Close-Up: Margo Martindale in Sneaky Pete (Amazon)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Texas, Margo Martindale was a reliable character actor on stage and in films and television series for decades before she suddenly and delightfully became a star on FX’s crime saga Justified, playing Mags Bennett, a Ma Barker-styled Kentucky crime boss who dispatches her foes with poisoned moonshine. A string of very different, equally eye-catching roles followed, in such series as The Americans (playing Claudia, a devious KGB handler) and the Netflix animated series Bojack Horseman (playing a version of herself, appropriately referred to by other characters as “Esteemed Character Actress Margo Martindale”).

Her most recent role might be her most all-encompassing: on Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Martindale plays the grandmother of Giovanni Ribisi’s con man hero, a small town bail bondswoman who is determined to keep her family together even as it threatens to buckle under the pressure of repaying a debt to a gangster (series co-creator Bryan Cranston). Mixing Mags’ ferocious family loyalty, Claudia’s barbed- wire ruthlessness and the eccentric warmth she brought to the short-lived CBS sitcom The Millers (which Martindale still recalls fondly), it’s a milestone role in a career that continues to surprise and delight.

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.