That Dottie Underwood is a real gas.
As Marvel’s Agent Carter closed its penultimate hour, the Soviet assassin carted a canister of the mysterious “Item 17” taken from Howard Stark’s toy trove into a movie house, which soon enough turned into one murderous matinee.
What’s next for Dottie and cohort Dr. Ivchenko, as the ABC freshman uncorks its finale Tuesday at 9/8c? TVLine spoke with busy, busy Bridget Regan about that, her similarly not-so-plain Jane role and more.
TVLINE | Before you called, I had just remembered that you were in John Wick, with Adrianne Palicki. So if you include last spring’s roll-out of the White Collar twist, you’ve had quite a year.
I don’t know what’s been going on with me playing villains. I don’t know if it’s a series of crazy coincidences or I’ve just been outrageously lucky, but all of these roles have been so dynamic and have had such great shifts and twists. It makes them so fun to play.
TVLINE | Well, let’s talk about that. Coming out of White Collar, which of these did you book first, Jane or Agent Carter?
Jane was first, and I knew nothing [about the Rose/Sin Rostro twist]. [Showrunner] Jennie [Snyder Urman] is amazing but incredibly tight-lipped, which makes it fun for the cast and crew because everybody has all these bets going of who is Sin Rostro, etcetera, etcetera. I was so focused on this torrid relationship that I have with my stepdaughter to be thinking about anything else! But I did know that this is a telenovela, so people are going to die, and I was worried that there would be a ticking clock on my character. Then I started to think that I worked for Sin Rostro and eventually he would come strolling in and we would get to meet him. Then it’s like, “No, it’s not a him, it’s a her. And it’s you.”
TVLINE | When you then joined Agent Carter and learned of Dottie’s true nature, you must have laughed at this trinity of duplicitous characters.
When I read that I was going to be kissing Hayley [Atwell], that’s when I laughed. I was like, “So, not only am I evil in both shows. I’m evil with lesbian tendencies.” That’s when I was like, “This is crazy.” But that [Dottie/Peggy] kiss was a very different kiss, obviously, than the ones that [Jane‘s] Rose and Luisa share.
TVLINE | Were you by chance on set when they were filming Dottie’s origin story, with the little girls at the school?
Yeah, there was no way I was going to miss that. It was such a gift to be able to see it played out in front of you, and it really helped me as an actor. It was also exciting to be there watching the girls work and seeing my scary teacher…. [The girls’ fight scene] was brutal.
TVLINE | Dottie’s pretty damaged, you’d say?
I’d say that the reason she survived is that she could follow orders and do so without hesitation. She is alive is because she has that killer instinct, that animal instinct, whereas you saw with her friend that she killed [as a girl], there’s probably not a lot of graduates of the Black Widow training. But that’s who she is. She’s incredibly focused and still, which I really enjoyed because she’s such an active character. In the finale, we see her wanting to carry through that objective that she got from Fenhoff (aka Dr. Ivchenko), to kill Peggy Carter. She failed the last time she was with Peggy. She wanted to prove to Peggy that she could get her — “I’ve been in your room. I stole your lipstick and I’m knocking you out now.” I mean she could have just…
TVLINE | …gone for the easy shiv.
Yeah, but she wanted to prove something to her because she’s competitive. I don’t think she’s ever seen a woman like Peggy, a woman in a position of power. That’s why she went into her room and that’s why she tried on “being Peggy” in the mirror. She’s very curious about her feelings for “Skinny Steve” when she holds up that photo. All of that is is very foreign to Dottie.
TVLINE | What Dottie did there in the theater with Item 17, was that just a test run for whatever she and Ivchenko have planned?
Yeah. There was that scene with Fenhoff and Dottie in the car, where he says, “Let’s try it out.” So the movie theater was to test the canister, and as we saw at the end of last week’s episode, it was completely brutal. That was a crazy day at the set — a theater full of amazing stunt performers ready to tear each other limb from limb!
TVLINE | Will we also find out what in particular is driving them?
We’re going to find out what the canisters are more specifically and really what Fenhoff is after in terms of the final execution of our plan, why we’re here, and why I’ve been infiltrating Peggy’s life and Howard Stark’s and the SSR. It all really comes to a head.
TVLINE | And most importantly: We get a Peggy/Dottie showdown?
I mean, come on — what sort of finale would it be if that didn’t happen? Am I right? Yes, that showdown has been brewing throughout the course of the season and it does come to fruition. Peggy is good, and that’s what surprises Dottie every time — and that’s why she likes her even more. It’s a game to her.
TVLINE | Who was more excited for that scene, you or Hayley?
Hayley’s done so much action and stunts this season. I had a great fight sequence with Enver [Gjokaj, who plays Sousa] and that whole sequence down the stairs…. But I was really excited to have a longer fight sequence. I’ve been doing some training with some stunt guys and it was great to put it into action.
TVLINE | OK, let’s talk about last week’s bananas stairwell sequence. Was any of that you?
Yeah. The really dangerous stuff they would not let me do. So the stuntwoman who did some of my other stuff this year — Alicia, who also works on S.H.I.E.LD. with Adrianne Palicki — did the serious stuff. But they put me up in a harness and I did the jump off, and then I did a big land, and then another jump off. But the aerial stuff of her going down, down, down was Alicia [in a harness], with three amazing riggers with her life in their hands.
TVLINE | What’s funny is the end effect was, speaking of Black Widow, almost spider-like.
Casey O’Neill, who is the [stunt] coordinator on the show, is a genius with that. It even started spidery the first time we saw Dottie [at the Griffith] in the hallway, the “I want that” scene. She jumped off the walls and it was just enough of a taste for all the fans out there to put it together and figure out who she is.
TVLINE | Do we know her real name?
We don’t. I created a whole backstory for myself about who she is and how she ended up in that program and all that. We’ve been calling her Dottie, but — and this is one of my favorite parts about the finale — we get to see her playing one of her other characters, which I adore. I was so eager to see this Black Widow do someone else because I think that is one of their skills, that they can imitate or infiltrate whomever and also see her play a character that’s sexual and glamorous.
TVLINE | Last night I was actually trying to do the math, like, “I guess Dottie theoretically could be Scarlett Johansson’s great-grandmother….”
I will tell you, that’s one of the first things I asked our writers, because I thought the same thing. But my doing this job was contingent on me changing my [red] hair to be blonde, because they didn’t want me to look like her. I asked that very same question and they said no. No relation!