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Why Lagertha From Vikings Looks So Familiar

Blue-eyed Aussie Travis Fimmel (Warcraft) may have been the breakout star of the History Channel's wildly successful maiden series, but his in-show ex-wife isn't too far behind him by now. Katheryn Winnick has been getting higher levels of praise with every passing season of Vikings, and her portrayal of legendary shieldmaiden Lagertha in the medieval saga has finally opened up new doors for the Canadian—she has third billing below Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the upcoming blockbuster adaptation of Steven King's The Dark Tower series. However, while Michael Hirst's show did give Winnick a platform to stardom, Vikings is far from her first rodeo. In fact, Vikings is far from the first time she has adopted a foreign accent for a role, something she has done (with varying degrees of success) on several occasions in the past. From TV bounty hunters to big-screen prostitutes, Winnick has been around the block more times than you'd think.

​PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (1999)

Winnick was handed her screen debut as the '90s drew to a close, cast as sorority girl Suzie in Canadian paranormal drama PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal. The show was fronted by fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd, with the former Ghostbuster opening the show with a monologue that claimed the events that were about to unfold were based on files obtained from the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research, and closing it by urging viewers everywhere to take paranormal activity seriously. The truth was that the series was entirely scripted, but that didn't stop the Council for Media Integrity selecting Aykroyd for its Snuffed Candle award for "encouraging credulity, presenting pseudoscience as genuine, and contributing to the public's lack of understanding of the methods of scientific inquiry." Winnick appeared in the Season 4 episode "Sacrifices" as a member of Psi Beta Sigma.

​Student Bodies (1999-2000)

Despite being dubbed a second-rate Canadian rip-off of Saved By The Bell by a number of critics at the time, high school comedy Student Bodies was a big hit north of the border. Winnick joined the cast toward the end of the show's three-season life span, with her arrival stirring things up at Thomas A. Edison High, where protagonist Cody Anthony Miller (Jamie Elman) ruled the roost. As Cody was the cartoonist of the high school newspaper (a job the cool kids nowadays probably wouldn't touch with a 10-foot selfie stick), the weekly stories were told through his animations spliced in with real footage of the actors, bringing an unmistakable '90s vibe to proceedings. Student Bodies might have been getting reruns right now had Fox cast future Vikings star Winnick in a larger role, though she was brought into the fold to play Cody's "transition" girlfriend Holly Benson.

​Law and Order (2002, 2008, 2009)

Winnick has a trio of Law and Order appearances on her resume and can even boast that she appeared in the very first season of decade-spanning procedural Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She played the minor part of young Karyn Barrett in "Seizure," an episode about the hunt for a depraved copycat serial killer targeting women. She would return to Criminal Intent in 2009 as Carrie Conlon in "Faithfully," a steamy episode that takes investigators into the unexpectedly sordid world of a priest suspected of murdering a celebrity doctor. Between those two appearances, she showed up in the 2008 Law and Order episode "Excalibur." In it, Winnick's character, Sarah Shipley, (a French literature major at NYU with an unapologetic sense of fashion) gets hauled in for questioning after she poses for nude pictures taken by a serial killer.

​CSI (2004, 2005, 2009)

Winnick is also a regular guest star in the CSI franchise, nabbing a part in CSI: Miami back when the long-running show was only in its second season. She appeared as Nicole Harjo in the episode "Rap Sheet," though the bulk of the part was playing dead—she gets found impaled on a tree after being flung from a crashed car. The following year she was offered a bigger spot on CSI: NY, that of martial arts expert and ruthless businesswoman Lisa Kay. In the episode "Corporate Warriors," Winnick's character is approached by the CSI team about the decapitation of a co-worker in Central Park. She completed a CSI treble in 2009 when she popped up as Maureen Martin in "One to Go" playing the kidnapped wife of a murdered man. She spent the majority of her single CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode locked up and fearing for her life.

​Trump Unauthorized (2005)

Way back when the idea of her husband becoming president would have been laughed at, Donald Trump's first wife Ivana was portrayed by none other than Winnick in a TV movie named Trump Unauthorized. The film went largely unnoticed in the larger film world and those critics who did bother to review it saw nothing to write home about, with Variety saying it was "fun in a campy way ... but it won't inspire many to say, 'You're TiVo-ed!'" The same review pulled Winnick up on her accent, claiming it sounded closer to something from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show than it did Czech-born Ivana Trump. The Donald himself gave his approval, however, saying that "Having a two-hour movie on network television while you're still living is sort of wild, you're supposed to be gone for that to happen."

​Failure to Launch (2006)

After earning her stripes in the world of procedural drama, Winnick took a supporting part in 2006 romantic comedy Failure to Launch, a film about a man in his mid-30s (Matthew McConaughey, before people took him seriously) who refuses to leave the comfort of his mother's home until he meets a woman (Sarah Jessica Parker, back when she could pull a crowd) willing to push him. Her experience on set left Winnick wanting to front a similar movie herself, telling reporters during the press tour that she would "love to do a romantic comedy, 100 percent. You know, they're fun. Get me a good co-star, someone cute." The ironically titled Failure to Launch ended up a critical dud, only managing a measly 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic wrote that "as its title inadvertently suggests, this romantic comedy never gets off the ground."

