With her role in “Crowded,” Carrie Preston’s aim is to marry the familiar and the unexpected.
The actress — whose plentiful television work includes her Emmy-winning recurring role as scattered but effective attorney Elsbeth Tascioni on CBS’ about-to-end “The Good Wife” — now is scheduled against that show in NBC’s Sunday comedy about a couple (played by Preston and Patrick Warburton) who find their home crowded, indeed, with the presence of their two grown daughters (Miranda Cosgrove, Mia Serafino) and the husband’s parents (Stacy Keach, Carlease Burke).
Preston muses that she’s not “the wife-of-the-week” in television-series terms. “The network really wanted to so something different with this show and make it unique,” she tells Zap2it, adding that she’s glad “Crowded” is the vehicle to provide her first starring billing in a show.
“I feel fortunate in that way. When I finished ‘True Blood,’ I said, ‘Great. It’s time to challenge myself in a new way.’ That didn’t mean it was going to happen, though, so I was grateful that [‘Crowded’ creator and executive producer] Suzanne Martin saw something in me. I think a lot of people would have gone a little more traditional with that casting.”
Married to another Emmy winner — Michael Emerson (“Lost”), whose “Person of Interest” begins its fifth and final CBS season Tuesday (May 3), featuring her in its first new episode — Preston has made her last appearance on “The Good Wife.” She’s expectedly grateful to that series for the attention and recognition it has brought her.
“Nobody’s like Elsbeth,” she notes with a knowing laugh. “I loved playing her, and I would have loved to have been on every episode, but they’ve had so many characters to serve. When she comes in, it’s a big flavor. And you can’t have that at every meal.
“I would have loved to have given myself over to that show, but that wasn’t an option, so I started looking for other things that would serve me. The schedule of a sitcom is really inviting. I’m also a producer and a director, with other things I do, so it’s a great opportunity to fulfill all of my creative needs.