After spending five seasons as L.A. Law's Abby Perkins, Michele Greene went on to guest on such series as Matlock, Stargate SG-1, CSI, Judging Amy, Crossing Jordan and Six Feet Under, to name a few. If that's not enough, she's also released a couple of Latin-folk CDs and recently wrote a mystery novel for teens, Chasing the Jaguar. Her current acting gig is a recurring role as Cynthia Burdett on CBS' The Unit. In speaking with Greene, TVGuide.com learned that she might have a bit of a thing for series creator David Mamet.
TVGuide.com: How do you see your character of Cynthia?
Michele Greene: I see her as this hard-edged military wife. Her husband used to be in the unit, but now he's a private contractor for mercenaries. She's always trying to undermine the team aspect of the unit, because she wants these other guys to [quit] as well. I think she's thrilled, because she finally gets to see her husband, and they're making a lot of money. Cynthia's someone who's about making bank.
TVGuide.com: How many episodes will you be appearing in this season?
Greene: I've done four and I think I have a few more coming up. It's so rare when you work in television I've worked extensively and on most assignments you go, OK, well, what's the project? How much are they paying? Where do I have to go? It becomes like a job, and it's very hard as an actor to feel very excited, because most projects aren't very good.
TVGuide.com: But The Unit is different?
Greene: Oh, yeah. I had actually auditioned for another show, but in the meantime I went in for and booked The Unit, so when the other show called back, it was a conflict and they were livid. I was like, This show is David Mamet. There's no way I'm going to pass this up.
TVGuide.com: Besides the name recognition, what does David Mamet bring to the show?
Greene: He's such a brilliant writer, and you can really see that the level of the writing is so head and shoulders above what you normally see on TV. The intricacies of what happens with the characters and the subtleties of the stories are just amazing. I did an episode that he was directing, and it was such a pleasure to work with someone who's so good at what he does. He gets it, and he's so low-key about it.
TVGuide.com: Sounds like you're a fan.
Greene: He's been my idol since I was in college, where I would have all these lines from obscure plays of his tacked up on my bulletin board.
TVGuide.com: Did you ever tell him that?
Greene: Actually, I just wrote him a note afterwards to thank him for having me on the show. When I actually worked with him, I was just like, Hi, Mr. Mamet. Nice to meet you, Mr. Mamet. I could hardly even talk. You get to a point as an actor where a lot of things wear you out, but it was one of those moments where I was really excited to be an actor. It was a nice feeling.
TVGuide.com: All right, all right, enough about Mr. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. On a serious note, is there more pressure doing a show about the armed forces during a time of war?
Greene: Honestly, I think it puts a good pressure on us. I think people in the arts have a responsibility, especially in times like this, to show different sides of a situation, since we don't see a lot of difference in the press anymore. Journalists nowadays have become so compromised that messy issues are kind of left unseen, so I think it's important to raise issues and address things. Otherwise you have entertainment that's just easy, palatable distraction.
TVGuide.com: You were part of a pretty impressive ensemble cast on L.A. Law. How does the cast of The Unit compare?
Greene: I don't know how it compares, but the actors on The Unit are spectacular. I work mostly with Regina Taylor and she's such a wonderful actress. It's one of those shows where not only is the writing really exceptional, but the cast is equally exceptional.
Greene: This is probably not the thing to say to TV Guide, but I actually prefer writing. One of the problems of being an actor for me is that you can't do it by yourself. You can't get that creative rush from having gotten a lot of work done by yourself. If you can get six or eight really good pages written in a day, you feel really invincible. Also, you can tell the stories you want to tell, the way you want to tell them. It's really empowering, because you feel like you can control the universe. I like that, because I'm a control freak!