​Killers (2010)

Winnick got to live out the fantasy of every person who bought a ticket to see 2010 hitman-and-wife rom-com Killers when she kicked leading man Ashton Kutcher through a glass door. The former Punk'd presenter teamed up with Katherine Heigl (this was before her on-set antics made her a Hollywood pariah) with the duo leading a film that should be watched "only when your brain is switched to the off position," according to Empire, who mocked the movie for its "cringeworthy opening and ludicrous (even by the standards of the genre) ending." Spoiler alert: they have a baby and live happily ever after as assassins. Winnick (who played Kutcher's secretary, Vivian) gets a few forgettable scenes, but she got to show off her action chops during the one in which she tries to take out her boss for the $20 million bounty on his head.

​Love and Other Drugs (2010)

After a run of critically despised rom-coms, Winnick was taking a risk signing on to play "Thai-curious" Lisa in 2010's Love and Other Drugs. The blonde bombshell had to make out with Christina Fandino in front of an awestruck Jake Gyllenhaal in one scene, just one of the reasons that the film was suitable for both male and female audiences according to the actress. "This movie is definitely for men and women," Winnick told reporters at AFI Fest. "Not only do you have that sexiness throughout the movie, but also it's a female character that girls can aspire to be and really get influenced [by]." Despite her best efforts to promote the Anne Hathaway-led flick, Love and Other Drugs ended up a middling film, hailed as "refreshingly adult" but failing to link plot elements coherently.

​Bones (2010-2011)

When Winnick met with Bones producers about the "controversial" recurring role of Hannah Burley–a journalist that FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) rescues from a terrorist situation in Afghanistan–they warned her that fans might take a disliking to her for coming between Booth and Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Despite the risk of backlash, Winnick signed on to play Burley. Her character began a relationship with Booth, but the Bureau man ultimately ruined it by being too forward, offering Hannah a key to his apartment and drunkenly buying her an engagement ring after only having known her for five minutes. Things come to a head in Season 6 episode "The Daredevil in the Mold" when Booth takes his new love to the park and pops the question, leaving himself open to a painful rejection from from Hannah, who tells him that "she's not the marrying type." Ouch. Booth breaks it off with Hannah and throws the ring in the river.

​Stand Up Guys (2012)

Chicago Reader's Drew Hunt called 2012 crime caper Stand Up Guys a mashup of Grumpy Old Men, The Hangover, and Goodfellas—two decent films and one brilliant one that do not complement each other when mixed as haphazardly as they are here. His write-up highlighted the "thematic inconsistencies" of Fisher Stevens' film, a theme that many of his fellow critics picked up on in their reviews, which collectively amounted to a Tomatometer score of 37 percent. Winnick once again showed her willingness to go back to her Ukrainian roots and adopt an accent, coming aboard as a Belarusian brothel worker named Oxana who attempts to take ex-con Val (Al Pacino) to bed. "I really wanted to work with Al Pacino," Winnick said shortly before the movie was released. "I'm a huge fan and also love Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. I wanted to share the screen with them and was excited just to be in the same room as them."

​The Art of the Steal (2013)

Winnick returned to her home country to work on 2013's The Art of the Steal, an ensemble comedy led by Kurt Russell featuring Terence Stamp, Matt Dillon, and Winnick's fellow Canadian Jay Baruchel. Russell leads the line as Crunch Calhoun, an art thief who picks up work as a motorcycle stuntman after his release from a seven-year stretch. Critics accused the film of borrowing heavily from both the work of Guy Ritchie and Steven Soderbergh, whose Oceans films make this movie seem like it was made for TV. Winnick joined the project as Russell's girlfriend Lola (another Eastern European, this time hailing from Winnick's native Ukraine) back when the project was still known as The Black Marks, though when the flick eventually hit screens under a different title and the first reviews started rolling in, she probably wished she had passed. Her role was described as "perfunctory" by Variety, which criticized the movie for a lack of female presence and declared the in-credit outtakes funnier than the film itself.

​Person of Interest (2015)

The Jonah Nolan and J.J. Abrams sci-fi series Person of Interest ran for five seasons on CBS before stiff competition from network running mate Elementary led to it getting axed. The show had its fair share of guest stars in that time, including Ken Leung (who played Miles Straume for Abrams in Lost) and Steven Ogg (who would later rejoin Nolan for Westworld), though neither of their contributions were quite as memorable as Winnick's. The Vikings star was asked to bring the same badass flare she displays weekly in the medieval drama to Person of Interest Season 4 episode "Skip," in which she plays a relentless bounty hunter named Frankie Wells. The combat-trained actress (who got her first black belt in karate when she was just 13) once again got to show off her martial arts skills as she hunts down her brother's murderer.