The cat-and-mouse thriller, The Endgame returns tonight for another episode of high-stakes thrills. Criminal mastermind Elena Federova (Morena Baccarin), a very recently captured international arms dealer, finds ways to orchestrate several coordinated bank heists even while in captivity. Ryan Michelle Bathé is her nemesis, Val Turner, a principled, relentless and socially outcast FBI agent, who will stop at nothing to foil her ambitious plan.
Baccarin recently spoke about her character during the TCA Virtual Press Tour. “This character is definitely not a caricature but larger than life, and she has the high, high stakes that really attracted me to it. There was a lot of humor. The story was really fun and sort of a page-turner when I went over the script,” she explained.
Both her and Bathé’s characters are complex and a little out there, Baccarin explained,”I love the idea of a show that is centered around these people that happen to be women and that are only opposite sides of “good and bad,” but really ultimately are after the same thing.” It is an aspect of the series that has viewers taking sides about which character they are rooting for – many choosing both. Similar to series like the ever popular Killing Eve, maybe we are not supposed to land on either character’s side.
Even Baccarin seems a bit torn about where her support lands. While she plays Elena Federova, but there’s more to it than that. “Any good villain has real reasons to be doing what they are doing, and it’s somebody that is connected to them, and that is the case with this character. ” She continued, “If you are not rooting for her, I think — or rooting for both of these women, then I think we’ve done something very wrong.”
Finding the right balance for her character was a challenge. Not only did Baccarin have a tricky Russian accent to master, it was important for her to truly grasp Elena’s motivations. She worked with showrunner Nick Wootton, on an episode by episode basis to ensure she nailed it. “Really leaning into who she is, her motivations, her emotional arc and life, they are very complicated. If this character and me as an actor, if I stop having fun playing this part, then we lose the audience because it is very much a delicious part of being the audience to a show like this, is you get to, sort of, live in her shoes.”
To say Baccarin is all in on her character is an understatement. Beyond the her ‘shoes’ and the accent another important part of bringing this character to life are the extravagant outfits. Finding the right gown for a key moment in the series was a task that had her very busy in the dressing room. “It’s a very strange and incredible moment to see this international arms dealer being captured in a giant ball gown. I happened to find that dress myself even though I tried on — I don’t know — I would say, 40 or 50 dresses, probably.”
New episodes of The Endgame air on Mondays at 10 pm on NBC.