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Why John Wick's Wife Helen Looks So Familiar

At the beginning of John Wick, the titular character's wife, Helen, is already dead. She lives in the film as a memory, one John (Keanu Reeves) is determined to keep alive within himself. The movie's first scene features him falling from the door of an SUV, bleeding and barely able to push himself along, and the last thing he does before blacking out is watch on his phone a video of Helen, taken during a trip to the beach when they were happy together.

Most of what audiences learn about Helen Wick comes from hearing what John was willing to do for her. John left his life as an assassin behind before their marriage, completing the impossible task that Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) set for him in order to get out without strings attached. When her death –– from a terminal illness, not anything assassin-related –– was imminent, Helen arranged for John to be delivered a puppy as a way to help him deal with his grief and find something else to love. Tarasov's son Iosef (Alfie Allen) and his thugs end up killing that puppy after they break into John's home and steal his car. 

It's always a little jarring as a viewer when an actor they think they've seen before appears only in a photo, a video, or a brief flashback, or as an unseen voice. The recognition — "I know this person!" – feels at odds with the tiny part they're playing and makes you doubt that first instinct. But in the case of Helen Wick, you're probably right. You really do know who Bridget Moynahan is, though you might not have seen her recently if you don't watch a lot of CBS. 

Here's why Helen from John Wick looks so familiar.

Bridget Moynahan was a jilted wife on Sex and the City

After entering the public eye thanks to her work as a model, Moynahan's first big acting role came on the second season of HBO's Sex and the City. She played Natasha, a young woman that Mr. Big (Chris Noth) meets in Paris during one of the off periods of his on-again-off-again relationship with series protagonist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Much to Carrie's dismay, Big not only chooses Natasha instead of her, but he also goes ahead and marries the new woman — something he hadn't yet seemed to consider in his relationship with Carrie.

But after their marriage, Big admits to Carrie that he made a mistake, and the pair begin to have an affair — with him cheating on Natasha, and Carrie cheating on her boyfriend Aidan (John Corbett). Eventually, Natasha discovers them, chasing after Carrie and breaking her tooth in the process. The event leads to Carrie calling off the affair, but the damage has already been done to Big and Natasha's marriage. The pair ultimately get divorced, ending Moynahan's role on the show.

Bridget Moynahan played a cyber-shrink in I, Robot

Moynahan's biggest blockbuster role came opposite Will Smith in the 2004 science-fiction detective blockbuster I, Robot. She portrayed Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist (that's Isaac Asimov's term, so if you've got a problem with it, take it up with him) who helps robot-hating detective Del Spooner (Smith) investigate a death that Spooner believes was caused by a robot. Calvin believes that the Three Laws of Robotics would prevent this, since the first of these states that "a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

Unfortunately for her theory, robots repeatedly attack the pair as they investigate. They eventually uncover a much larger conspiracy: a plot by a rogue central computer who goes by the acronym VIKI to ensure humanity's future survival by culling some of its members now. Calvin's merciful sparing of the robot suspect Sonny (Alan Tudyk) comes back to save them in the finale.

Only a few elements of the film I, Robot are based on Asimov's collection of short stories of the same name, but Calvin's role is one of them. The character appeared in much of Asimov's robot-themed fiction, serving as chief robopsychologist at the manufacturing company U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc., and was often portrayed as a brilliant if coldly logical scientist.

Blue Bloods fans know Bridget Moynahan as Erin Reagan

Lately, the best place to see Moynahan has been on the CBS procedural drama Blue Bloods, where she plays Erin, the only daughter of New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck). While her brothers Danny (Donny Wahlberg), Jamie (Will Estes), and the deceased Joe followed their father into the family business of municipal policing, Erin Reagan took the Jack McCoy rather than the Lennie Briscoe route, becoming a New York County Assistant District Attorney.

Any character on a show that's been running for 11 seasons will have seen her fair share of ups and downs, and Erin is no different. She's had a variety of love interests since divorcing her husband Jack Boyle (Peter Hermann) — including multiple people who either were or would become the District Attorney, her boss, which caused her to turn them down. She's watched her daughter Nicky (Sami Gayle) grow up. Multiple times, she's had to be saved from being held at gunpoint by members of her family, including a time where a defendant shot her while in the courthouse.

Blue Bloods' busy, network-drama schedule –– there have been more than 220 episodes –– has kept Moynahan busy for the better part of a decade, with her appearing in only a handful of other film roles during that time. (These include Battle: Los Angeles, Midnight Sun, Crown Vic, and two of the three John Wick movies that have been released thus far.) Perhaps that made a gig as John Wick's wife especially appealing — something small, that wouldn't require much of a time commitment on her end, that would help keep the memory alive.