Though it shares the same creator, writer, and executive producer of the original Penny Dreadful (which ended in 2016 after 3 seasons), Showtime's new original series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is a very different show.
For starters, where the original took place in Victorian London and featured a number of characters pulled from iconic gothic horror stories, the new series is set in sun-soaked 1938 Los Angeles, where it follows a police detective and his partner as they investigate a grisly murder that puts them in the middle of an epic conflict between the forces of good and evil.
Along the way,the show promises to explore the rich history of the City of Angels, including the construction of its first freeways, its deep connections to Mexican-American folklore, the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich that were going on at the time, all the way to the rise of radio evangelism.
Ahead of the show’s premiere this Sunday, here's a rundown of who stars in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, the roles they're playing ,and where you may have seen them before:
No stranger to high profile TV shows, Natalie Dormer broke out with her turn as Anne Boleyn in the first two seasons of Showtime’s The Tudors. She followed that with her most well-known role to date, as the cunning Margaery Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones. She also starred as the strict Mrs. Appleyard in Amazon’s 2018 mini-series adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock, and played Cressida in the final two Hunger Games films. In Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, she plays Magda, a dark goddess capable of taking on the appearance of anyone she chooses. It marks her first recurring role in a series since Thrones.
Perhaps best remembered as Ramon Bayer-Boatwright in Alan Ball’s short-lived HBO series Here and Now, Daniel Zovatto's previous work includes a guest role on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, and roles in two notable horror films, It Follows and Don’t Breathe. He plays Tiago Vega in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, the LAPD's first Mexican-American detective, who often finds himself caught between his responsibilities to his community and the police force.
Playing Sister Molly, a charismatic radio evangelist grappling with the demands of her personal life, is Kerry Bishé. A TV veteran, Bishé played Donna Emerson on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, appeared in the third season of Netflix’s Narcos and the ninth season of Scrubs, and has had guest roles in Showtime’s Billions, TNT’s Public Morals, and Amazon’s The Romanoffs. She most recently appeared in an episode of Apple TV+’s Amazing Stories reboot.
Playing Charlton Townsend, the ambitious head of the City Council's Transportation Committee, is Michael Gladis. Memorable for his performance as the competitive copywriter Paul Kinsey, in the first three seasons of AMC’s Mad Men, viewers may also recognize Gladis from recurring roles on shows like CBS’ Extant and AMC’s Feed the Beast. His more recent work has included guest spots on The Fix, Proven Innocent, Criminal Minds, and Lucifer.
Mexican actress Barraza has had a long career in her home country, but she's also appeared in quite a few memorable roles stateside. On the big screen, she’s appeared in films like Babel, Drag Me to Hell, Cake, The 33, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and Rambo: Last Blood. Her English language TV work has included her recurring role as Guadalupe Elizalde on FX’s The Strain and a guest turn as Mariela Villanueva on the most recent season of FX’s Snowfall. On City of Angels, Barraza plays Maria, the powerful matriarch of the Vega family.
Though she's a relative newcomer, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels marks the third time Jessica Garza will have a recurring role in an ongoing series, following her performance as Penelope Guerrero on the first season of USA’s The Purge and her turn as Anabel Ortiz on the History Channel series, Six. She plays Josefina Vega, the youngest member of her family, in City of Angels.
Playing Mateo Vega, the volatile younger brother of Daniel Zovatto’s Tiago, is Johnathan Nieves. His past credits include guest roles on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, New Amsterdam, Better Call Saul, and Shameless, as well as a role in the 2019 Netflix original film, See You Yesterday.
Following his role as Frankenstein’s Creature in the original series, Rory Kinnear returns to the Penny Dreadful world in new role. In City of Angels, he plays Peter Craft, a kind family man and successful pediatrician who also works as the head of the German-American Bund, an organization invested in keeping the United States from getting involved in the growing conflict in Europe. Kinnear has had a long career as a character actor in Hollywood, with roles in shows like Black Mirror, Southcliffe, Guerrilla, Watership Down, Years and Years, and Catherine the Great. Film viewers may also recognize him from his recurring role as Tanner in the Daniel Craig Bond films.
Playing Lewis Michener, the veteran LAPD officer who becomes Tiago’s partner, friend, and mentor, is Nathan Lane. A film, TV, and Broadway legend, Lane garnered acclaim for his performances ever since his Broadway debut in the early 1980s. Over his long screen career, Lane has earned Emmy nominations for his performances in Modern Family, The Good Wife, Mad About You, and Frasier, plus a pair of Golden Globe nominations for his performances in the 2005 film version of The Producers and the 1996 film, The Birdcage.
Amy Madigan has had roles in dozens of memorable films throughout the decades, including Streets of Fire, Places in the Heart, Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, Pollock, Rules Don’t Apply, and Gone Baby Gone. She's also appeared in recurring roles on shows like Carnivàle, Grey's Anatomy, Fring. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the 1985 film, Twice in a Lifetime, and most recently appeared in this year’s The Hunt. On Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Madigan plays Adelaide Finnister, the mother of Bishé’s Molly and the person managing the finances of her growing religious empire.
Brent Spiner has been a recognizable name ever since his iconic performance as Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a role he recently reprised in the first season of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Picard. Spiner's other TV wcredits include Star Trek: Enterprise, Threshold, Warehouse 13, Blunt Talk, and Outcast. He is also well-known for his performance as Dr. Brakish Okun in the1996 film Independence Day. On Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, he plays Ned Vanderhoff, the precinct captain at the Hollenbeck police station in Boyle Heights, who finds himself under constant pressure to maintain order amidst the volatile politics of the city.
A Hollywood up-and-comer, Lorenza Izzo is probably best known for her brief-but-memorable turn as Francesca Capucci in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Her past TV work includes recurring roles in Hulu’s Casual and AMC’s Feed the Beast, while her film credits include roles in the Eli Roth-directed films Knock Knock, The Green Inferno, and The House with a Clock in the Walls, along with the Amazon drama, Life Itself. She plays one of City of Angels’ key supernatural figures, Santa Muerte, the Angel of Holy Death and sister of Natalie Dormer’s Magda.
Piper Perabo's film work goes back to the late1990s, with roles in films like Coyote Ugly, Cheaper by the Dozen 1 & 2, The Prestige, Because I Said So, Looper, and Angel Has Fallen. On TV, she starred as Annie Walker for five seasons on the USA series Covert Affairs. She followed her run on that series with a lead role on the short-lived ABC drama Notorious, and recently appeared in the 2019 Idris Elba-led Netflix series Turn Up Charlie. On Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Perabo plays Linda Craft, a mother to two sons and wife (to Kinnear’s Peter) who has grown disappointed with her husband and their restrictive suburban lifestyle.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premieres on Showtime Sunday, April 26th at 10:00 PM ET.
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Alex Welch has written about television and film for TV by the Numbers, IGN, The Berrics, Paste Magazine, Screen Rant and GeekNation. Follow him on Twitter @alexrwelch.