As much as Mercedes McNab relishes playing Harmony, the undead dingbat of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sister show Angel, she still dreads reading her scripts. "Every time I get one," she tells TV Guide Online, "all I do is skim to the end to find out if I die. It's really scary."

Luckily, the actress notes, as hare-brained as the blonde blood-sucker can be, she has managed to hit upon a fool-proof survival tactic. "The theme of every episode seems to be, 'Make Harmony as big an idiot as possible, then have her run away with her tail between her legs.'"

All kidding aside, McNab probably needn't fret quite so much over her alter ego's life expectancy: She clearly has made a fan of series creator Joss Whedon, who originally read her for the part of Buffy. "I don't think [Harmony's expanded role] is cosmic payback [because Sarah Michelle Gellar got cast]," she insists. "Joss is just very loyal to the people who work for him."

Actually, so admiring of the former child performer are the powers that be that next season she again may raise hell on Angel. "They ended up cutting the final scene of [the episode in which Harmony found religion] — I was in Mexico, recruiting people for the cult," she reveals. "I don't know if that's indicative of what's going to happen or if that was a tiny thing...

"But," she adds, "they were talking about [bringing back Harmony]. It's just all up in the air right now."