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Why Sister Alice From Perry Mason Looks So Familiar

Long before Law and Order and the modern day glut of procedural dramas, Perry Mason was one of the first lawyer shows — and it was massively successful for CBS. From 1957-1966, Raymond Burr's firm and cunning portrayal of Perry Mason made him a household name.

Now, over 50 years later, HBO's new Perry Mason miniseries starring Matthew Rhys is bringing a 1930s period sensibility to the character, and showing us how he became the famous lawyer an entire generation watched on TV. With new stories come new characters, and one of the key players looks to be Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany), leader of the Radiant Assembly of God.

Historically, if not aesthetically, Sister Alice is meant to evoke the very real "Sister" Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church and pioneer of using the then-modern convention of radio to draw new sheep to her flock. 

The reason you recognize Sister Alice doesn't have anything to do with the Protestant evangelist who inspired her character. More likely, you recognize Maslany herself — arguably one of the best television actresses of the decade.

Tatiana Maslany plays literally every character on Orphan Black

The first stop on the Tatiana Maslany tour has to be Orphan Black – and not just because the series' fans, The Clone Club, remain as enamored with Maslany's performance now as they were when the show completed in 2017.

Orphan Black begins as the story of a down-on-her-luck single mother, Sarah Manning (Maslany), who witnesses the suicide of a stranger, Beth Childs (also Maslany), who turns out to be Sarah's clone. Over the course of five seasons, Sarah falls down an unbelievably complex rabbit hole of scientific conspiracies, military cover-ups, and religious cults in an effort to protect her family and understand her place in the world. Also, during those five seasons, Maslany plays about a million different clone versions of herself. It's a performance for the ages that has to be seen to be believed.

Maslany plays Beth Childs, a cop who Sarah briefly attempts to impersonate. She also plays Alison Hendrix, a suburban housewife with a surprising affinity for guns and slinging drugs. She also plays Cosima Niehaus, a queer hacker who seems to be dying of a mysterious genetic disorder. She also plays Helena, a Ukrainian acolyte of a religious cult who also happens to be a trained assassin. She also plays Rachel Duncan, the CEO of the Dyad Institute, an amoral scientific organization that is responsible, in part, for the entire clone program. And don't forget Krystal Goderitch — she's a beautician.

You get the picture, and that only scratches the surface. Suffice to say, you have seen her face styled many different ways on Orphan Black alone.

Malsany destroys in Destroyer

Way back in 2002, Nicole Kidman donned a nose prosthesis to play Virginia Woolf in The Hours. The following year, the Academy awarded her Best Actress in a Drama for that performance.

In 2018, Kidman starred in Karyn Kusama's dark, gritty police drama, Destroyer. As with her portrayal of Woolf in The Hours, Kidman's appearance as LAPD detective, Erin Bell garnered her a lot of attention. Bell's appearance and Kidman's performance got so much attention that it's easy to forget that Tatiana Maslany was also in Destroyer. In the film, Maslany plays Petra, the girlfriend of Silas (Toby Kebbell), a criminal Bell is tracking. In Bell's past, she was an undercover officer who risked her career by participating in a bank heist. She lost her lover, Chris (Sebastian Stan) who was murdered by Silas.

Bell and Petra are obviously on opposite sides of Silas, and the two wind up in a brutal battle which desperately injures both women. Bell abducts Petra, but ultimately dies from the wounds sustained during their fight.

Tatiana Maslany helped Jake Gyllenhaal get Stronger

On the more uplifting side, Maslany also co-stars with Jake Gyllenhaal in David Gordon Green's 2017 biographical drama, Stronger. Stronger is based on the Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter memoir of the same name, and is a story centered around the life of one man, Bauman (Gyllenhaal) after the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Maslany plays Erin Hurley, an ex-girlfriend of Jeff Bauman's who is planning to run in the Boston Marathon. At a bar one night, shortly before the marathon, Bauman helps to raise money for Erin's run. On the day of the marathon, however, Bauman winds up standing right next to where a bomb is set off, resulting in both his legs becoming so damaged they must be amputated.

Much of Stronger focuses on the complex relationship between Bauman and Hurley as they navigate falling in love with each other again in the midst of a media circus. While much of the film focuses on PTSD and addiction, Stronger is really about Bauman's ability to rise up from his circumstances — with Hurley's help.