Why Judy from Dead to Me looks so familiar

Dead to Me is back for a second season and it’s safe to say that the Netflix show, which started off with a completely-insane, plot-encompassing murder, mayhem, and soap opera-style intrigue, hasn’t lost any of its fire. The show’s popularity, particularly with women, could reasonably be chalked up to the easy rapport between leads Christina Applegate, who plays Jen, and Linda Cardellini, who plays Judy. The two women have an irresistible onscreen chemistry, making them fully believable as BFFs one minute, sworn enemies the next.

Dead to Me is a major showcase for the considerable talents of its leading ladies, both of whom have already enjoyed lengthy careers working across television and film. Both also, coincidentally, started out on TV with Applegate’s breakout role coming in 1987 as Kelly Bundy, daughter to Al, on classic sitcom Married…with Children. Cardellini, meanwhile, had a similarly early start in Hollywood, meaning there are likely several major on-screen roles you recognize her from.

Linda Cardellini has been working in Hollywood for decades

The actress and Dead to Me star is slightly younger than her onscreen cohort, so Cardellini didn’t pop up on our screens until the glorious nineties (via IMDB). In 1996, she got her first big role as Sarah in Bone Chillers. A few bit parts followed but it was the short-lived, but beloved teen sitcom Freaks and Geeks, in 1999, that really put Cardellini on the map. The show, which ran for just one season, also launched the careers of the likes of baby-faced Seth Rogen and James Franco and is considered a cult classic nowadays.

Just a couple years later, Cardellini made an impression as another lovably grumpy outsider when she appeared in the Reese Witherspoon-led film, Legally Blonde. She’s featured in several big movies in the years since, from Brokeback Mountain, to playing Velma in the live action Scooby Doo movie and its 2002 sequel, Monsters Unleashed.

Dead to Me's Judy is the pinnacle of an exciting career

Cardellini has remained a TV stalwart, too, starring in ER and Bloodline, among others, including an Emmy-nominated turn on Mad Men. As she’s matured as an actress, film roles as a variety of disapproving mother types abounded, including in the Daddy’s Home movies and horror flick The Curse of La Llorona. She even popped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside virtually every other actor in Hollywood, as Hawkeye’s wife.

Dead to Me represents another fascinating twist in Cardellini’s Hollywood story, which is assuredly far from over. On her reasoning for taking the role in the first place, the actress gushed to Indiewire, “I’ve been trying to just say yes to things that scare me or challenge me or are completely different from things I’ve done before. This fit in all of those categories for me. It was a total adventure.”

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