After getting a new job on CBS' Friday medical/supernatural drama "A Gifted Man," playing Rita Perkins-Hall, a nurse and personal assistant to brilliant surgeon Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson), actress Margo Martindale took home an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for her work the previous season in FX's "Justified."
She played Kentucky crime matriarch Mags Bennett, but Martindale didn't know from the beginning that the part would last as long as it did.
"I was hired for just five episodes," she says, "so they gave me 10."
Asked if she plans to double her exposure on her new show, Martindale says, "If I could! I don't plan on it. I'd like to take over my portion of it."
As Rita, Martindale sports tailored suits and heels, quite a difference from Mags' wardrobe.
"From flannel and men's shoes?" says Martindale with a laugh. "I said, 'Just give me whatever my husband was wearing; I'll put it on.' ... Here, mostly I think we're using Marina Rinaldi."
When he's not being a top-flight surgeon, Holt is dealing with an apparition of his deceased ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), who's trying to encourage him to do good. Martindale enjoys this unusual aspect of the medical genre.
"Of course," she says, "it's not just ghosts. We also have a shaman and holistic medicine and high tech. I like it all."
She's also enjoying getting plum parts -- and awards -- at an age when many actresses are hard-pressed to get any work at all.
"I really think that's over," she says, "because people don't want to believe that you lose everything when you get older. Why do young people want to believe that? It's crazy."
Favorite book: " 'Time and Again' by Jack Finney. It was a mystery, and it was science fiction, and it was beautiful and set in New York at the turn of the century. They optioned it a million times and never made a movie. I also love 'Devil in the White City,' and I love 'The Glass Castle.' I love all things by Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Harlan Coben and Louise Penny. They're all mystery writers."
Favorite music: "Bubble-gum music from the late '50s and early '60s, because I was really thin then, and it makes me feel thin again. It makes me feel like I'm a teenager. Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, even though that was late '60s. I love big band music. I love country/western music -- Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and Hank Williams."
Favorite movie: "The first one that blew me away was 'A Summer Place' with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. Then you get to all the melodramas of the mid-'60s, and I loved all of them with Susan Hayward. I will always watch 'Forrest Gump.' I love movies. The new ones, I don't even remember what I've seen."
Celebrity Scoop: Margo Martindale