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Start Slideshow THE FOLLOWING: Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) is Joe Carroll's ex-wife in the new drama THE FOLLOWING premiering Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE FOLLOWING: Claire (Natalie Zea) finds out some disturbing news in the new drama THE FOLLOWING premiering Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Bob Mahoney/FOX

role play

The Following’s Natalie Zea Shares Ten Random Stories From Her TV Career

Natalie Zea is one of those actresses who elicits a Where do I know her from? thought bubble — not because she's forgettable, but because she's been on so many shows that it's hard to quite place her. She has a recurring role on FX's Justified (her character returns tonight), and she's starring in Fox's The Following as a woman caught between her serial-killer ex-husband (James Purefoy) and the former FBI agent (Kevin Bacon) who caught him. "It's really hard to wrap my brain around it," Zea laughed when Vulture sat down with her for lunch recently. "How could she not know her husband was a serial killer?" To give herself some perspective, she wrote a history for her character ("All this great dark shit about my absent mother") only to turn out to be wrong when showrunner Kevin Williamson presented her with a new script. "There was a line 'If my mother calls, tell her I'm napping,'" she laughed. "That's the problem when you're doing a show that incorporates flashbacks." Not to be daunted, Zea was happy to flash back on her varied career, giving us her favorite stories from ten TV gigs.

Photo: Bob Mahoney/FOX