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Why Hillary From Impeachment: American Crime Story Looks So Familiar

The "American Crime Story" family got a little bit bigger this year, returning viewers to the magical world of the 1990s. Audiences can once again metaphorically hold the decade to their proverbial ears and hear the echoing roar of Ford Bronco engines, the promise that Pogs are fun for some reason, and the gentle retching of young Ecto Cooler drinkers across these United States.

This time around, the Clinton impeachment is getting the spotlight on the anthology series. All of the familiar faces are in play, albeit with occasionally bonkers prosthetics glued all over them, and in a crowded field, some of the heaviest dramatic lifting goes to Hillary Clinton, a name which brings an onslaught of passionate opinions when uttered like some sort of political Candyman.

Hillary Clinton is played on the series by Edie Falco. A fair amount of TV magic goes into transforming Falco — not at the same level as Clive Owen's Bill Clinton, but still — so you'd be forgiven for not recognizing her right off the bat. Here's a quick primer to help jog your memory if you're wondering where you've seen her before.

Edie Falco cut her teeth on Sweet Lorraine

Every career starts somewhere, but it's not always an easy moment to pinpoint. Luckily, in the case of most recognizable actors, you can take a long stroll to the bottom of their listed credits and find the first time they graced the screen. In Edie Falco's case, it was in an obscure 1987 slice-of-life comedy called "Sweet Lorraine." The film tells the story of a past-its-prime hotel in the Catskills as it stretches its last legs.

Helmed by first-time director Steve Gomer, "Sweet Lorraine" is one of those movies that's best remembered as early work for future celebrities, if it's remembered at all. Alongside Edie Falco, who plays Karen in the picture, there's also an early days performance by Giancarlo Esposito, who worked on the film in between guest shots on "Miami Vice" and "Spenser: For Hire." It's not an easy movie to find, even in the age of a thousand streaming services, but tracking it down will get you a look at one of TV's biggest stars before she found consistent success.

Edie Falco became a household name with The Sopranos

Around the turn of the century, television programming experienced a renaissance, with premium cable networks seemingly realizing as one that their parents had gone to bed and that they could show blood and guts and use no-thank-you words. At the forefront of this artistic movement was "The Sopranos," a series which, to quote one user review on Rotten Tomatoes, was "pretty good."

A handful of remarkable performers found breakout success thanks to the HBO series, and arguably nobody got quite the same launchpad as Edie Falco. Her work as Carmella Soprano, the long-suffering wife of Tony, who worked in waste management, pushed her into the public eye, earning her a pair of Golden Globes, three Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress, and the same number of SAG awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor. At the end of "The Sopranos'" 86 episode run, Falco capitalized on her remarkable success, seamlessly transitioning to another critically acclaimed series.

Edie Falco kept that momentum with seven seasons of Nurse Jackie

"The Sopranos" ended its run in 2007, and by 2009, Edie Falco was back on TV in a starring role. This time around, she went to the second deepest well of reliable television drama outside of the factory where they make Law as well as Order: The American medical system.

Falco played the titular Jackie on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," a healthcare professional with a loose grasp of professional ethics and a flirty affection for prescription pills. Once again, audiences and critics were entranced by Falco's performance, and a bevy of awards and nominations followed, as well as requisite outraged statements from associations of nurses who were shocked, sincerely shocked, to learn that a pretend member of their profession was doing pretend badness.

Fun fact: "Nurse Jackie" became a watershed moment for the reconsideration of award nomination categories that continues to this day. When Falco won an Emmy for her work on the "comedy," she took to the mic to describe herself as "dumbfounded by the events of the evening," stating that the idea that she would be nominated for a comedy performance was funnier than anything that happened on the show.