This Australian actress won fans playing whip-smart agent Olivia Dunham on J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi cult series Fringe, which Fox cancelled after five seasons in 2013.
Now she’s back as a similarly intuitive psychologist, Dr Wendy Carr, in Netflix’s Mindhunter, 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.
Anna Torv, 38, chats about Wendy’s Season One arc and her unlikely doppelgänger, Fargo actress Carrie Coon.
In the last couple of episodes, we see how everyone reacts differently to Holden’s unscripted lines of questioning with serial killers. Wendy prefers a more methodical, less personalised 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.”
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 few 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! – USA Today/Tribune News Service/Patrick Ryan
Mindhunter is available on Netflix.