Allison Tolman re-emerges with ‘Emergence’


‘Fargo’ alum stars in ABC’s new supernatural drama

Allison Tolman

For Allison Tolman, “Emergence” already is a miracle even before it premieres.

That debut was all but certain for several hours as fall-season schedules were being set: NBC passed on the series, but ABC ultimately picked it up … so the drama with supernatural overtones begins on that network Tuesday, Sept. 24. “Fargo” alum Tolman plays another small-town cop, one drawn into the mystery of a youngster (Alexa Swinton) found near a devastating accident. The child instantly connects with policewoman Jo (Tolman), but it’s soon apparent there’s a lot more to the spoiler-averse story.

“I think I had mentally prepared for whatever was going to happen with this show,” the friendly Tolman reflects. “I knew we had done really good work on the pilot, but I felt like whatever happens is going to happen. During that time period where I wasn’t sure where we were going to land, I really thought, ‘I can’t believe this show wouldn’t go. It’s so good.’ ”

Created and executive-produced by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, veterans of such series as “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” and “Resurrection,” “Emergence” resists certain storytelling conventions … which Tolman appreciates.

“There’s a sci-fi gimmick where there’s a heroine who has to take care of a child, and she’s kind of a little reluctant about it, but she learns to love,” the actress reflects, “That’s not Jo. She already has this sort of maternal instinct, and that — accompanied by her sense of duty as an officer of the law — is what puts her in this position where she immediately takes in this kid who has nobody. She doesn’t really see an alternative.”


Birthdate: Nov. 18, 1981

Birthplace: Harris County, Texas

Current residence: Los Angeles

Marital status: Single

Other television credits include: “The Twilght Zone,” “Castle Rock,” “Good Girls,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Me, Myself & I,”  “Mosaic,” “I’m Sorry,” “Downward Dog,” “Drunk History,” “Archer” (voice only), “The Mindy Project,” “Fargo,” “Sordid Lives: The Series,” “Prison Break”

Movie credits include: “Swing Shift” (forthcoming), “The Sisters Brothers,” “Family,” “Killing Gunther,” “The House,” “Barracuda,” “Krampus,” “The Gift,” “Addicted to Fresno”

On her career: “I never wanted to be anything other than an actress, which is sort of a boring answer, but it’s the absolute truth. I’ve played cops a couple of times now, and nurses. I think I must have a trustworthy face … which is weird, because I lie constantly.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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