At 35, ‘State of Affairs’ Katherine is happy to finally be playing ‘an adult’

Actress Katherine Heigl returns to television Monday, Nov. 17 in NBC’s new CIA drama “State of Affairs.” She plays Charlie Tucker, a CIA foreign policy analyst whose job is to brief the President (Alfre Woodard) every morning on the day’s intelligence report.

The role is very different for Heigl, whose previous credits on the small screen include playing young ingenues in soapy TV movies such as “Wuthering Heights” (2003) and drama series’ “Roswell” (1999-2002) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005-2010). Heigl tells Zap2it the reason why playing Charlie made her want to return to TV for the first time since exiting her role of Izzie Stevens on “Grey’s” in 2010 has a lot to do with the character’s maturity.

“At 35, I just really wanted to play an adult,” Heigl says. “I’d been playing young, just trying to figure it out women for so long. Charlie is really unbelievably good at her job. She has a really strong and powerful position in the CIA and I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to play that kind of chick?’ That’s so cool.”

After years of stepping into characters written by other people, Heigl seems happy to now be calling the shots. “Charlie herself was really intriguing to me. I got to have a real voice in creating her with all her flaws and her strengths. That was really compelling and exciting to get to be a part of, just developing this person,” she says.

“State” is a bit of a passion project for Heigl. The concept for the show is one she and her mother Nancy Heigl have been trying to get made for nearly two years. Heigl says things didn’t quite come together until the two collaborated with producer Joe Carnahan, who fleshed out a solid story where the characters could thrive.

Now the role allows Heigl to show a completely different side of her talents on screen. “She’s more of a bada** than I am. She’s no bulls***,” Heigl says. “She doesn’t put up with it and doesn’t dish it, but I do all the time. I dish a lot of bulls*** … just kidding. [ laughs] I’m much softer about it.”

All jokes aside, the actress reveals there are strong similarities between her and Charlie. “She’s also intensely loyal and that I think we have that in common,” Heigl explains. “She will also fight to the death for anybody she loves or cares about, as will I.”

“State of Affairs” premieres Monday, Nov. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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