Good Wife's Emmy-Nominated Carrie Preston on Breaking (Indian) Bread With Kyle MacLachlan

Carrie Preston The Good Wife EmmyThe Good Wife‘s quirky-genius lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni is “not like the other kids — that’s for sure,” says her portrayer Carrie Preston, which is why the character is among the all-time favorites in her repertoire.

Add Thursday morning’s 2013 Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series to the mix, and Preston says the accolade is simply icing on the cake. “I feel really lucky I was trusted with this part, and to bring this very specific creature to life,” she explains. “It is a delight to get inside the mechanics of Elsbeth’s brain and body — and to see how she ticks — whenever they give me the opportunity.”

Not that it’s an easy job. Preston says she maps out ahead of time Elsbeth’s peculiar speaking cadence, her unexpected pauses and the way you can see the woman’s thought processes sometimes play out on her face. “I try to have some kind of blue print, so I know where this twist is gonna happen, where that turn is gonna happen, and then I show up on the set and just let that work I’ve already done settle in,” Preston says. “Elsbeth surprises people; I let her surprise me as well. And the other actors on the show are extraordinary and give me wonderful things to play off of, too. It starts with the writing, though, and I go from there.”

And while The Good Wife writing team certainly gave Preston a number of great moments during her Season 4 guest arc, Elsbeth’s lunch at an Indian restaurant opposite courtroom rival-turned-unexpected flirting partner Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan) ranks as her favorite. “There were so many layers going on during that scene,” Preston recalls with a chuckle. “To see Elsbeth in that situation with someone she’s attracted to, and she’s also being distracted by this incredible food in front of her, and yet she’s right on track with what business needs to be taken care of at that moment. It was really fun to have all of the obstacles to overcome and run right into. Working with Kyle was such a treat, too, because he jumped right on the same train as me, and we had a great ride.”

For all the character’s peculiarities, though, Preston argues that what defines Elsbeth is the way “she’s really fiercely, fiercely good at her job.” Her quirks, on the other hand, simply make her human.

“Usually on television in these lawyer roles, we sort of see a talking head,” Preston continues. “But what the writers have done on The Good Wife — not just with Elsbeth but with all the characters — is given them really specific traits.”

Preston adds that she considers the role a gift, and she’s very conscious of what she does with it. “I’ll say to the director, ‘Look, I’m gonna go for some things: Please let me know if it’s too much,’ because I always wanna make sure that Elsbeth is a real person. Even though I understand she’s supposed to be funny — and I’m brought on to the show to bring a bit of levity to the proceedings — I still wanna make sure that she’s a full human being. That’s where it’s fun and challenging as an actor: Making sure it comes from an organic place.”

Excited about Preston’s Emmy nomination? Hopeful she’ll be back for Season 5? Sound off in the comments!

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  1. Lauren says:

    One of the few nominations I’m happy about. Congrats to Carrie for a well deserved nomination!!

  2. Liz says:

    She does a great job on True Blood as well!

  3. sccates says:

    Love, love, love Carrie and Elsbeth. I want to see more of her on this my favorite show!

  4. L says:

    Love her on this show. I am wowed every time i see her on that show. She really deserves the win. Congrats Carrie!

  5. EJ says:

    She’s truly dazzling as Elsbeth. A well-deserved nomination.

  6. DW says:

    A very beautiful job. I hope she wins.

  7. liz says:

    A really well deserved (and surprising) nomination. She’s wicked good in the role. So happy for her.

  8. Britta Unfiltered says:

    The Mayor of Portland(ia) did a guest appearance on The Good Wife? How come he didn’t get nominated?

  9. Chris says:

    Love her character…I always am delighted when I see her name pop up in the guest credits. She is truly a chameleon of character actor. Elsbeth is my favorite recurring guest character on The Good Wife. Looking forward to seeing more of her in Season 5. Wish she would join Alicia & Cary’s new firm.

  10. snakeeyes says:

    she is a great actress. I love her character in person of interest too. She plays her character so convincingly. She really deserve this nomination.

  11. Leah says:

    This was the nomination I was most excited about. She is so good. I adore Elsbeth.

  12. Tee says:

    My favorite of many guest stars I’ve enjoyed on the Good Wife. I’m happy that she got nommed!

  13. Jamey says:

    Why hasn’t Colinda been nominated. I think she is even better than the “good wife” and has consistently been so since the show starts. I do like Elsbeth too,she’s quirky and brilliant.

  14. Josh says:

    Best Emmy nomination this year! Carrie is the best guest star ever to be on The Good Wife. She better be back for Season 5!

  15. Ellen Murphy says:

    Would love to see Carrie as a regular on The Good Wife” but wouldn’t want to see her spread too thin since she is awesome in True Lood as well. What a talented woman she is!!!