When we first encounter Laurie Blake in HBO’s “Watchmen,” she’s sticking up a bank to trick a masked vigilante into showing up so she, along with the other undercover FBI agents around her, can arrest him for violating the Keene Act. The law, which has existed in the fictional universe since 1977, banned costumed crime-fighting, forcing the crusaders into retirement or government-sanctioned work.

It’s a striking way to introduce Laurie, who, as fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s “Watchmen” will note, was once a costumed crime-fighter herself. Written and set in the mid-1980s, the graphic novel spends quite a bit of time with Laurie Juspeczyk, a.k.a. Silk Spectre, the daughter of two original Minutemen members: Sally Jupiter, a stage mother who passed on the Silk Spectre mantle to her daughter, and Edward Blake, a.k.a. the Comedian, a roguish man whose murder sets the plot in motion.

After series creator Damon Lindelof offered veteran actress Jean Smart the role of Laurie, one of the most prominent characters to cross over from the comic, she received a crash course in “Watchmen” history. But the show would take place in the modern day, roughly 35 years after the events of the comic, meaning she’d be allowed a certain amount of freedom in playing the character.

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