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We imagine doing a show like The Walking Dead is a tough gig. After all, you spend most of your time covered in dirt and fake blood while filming in the warmer Atlanta weather… it’s probably not for actors who enjoy spending most of their time in actual clean clothes, to say the least.

It also makes the actors on that show hard to spot when they land… well, basically any other role. Take one of our favourite TWD graduates, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), for instance. When her new series Whiskey Cavalier (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV) kicks off this week she’s almost unrecognizable as CIA agent Frankie Trowbridge.

“She gets to shower and she gets to brush her hair sometimes,” Cohan told a few of us on stage after the show paneled at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in California recently. “It’s interesting because I’m also not a girly girl on my time off. It’s sort of like, ‘Powder, why do we need to get powder?’ But it’s fine, because a lot of the ways that Frankie actually uses makeup and wardrobe is a defence mechanism. She uses her femininity and the extent of her powers as a woman and as a badass to get the mission accomplished.”

Let’s back up a second and put some context around this: Whiskey Cavalier revolves around a heartbroken, but highly effective FBI agent named Will Chase (played by Scandal’s Scott Foley) whose mission is interrupted by Cohan’s Frankie when it turns out they’re after the same guy. The two go on to form an uneasy partnership full of bumps, cool stunts and lots of comedy, which is definitely a different tone from what Cohan is used to playing. It makes sense, considering she was in hot demand last pilot season following her fan-favourite turn on TWD. Cohan could have probably played anything she wanted.

 

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Tough. But sensitive. @whiskeycavalierabc

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“I do feel like I had the pick of the litter, and I got to go into territory that was fun with a light, fun, one-hour show that also still has a lot of sentiment,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do comedy for so long and this was the perfect segue because I love action. The character challenges me hugely because she doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t care. She just doesn’t understand why everybody doesn’t operate more like her and I’m not like that. I’m concerned about how I’m going to affect someone with what I do. There’s a lot of freedom in playing someone like this.”

The fact that the show shoots in Prague was another huge consideration for Cohan, who moved to the England from the US with her family when she was a teenager. Being able to film a little bit closer to home meant she was able to go back for the first time in years to visit, while also doing cool things like shooting a speedboat chase on the River Thames with cameras on cranes shooting her overhead.

 

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This is happening..! #WellHelloWhiskey #Officialstarttomorrow @whiskeycavalierabc

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“There’s tons of physicality. I think I’d be lost without that—it’s so grounding,” she added before revealing that her onscreen partnership with Foley was another no-brainer in taking the role. “What becomes undeniable is the connection those two characters have. There’s a symbiosis in their physicality. So even when they butt heads there’s a push and pull in the conversations or the emotional relationship. It’s just obvious and that’s what will make people want to see where these partners go in their adventures together.”

Hey, she had us at showering and brushing her hair, but we’re in. After all, it’s not every day you get to see your favourite Scandal star and your favourite Walking Dead star team up for a show that completely turns the spy genre on its head.

 

Whiskey Cavalier debuts Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.