Top Of The Lake

Everyone Loves Lucy Lawless and Here’s Why…

Who doesn’t love Lucy Lawless? This gorgeous New Zealand-born actress with a sunny (but fierce) personality is a pop culture icon, and she can steal any show in only a few fleeting moments on screen, as she proves in TOP OF THE LAKE; she’s got the charisma to wrap the audience around her little finger in seconds. And while she’s famous for playing Xena, she’s a multidimensional performer with some interests that may surprise you. Read on for some of our favorite Lucy Lawless moments — on and off screen.

1. Diane Lewis, Parks & Recreation
We’re so happy to see Lucy getting a chance to flex her humor muscles on this cult favorite. She’s hilarious as a citizen and single mom who just wants to get a pothole in front of her house filled…and ends up getting sucked into Ron Swanson’s sphere. As you’d expect from Lucy Lawless, she’s firmly in charge, and that’s what makes her character all the more charming. A fresh blend of assertive, funny, and just a bit down-home sweet makes Diane jump off the screen on a show with an already fantastic cast.

2. Lucretia, Spartacus
As Lucretia in this blood-soaked fictionalization of life in Ancient Rome, Lucy Lawless plays a merciless, scheming, and emotionally complex character. She’s not afraid to engage in acts of tremendous evil, but she has a strangely tender side, too, and it makes for a strange and eerie balance; Lucretia is unpredictable and frightening, played to chilling effect by Lucy at her best.

3. Sergeant Marybeth Duffy, The L Word
Thanks to the sexually ambiguous (or not so ambiguous, depending on who you ask!) relationship between Xena and Gabrielle on Xena, Lawless has found herself a bit of a gay icon, and she’s embraced the role with relish. She appeared in several episodes of The L Word as a police investigator who takes charge, takes names, and gets on with the investigation, in a role that’s become a bit of a recurring theme for her. We like Lucy as assertive policewoman! (Pssst…you might want to give her her own show, eh?)

4. Lucretia, Spartacus: Blood and Sand (Broadway, 1997)
Although it’s never gained the cult following of the eternally watchable Xena: Warrior Princess, this TV series (a.k.a. Spartacus: War of the Damned) did earn Lawless a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television and a Golden Nymph nomination for Outstanding Actress – Drama Series at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival.

5. Caroline Platt, TOP OF THE LAKE
Lucy Lawless humbly Tweeted that viewers “may not recognize [her]” in her role as Caroline Platt, but we beg to disagree. Remember what we said about Lawless stealing the show wherever she goes? While her time on screen may be brief, this quiet, subdued, but determined woman wants to get to the bottom of something that’s been troubling her, and she knows just who to turn to for help. She might not have the flash and outsized personality many of us associate with Lawless roles, but don’t mistake that for thinking Caroline Platt is weak.

6. D’Anna Biers (Number Three), Battlestar Galactica
Everyone loves a Cylon. In this emotionally complex role, Lucy balanced familiar territory (fierce convictions, determination, and a bit of a bad girl) with new ground; Number Three was cold, calculating, and two-faced in her interactions with the world, just like the rest of her Cylon compatriots. The creep factor was high with D’Anna Biers, as was the tragedy; Number Three’s ultimate fate was grim, but, in an odd sort of way, also redeeming.

7. Herself, The Simpsons
You know you’ve made it big when you appear on a Simpsons episode. Lucy Lawless appeared as herself in the “Desperately Seeking Xena” segment on “Treehouse of Horror X,” in a parody of both Xena and herself. Lawless’ sense of humor had a chance to shine in the segment, as did her superpowers as an actress who’s grown far beyond her Xena roots.

8. Punk Rock Girl, Spider-Man 2
Blink and you might miss Lawless’ cameo in the second installment of Sam Raimi’s comic-book trilogy: She wears a tousled wig, a nose ring, and some seriously heavy eyeliner while holding a cigarette as she says of the movie’s hero: “Guy with eight hands… Sounds hot.” Brief? Very. Memorable? Completely.

9. Agent Morris, Veronica Mars
Lucy only appeared briefly on the tragically short-lived Veronica Mars, as the sharp-eyed FBI agent who knew exactly what she was dealing with when she came up against Veronica. Her partner might have thought a lowly high school student wasn’t much to contend with, but Agent Morris knew better. It was a great role for Lucy, and her grudging respect for Veronica was a nice nod to all the butt-kicking female characters she’d played in the past.

10. Xena, Xena: Warrior Princess
The original Battle Babe, Xena is a lady you don’t want to mess with, balanced by her partner, Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor). A warrior on a quest for redemption to make good for the misdeeds of her past, Xena is out to help the world, one person at a time. You can’t make us pick just one moment from this 1995-2001 series, but we will note that “The Xena Scrolls” was a pretty classic episode with a delightful mashup of old-school TV tropes.