Before “Why Women Kill,” Allison Tolman’s most recent role put her back in the world of law enforcement: Police chief Jo Evans on 2019’s “Emergence,” who becomes determined to protect the mysterious, supernaturally powered young girl (Alexa Swinton) she finds at the site of a plane crash. It becomes a whole family affair, with her daughter, father, and ex-husband involved. “Who doesn’t love a spooky kid?” Tolman told Daily Beast, when discussing the one season series. With people then coming after that spooky kid, the show has a similar vibe to “E.T.”
As for what Tolman enjoys about Jo, she said she likes that Jo doesn’t have a past that haunts her, like other female characters in a similar job. She said, “There’s all this dark past, as if that’s what’s needed to justify a woman in this position in a dangerous field. I think you could just be a normal woman and choose to work in a dangerous field.” If it isn’t obvious by now, “normal woman” is what Tolman seeks in a role.
For the New York Times review, Mike Hale praised her performance, writing, “Tolman, with her knack for conveying alert intelligence and sardonic skepticism, is the best hedge ‘Emergence’ has against being a generic broadcast-network thriller.” Although “Emergence” got mostly favorable reviews, especially with regards to Tolman’s performance, the show was canceled after the first season. So far, one season roles have been Tolman’s luck, but at least whenever one ends, we’ll likely see her again soon.