dhillon's performance. The Standard noted, "[S]he stands out as somehow simultaneously plucky and deadpan." Meanwhile, Decider called Dhillon the "Sleeper Star" of the series, adding, "We didn't understand half of what she was saying, but we loved Dhillon's spitfire presence as Constable Corwi."

With praise like that, it's safe to say we'll be seeing more of Mandeep Dhillon after her time with After Life