Emmy Award-winner Jean Smart has embodied some memorable television characters over the past three and a half decades, from office manager Charlene Frazier-Stillfield (“Designing Women”) and former high school flame Lana Gardner (“Frasier”), to first lady Martha Logan (“24”) and family matriarch Floyd Gerhardt (“Fargo”). Her latest small-screen role is sure to follow in those footsteps: In HBO’s “Watchmen,” she plays the formidable FBI agent Laurie Blake, who happens to have a mysterious superhero past.

How did you most connect with Laurie when initially reading the “Watchmen” script?

When I first read the script I just loved it and loved the role and when I spoke to Damon [Lindelof, the creator] I was worried he was going to say that he didn’t want her to be all that funny but I found her very funny and was hoping he agreed. And he did; he said, “She’s got to be funny.” So I was relieved that we were on the same page about that. I suppose I have a similar sense of humor to Laurie. I’ve always, even as a kid, used humor to sort of deflect from uncomfortable situations and things, so it was something that I felt fairly comfortable with.

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