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Interview: Rachel Taylor talks playing an FBI agent on 'Crisis'

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It's every parent's nightmare: Sending your children safely off on a banal school field trip and then discovering that the school bus has been ambushed and the entire cadre of students and chaperones has been kidnapped. It truly is a "Crisis."

What makes "Crisis" even more high stakes is that the majority of the students are the children of Washington, D.C.'s elite power players, including the son of the president of the United States.

But "Crisis" is about more than ransom for money -- although big money is involved. It is also about the demand for unexplained extra tasks that the parents of the kidnapped students are asked to carry out that keeps us guessing what the actual end game of the perpetrators is.

"Crisis" stars Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney, Lance Gross, Rachael Taylor, James Lafferty, Max Martini, Halston Sage, Stevie Lynn Jones, Max Schneider, Michael Beach and Joshua Erenberg.

In a conference call to promote the series premiere, Taylor spoke to Examiner.com about the challenges of playing an FBI agent tasked with rescuing the kidnap victims, working with Gillian Anderson, and more.

This show has a lot of twists and turns. Is that challenging for you as an actor?

For me, I look at it like we just accept the information and the given circumstance that we have in any particular scene. I'm excited by the possibilities … What I feel like we really tried to create, both on the pilot and then the first episode, is this really solid foundation of who our characters were and how they behaved. So then we had that solid basis to offer it from. But I have to say, as a a fan of the show in my own weird way, it's exciting to feel like things could change on a dime at any minute, both while watching it and also while working on the show.

Did you do any particular research into the FBI before you started?

I spoke to a former FBI Agent, a retired guy who was so valuable and interesting, here in Los Angeles, and a former female FBI Agent which was super valuable. Just given the kind of personal conflicts that my character carries throughout the series, it was cool talking to her about the culture of being a woman in the FBI. I infused a lot of our conversation into my performance.

We spoke less about the technical aspects of being FBI and more about a kind of sophistication of what being an agent does to your inner person. It's intriguing really because all of our jobs affect us on a deeper level -- they affect our families and our relationships -- so I'm intrigued. Being a Federal Agent is a fairly important task.

Can you talk about getting to work with Gillian Anderson?

I will say just in general, she's a very valuable presence to have on the set . She's an incredibly elegant actress and a very thoughtful and intelligent one. She really doesn't miss a trick, so I just really watched and learned -- truly from observation of her actually. She has a very intelligent presence on a set.

Many people will compare this show to others such as "24," "Homeland," or "Hostages." How would you compare it?

Yes, I think it's a familiar genre, but I think that "Crisis" has these peculiarities in a way. There's a strong sentimental [factor] to our show… and we ask the question: How far [will people] go to save their child's life? So there is a certain emotionally moving component to our show that I think sets us apart.

Well for me, I think, I'm practical. I'm not sure as an Australian woman how much success I'd have joining the FBI for real, but I will say I have developed the most incredible respect for the men and women who work for federal agencies, or who spend their lives and their livelihoods protecting and securing this country. I'm very intrigued at how one does that for real on a day-to-day basis.

And they seem to develop the most extraordinary analytical ways of thinking. They truly do become tacticians. I'm a girl's girl, so I'm less intrigued by the shooting weapons and fighting and that kind of stuff, but I'm very intrigued by the intellectual aspects of what these people do on a day to day basis. It's really kind of extraordinary.

"Crisis" premieres Sunday, March 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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