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The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Kari Matchett

7 Sep

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

A slightly more obscure Hall of Famer,  Kari Matchett has quietly developed a strong television career for herself.  A Canadian, her career started with single episode appearances in 1996 in Canadian series The Rez and Forever Knight.  She then got a chance to appear as a recurring character on Canadian teen drama Ready or Not, which aired in the US on Showtime Movie Channel and later on the Disney Channel.  After appearing in a couple of television movies and an episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy (another Canadian-based show), she got her first chance to appear as a regular in Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict, a science fiction show created after Roddenberry’s death, based on his notes, as guided by his widow.

After two seasons, she was back in the throes of Canadian TV, showing up in drama Power Play.  The show, about a sports agent who becomes general manager of the fictitious NHL team Hamilton Steeleheads, starred Matchett as the GM’s boss.  UPN aired a couple of episodes of the show in the US, but it was quickly pulled as the second episode had the impressive distinction of being the lowest rated prime-time series episode ever aired.

Matchett got a couple of film roles in Angel Eyes and Cube 2: Hypercube before getting her next regular gig, in the US finally, showing up in A Nero Wolfe Mystery, starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton, on A&E in 2001.  Matchett played Hutton’s sometimes girlfriend Lily Rowan.  She went back to Canada afterwards, portraying a detective on Canadian series Blue Murder, which was about a group of detectives in Toronto, and then had a three episode stint on the one season Wonderfalls.  She got her next starring role in 2005’s Invasion, broadcast on ABC.  Invasion, one of several attempts to capitalize on the popularity for supernatural serial show Lost, showcased Matchett as a doctor, and one of several townspeople inFlorida dealing with an alien invasion of water-based life-forms which took over humans.  After the show was cancelled, Matchett became a recurring character in season 6 of 24, as the personal assistant and girlfriend of Vice President Noah Daniels, portrayed by Powers Boothe.  She was also sleeping with a lobbyist, who turned out to be a secret agent, and was feeding him information.

2007 was a big year for Matchett.  In addition to 24, she showed up in five episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as a lawyer with a romantic interest in Matthew Perry’s character.  She also was in the main cast of Heartland, a TNT series starring Treat Williams, about a hospital and the world of heart surgery (great literal show name).  In the same year, she also began a five episode run on ER.  In 2008, she showed up in single episodes of Criminal Minds, The Cleaner, and Ugly Better, and appeared in a six episodes of the Starz series Crash, based on the movie of the same name.  The next year, she showed up in three episodes of Leverage as main character Timothy Hutton’s ex-wife.  She also showed up in episodes of Flashpoint, The Philanthropist, and Miami Medical.  Currently, she is co-starring in USA’s Covert Affairs.  She plays secret agent Piper Perabo’s boss, Joan Campbell, who happens to be married to the CIA’s Director of the National Clandestine Services, played by Peter Gallagher.  Not bad for a Canadian.