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Why Governor Perry From Yellowstone Looks So Familiar

Paramount Networks' western drama "Yellowstone" has become a ratings blockbuster and its fans will be excited to know that the show has been renewed for a 5th season. The show follows the Duttons, led by patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), as they fight (by fair means and foul) to defend the family ranch against encroachment from all sides by land developers, a native reservation, and the National Parks Service. After four seasons, "Yellowstone" has finally broken its major awards drought with the large ensemble cast, including Costner, Kelly Reilly, and Luke Grimes, receiving a Screen Actors Guild nomination in the outstanding performance by an ensemble drama series category.

Throughout its four-season run, "Yellowstone" viewers have been introduced to an array of Dutton family friends and foes. One character who seems to be a friend (or at least ally) of the Duttons is the cool, collected, and somewhat enigmatic governor of Montana, Lynelle Perry, played by Wendy Moniz. She shares some core political and ideological beliefs with John (although they also engage in some healthy differences of opinion), and has aided his son Jamie's political aspirations. Lynelle and John have developed a semi-romantic friendship that has continuously teased viewers with an "are they/aren't they?" curiosity over the future of the relationship. Things didn't change much by the end of Season 4 when Gov. Perry informs John that she's stepping down to run for Senate. Fans will have to wait until Season 5 to find out whether Perry remains within the Dutton orbit or exits the show completely.

If you think you've seen Wendy Moniz before, here are the major highlights from her prolific TV career before she landed the role of Gov. Lynelle Perry in "Yellowstone."

Wendy Moniz made her TV debut on Guiding Light

Wendy Moniz's big break came in 1994 when she was cast in the CBS daytime soap opera "Guiding Light" which, with a 72-year run, is the longest-running soap opera in the history of the world (via the Guinness Book of World Records). Moniz appeared in "Guiding Light" from 1994 to 1999 as Dinah Marler, a role which earned her two Soap Opera Digest Award nominations (via IMDb). It was on the set of "Guiding Light" that Moniz met her future husband and fellow actor Frank Grillo. 

Moniz soon made the move from daytime soap to primetime drama in 2000 when she was cast in the CBS cop series "Nash Bridges." The show followed the adventures of the titular elite detective, played by Don Johnson, as he cruised around the streets of San Francisco solving crimes and engaging in romantic escapades. Moniz played Inspector Rachel McCabe in Season 6 of "Nash Bridges," originally working undercover for Internal Affairs. Inspector McCabe of course fell in love with the roguish Nash and saved him from getting framed by corrupt police officials.

Moniz would soon go on to take weightier roles in more serious drama series.

Wendy Moniz portrayed Lulu Archer in The Guardian

Before he charmed TV audiences as a bogus psychic turned police consultant in "The Mentalist," Simon Baker debuted on U.S. TV in "The Guardian," which ran on CBS from 2001 to 2004. Baker played hotshot young lawyer Nick Fallin, who gets charged on a drug offense and is sentenced to community service as a result. The series follows Fallin as he serves his sentence as a part-time child advocate for the state while simultaneously working at his father's high-end law firm. 

Wendy Moniz played lawyer Louisa "Lulu" Archer in all three seasons of "The Guardian," and her relationship with Fallin was a core component of the show. Their complex and often downbeat romance was a far cry from formulaic prime time network fare. Lulu Archer entered the show as Fallin's boss at his father's law firm. The couple consistently failed to fully commit and Archer married another man while Fallin, routinely coping with relapses, remained obsessed with her. In the final season of "The Guardian," Lulu informs Fallin that the child they are expecting has Down's syndrome, and the couple ultimately separates.

Wendy Moniz faced off against Glenn Close in Damages

Wendy Moniz's next major project was the FX legal drama "Damages." The show centers around successful and ruthless litigation attorney Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) as she mentors her young protege Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), a recent law school graduate. Moniz joined an all-star cast that also included Ted Danson, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Timothy Olyphant, Lily Tomlin, Martin Short, and John Goodman. "Damages" was highly acclaimed by critics, receiving 16 nominations and four wins at the Primetime Emmys (via IMDb).

Moniz plays art gallery owner Jill Burnham, who embarks on an ill-fated romantic relationship with Patty Hewes' 17-year-old son Michael (Zachary Booth) while he's working at her gallery. It's a relationship that has disastrous and tragic consequences for Jill when she experiences the wrath of Patty. When she learns about her son's relationship, Patty kicks Michael out and he moves in with Jill. When Patty later discovers that Jill is pregnant with her son's child, she at first pays Jill off to leave Michael, then has her arrested for statutory rape. Jill is imprisoned, and when her child is born, Michael is nowhere to be found, so Patty takes custody.

House of Cards features Moniz as a widow targeted by Stamper

Netflix's "House of Cards" drew audiences to the political machinations of Rep. Francis "Frank" Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) with all the fascination of a pit of vipers. For six seasons, the show introduced viewers to a parade of politicians, lobbyists, schemers, manipulators, and traitors, as well as to the hapless victims of the Underwoods' ambitions. One central figure in the Underwood camp was Frank's always-faithful White House Chief of Staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), and in Season 4, Stamper's rather unsavory attentions focused on the widow Laura Moretti, played by Wendy Moniz.

When Frank Underwood is shot by a journalist in Season 4 of "House of Cards," his survival depends upon a kidney donation. The problem is, there's somebody above him on the donor list — Anthony Moretti. Stamper sees to it that Moretti is bumped from the top of the list in favor of Underwood, and Moretti subsequently dies. Stamper then develops a creepy obsession with the widow Moretti, and begins to woo her. Given Stamper's past behavior on the show, viewers would have been right to worry for Laura's safety. But in Season 5, when Stamper confesses to his part in her husband's death, Laura turns the tables and shocks him with the revelation that she knew all along, declaring, "I'm f***ing you because I hate you!"

Wendy Moniz plays ADA Frasier in Law & Order: Organized Crime

Audiences will recognize Wendy Moniz most recently for her role in "Law and Order: Organized Crime," the latest addition to NBC's blockbusting crime franchise. In the seventh "Law & Order" spinoff series, Christopher Meloni reprises his "Law & Order: SVU" role of Detective Elliot Stabler, who decides to return to duty at the NYPD following the murder of his wife. First airing in 2021, the show follows Stabler and his colleagues in the Organized Crime Task Force as they seek to hunt down and incarcerate members of New York's violent criminal underworld.  

Moniz joined the cast of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" in the 6th episode of Season 1, titled "I Got This Rat." Moniz plays Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Anne Frasier, who's assigned to the Organized Crime Control Bureau after ADA Delgado's departure. Frasier prosecuted the Bureau's case against Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) and his family, and in Season 2, she assists Stabler's team in their case against Jon Kosta (Michael Raymond-James) and his crime syndicate. 

A third season of "Organized Crime" has yet to be announced, so it remains to be seen whether Moniz will continue in her role as ADA Frasier.