It’s impossible not to fall head over heels for Gillian Anderson.
The accomplished star has inhabited a string of unforgettable characters – from tough FBI agent Scully to the supremely strange shut-in Miss Havisham. In 2014, she captivated us with her detective skills on BBC’s The Fall and as Bedelia du Maurier, Dr. Lecter’s not-so-nice psychoanalyst on Hannibal. Add author to that bio – she recently released her first mystical thriller – and it’s hard not to wonder, does this woman ever sleep?
Gillian Anderson is definitely having her moment. Here are six roles that remind us why we fell for her in the first place.
1. DSI Stella Gibson
Seen in: The Fall (2013– )
Anderson shines in this pitch-black murder mystery import that became a hit on Netflix. London detective Stella Gibson is sent to Belfast, Northern Ireland to review a grisly murder case the local police are struggling to solve. When a second body turns up, Gibson takes the lead and initiates an intense manhunt for the murderer. Intriguingly, The Fall breaks TV expectations by revealing its killer in the very first episode – that would-be bereavement counselor, Paul Spector, played with a creepy intensity by Jaime Dornan. The result is a nuanced character study of both detective and culprit, revealing the darkness that resides on either side of the badge.
2. Dr. Bedelia du Maurier
Seen in: Hannibal (2013– )
Anderson turned this character guest spot into a starring role with NBC’s reboot of the cannibal killer franchise. In Hannibal, she plays the perceptive Bedelia du Maurier, Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s colleague and personal therapist. While the show is currently in production for its third season, the grand finale of season two saw both characters hop a plane for Europe. Producers promise new episodes feel like a brand-new series, with the dangerous doctors cast as co-leads.
3. Miss Havisham
Seen in: Great Expectations (2011)
Anderson donned a dusty wig, tattered clothing, and eerie white makeup for her turn as the deluded spinster Miss Havisham. While Dickens’ epic is no stranger to dramatic adaptations, this stylish 2011 BBC miniseries amped up the gothic tones of Havisham and her decrepit Satis House mansion. Anderson took the opportunity to transform her character into a ghostly figure of obsession that’s impossible to forget.
4. The Duchess of Windsor
Seen in: Any Human Heart (2010)
This adaptation of William Boyd’s epic novel finds Anderson in royal form as the exiled Duchess of Windsor. The novel tells the tale of Logan Mountstuart, a struggling writer whose aspirations take him around the world and into the company of numerous historical luminaries – Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming, to name a few. Anderson plays the Duchess of Windsor, a sly socialite who along with her husband attempts to embroil Mountstuart in a murder plot. Buy the book or watch the series.
5. Agent Scully
Seen in: The X-Files (1993–2002)
The role that launched a thousand Halloween costumes: Anderson’s performance in this sci-fi horror drama transfixed viewers throughout the ’90s and remains the part for which she is best known. Anderson plays FBI agent Dana Scully, a medical doctor and natural skeptic partnered with David Duchovny’s eccentric agent Fox Molder. Together, the unlikely duo investigates unsolved cases with a paranormal bent – and, in the process, produced two of the greatest performances in television history. In 2015, Fox announced that Anderson and Duchovny would reunite for a six-episode reboot of the beloved series.
6. (Animated) Agent Scully
Seen in: The Simpsons – “The Springfield Files” (1997)
Proving she possesses a great sense of humor, Anderson spoofed herself in this hilarious crossover episode released at the height of her X-Files fame. While walking home one evening after a long night at Moe’s, Homer stumbles across a glowing apparition in the forest. When he calls the FBI, who else shows up? Agents Scully and Mulder, of course. Leonard Nimoy, the Cigarette Smoking Man, and Chewbacca also stop by for excellent guest appearances.
Courtesty of BBC; Courtesy of BBC; Courtesy of 20th Century Fox