‘Animal Kingdom’ Newbie Emily Deschanel on Her Character Angela Facing Off With Smurf


After 12 seasons portraying übercerebral forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan on Fox’s hit procedural Bones, Emily Deschanel was looking for something different when she made her return to series TV. She definitely found it with her new recurring role on Season 4 of TNT’s crime-family drama Animal Kingdom.

Deschanel plays emotionally messy Angela, a recovering addict and newly released convict who comes calling on the unlawful Cody brood, led by matriarch Smurf (Ellen Barkin).

Below, Deschanel explains why Angela fits right in.

What is Angela’s relationship to the Codys?

Emily Deschanel: She was a close friend of Julia [deceased Cody sister and mother to Finn Cole‘s J], so she’s known the family for a long time. She sees them as an opportunity. They have all this money they got from doing bad stuff. She wants in on that.

Smurf is not happy to see Angela, which is evident by one of her trademark stone-cold stares. How was shooting those scenes with Barkin?

Oh, it’s intense! To not be liked by Smurf is very hard, but Ellen Barkin is one of my idols, so to be near her and watch her work has been a dream come true.

How do Cody son Pope (Shawn Hatosy) and J respond to her showing up?

Pope sees [his twin sister] Julia when Angela comes back [into his life], so she knows she can manipulate him. In her mind, she helped [Julia] raise J — even though her idea of raising him was probably him shooting her up and then watching cartoons together! So she’s very aunt-like. She’s looking out for him. I think that’s genuine. You can’t always trust everything she says. I have to make decisions, like what am I saying that’s truthful and what am I saying that’s not truthful?

When you look in the mirror as Angela, what do you see?

It’s like the most hideous outfit is the one that wins. I was trying to describe it to my husband [actor David Hornsby]. I said, “My character wears these hideous ripped jeans and T-shirts…” [Then] I was like, “Oh, that’s what I wear in real life!”

Animal Kingdom, Tuesdays, 9/8c, TNT