Zap2it spoke with “Psych” actress Kirsten Nelson in preparation for her directorial debut on Wednesday’s (Feb. 26) episode of the USA comedy. An interview about that process and the end of “Psych” is coming later in the week, but one of the other topics we touched on was her memorable guest-starring role on “The West Wing.”
In the Season 2 finale of NBC’s political drama, titled “Two Cathedrals,” Nelson played the younger version of Mrs. Landingham, secretary to President Bartlet who in present-day had just been killed in a car accident.
Nelson tells Zap2it that it was actually due to Kathryn Joosten, the actress who played present-day Mrs. Landingham and who passed away herself in 2012, that she auditioned for the role.
“That is still one of the roles that’s closest to my heart. I knew Kathy Joosten, we worked together on a very short-lived series called ‘Thanks’ for CBS,” says Nelson. “I ran into her outside a comedy club in Hollywood, she was coming out, I was going into the next show and she goes [imitates Joosten’s distinctive voice], “Hi! How ya doin’? Hey listen, I’m doing this show called ‘West Wing” and I’m like ‘Yeah, I know. That’s a pretty big show.’ [laughs] And she says, ‘They’re lookin’ for the young one of me, you should go in.’
“We were both from Chicago, so I could do her Chicago accent. And I went in and got the job … and one of my first scenes, you know ‘West Wing’ was famous for its walk-and-talks, and I finished my walk-and-talk as her and the camera guys lean out from behind the cameras and they were all just staring at me. I was like, ‘Well, was — was that OK?’ and they’re all like, ‘You’re a dead ringer for her!'”
“Kathy was a wonderful, wonderful woman, it was an honor to be her,” Nelson finishes, but then adds there’s a running joke between her and “Psych” co-star Dule Hill, who also starred on “The West Wing.”
“The joke with that is I was 19 weeks pregnant with my first child, I was almost five months pregnant on [‘The West Wing’], and then when I was cast on ‘Psych,’ I was eight months pregnant with my second child. And I told Dule, ‘I’m done. I’m done having kids, so we can’t do any more TV shows together because I seem to get pregnant with any TV show you’re attached to,'” says Nelson with a laugh.
The final five episodes of “Psych” kick off with Nelson’s first time behind the camera on “1967: A Psych Odyssey” on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.