USA Today spoke with Anna Torv about Mindhunter and its parallels with Fringe along with what it’s like being mistaken for Carrie Coon.

Anna Torv is one of the FBI’s most wanted — on TV, anyway. 

The Australian actress won fans playing whip-smart agent Olivia Dunham on J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi cult series Fringe, which Fox canceled after five seasons in 2013. Now she’s back as a similarly intuitive psychologist, Dr. Wendy Carr, in Netflix’s Mindhunter(now streaming), who assists detectives Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) in developing the FBI’s system for criminal profiling in the late 1970s. 

Torv, 38, chats with USA TODAY about Wendy’s Season 1 arc and her unlikely doppelgänger, Fargo actress Carrie Coon.

In the last couple episodes, we see how everyone reacts differently to Holden’s unscripted lines of questioning with serial killers. Wendy prefers a more methodical, less personalized approach. 

She wants to be transparent. You’ve got all these different people, from (Ed) Kemper to (Richard) Speck — these guys who are totally different in their outward presentation. How do we take away all this external stuff that’s not remotely similar and find the little things inside them that makes them psychopaths? You have to offer them all the same questions or go in with the same approach to see what those differences are. She wants this to be a scientific study and (says), “Please take this seriously.”

Midway through the season, we learn that she’s a closeted lesbian and feels she needs to live this double life, personally and professionally.

It was (1973) when homosexuality was taken off the list of mental disorders. It’s unbelievable that it was only just then. I don’t think shes a closet lesbian — among her friends, I don’t think she’s keeping any secret. But there’s a part of me that thinks even if she wasn’t a lesbian, she wouldn’t talk about who she is. She’s so completely focused when she’s at work and doesn’t have time for small talk. It exhausts her, quite frankly. 

One of my favorite shots is at the end of the fourth episode, when Holden, Bill and Wendy get in the elevator together after receiving funding. Standing in front of them, she’s really in charge. 

That’s one of the parts of the show that I love, in that it really is a thrilling moment. You’re so on board and so excited, and yet the excitement is so dry and cerebral, because they just got money to continue the study. The fact that it’s weaved in this way, you really are invested like these guys are. I loved that. I thought that was beautiful. 

Do you see any similarities between Wendy and Olivia, your character on Fringe?
 
Yeah, in that they’re two chicks working in a man’s world. Also, it’s me. I always find there’s an element of yourself and different little shades pulled out, depending on who you play. But it’s been nice, not to be the one racing around all the time and chasing all the leads. That’s been fun, to have this very specific function.
 
Have you always been interested in crime stories?
 
I haven’t, really. A few of my friends were so excited. They read the (Mindhunter) book and were like, ‘Oh, when is such and such (killer) coming in?” But that’s never been my focus. I feel like I’ve been really lucky, and for whatever reason, get cast as all these really strong women who buck stereotypes.
 
Carrie Coon recently changed her Twitter bio to say, “That’s not me on Mindhunter.”
 
I don’t have any social media, but a friend of mine sent me an article about it and I thought, “Oh, this is really funny.” She’s really fantastic. I remember watching a couple episodes of The Leftovers and thinking, “Huh, there’s actually something kind of familiar.” It was like a recognition, so that just makes me laugh. I feel bad for her.
 
You’ve also been mistaken for Cate Blanchett, who shares an alma mater with you: Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art.
 
Yeah, we both went to NIDA. She was quite a few years before me. But I remember I was 17 and had just moved to Sydney, and they were doing a production of The Seagull. Cate was playing the lead, but no one knew who she was at that point. When we came out, someone said, “You remind me of that girl in that play.” So that’s been happening for a really long time and, of course, I’m immensely flattered.
 
One Twitter user suggested that you, Cate and Carrie should play sisters someday.
 
I would say yes to that!

Credit: USA Today

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