Top 10 Alter Egos of Mad Men Star, Elisabeth Moss
Any true TV fan can tell you that a great series can rival any movie for suspense and engagement, blow-your-mind acting and top-notch writing. As Elisabeth Moss, star of the acclaimed new Sundance Channel original series TOP OF THE LAKE, said at this year’s Sundance Film Festival -- where TOTL premiered, the first time a TV series has ever done so -- “Coming from an environment where I’m used to reading great television scripts, I kind of have a high standard.” We’ll say. Here are the quintessential moments in her career -- have you seen them all?
Don’t miss the highly acclaimed TOP OF THE LAKE, premiering on Sundance Channel Monday, March 18 at 9P.
Author: Nina Hämmerling Smith
10. Invasion (2005-2006)
OK, so maybe this alien-body-snatching series didn’t last long enough to really find its audience, but in its one season, it was a fantastically thrilling ride -- and Moss provided a highpoint as the utterly chilling Christina, a young mother-to-be who is suspiciously unfazed about the fact that she’s carrying a “litter” of... somethings.
9. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Wait, was Elisabeth Moss in this Winona Ryder-Angelina Jolie mental-hospital drama? We wouldn’t fault for you for not realizing it -- but she was, in fact. As Polly Clark, known as “Torch,” she was both sweet and haunted as a burn victim whose disfiguring scars render her virtually unrecognizable.
8. Picket Fences (1992)
When she was just 10 years old, in 1992, Moss was cast as local girl Cynthia in this beloved David E. Kelley drama about a small-town sheriff, his family and the American-heartland community -- and way of life -- he fights to protect.
7. Excedrin Migraine Commercial (2005)
Back in 2005, before a certain TV series changed her career forever (more on that later), Moss appeared in a commercial for Excedrin Migraine. What’s noteworthy here is not that she shilled for a pain medication -- most actors have done commercials at one point or another -- but that Excedrin, seeing a chance to cash in on Moss’ popularity, reintroduced the spot years after it originally aired.
6. Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge (1995)
Chronicling the struggles and eventual success of country music stars the Judds, this TV movie also featured actor and potential politician Ashley Judd -- and Moss as Ashley’s teenage self.
5. Get Him to the Greek (2010)
In Daphne Binks, the exhausted doctor dating an eager aspiring music rep, Moss got to venture into comic territory alongside costars Jonah Hill and Russell Brand -- they even engage in a hysterically awkward threesome.
4. Speed-the-Plow (2008)
Moss made her Broadway debut in the 2008 revival of this David Mamet play, opposite Jeremy Piven and Raúl Esparza. As Karen, Moss played a secretary who had a lot more ambition -- and a lot more under the surface -- than the men around her could have guessed.
3. The West Wing (1999-2006)
As Zoey, the youngest daughter of the president-we-all-wish-we-had, Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Moss got to show off her chops as a young woman with an independent streak, a propensity for flouting the rules and a whip-smart intelligence.
2. Mad Men (2007-2012)
It took a trip back to the ’60s for wider audiences to come to appreciate Moss’ extraordinary talent. Her secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson is creative, confident and unabashedly ambitious in an environment where women aren’t “supposed” to succeed. The role has earned her both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
1. Top of the Lake (2013)
Moss gives perhaps her most nuanced, most ambitious performance to date as Robin Griffin, the New Zealand detective who returns home and becomes deeply involved in the case of a missing 12-year-old girl who’s five months pregnant. Under Oscar winner Jane Campion’s expert cinematic shepherding, TOP OF THE LAKE is a TV event that you won’t want to miss.