'Longmire's' Cassidy Freeman on her 'CSI' trifecta and knowing every word to 'Dirty Dancing'

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After three seasons of living in a fantasy world on "Smallville," Cassidy Freeman is playing it much more down to earth.

Formerly the villainous Tess Mercer on the young-Superman saga, the actress is now seen Sundays as Cady, the supportive lawyer daughter of the title Wyoming sheriff - and recent widower - played by Australia's Robert Taylor in "Longmire," A&E Network's modern Western inspired by best-selling novels by Craig Johnson.

"I grew up in Montana, and both of my parents were attorneys," the good-humored Freeman tells Zap2it. "They're now retired, and I called my dad and said, 'I have this really great test for a show, and I play a lawyer from Wyoming.' And he said, 'Cass, if you don't get this, I really think you should stop acting.' "

Freeman embraces playing a character who's based much more in reality than her previous one: "I've tried to make this, coming out of something so comic-book-stylized, as simple as I could. I thought about who Cady is, what she comes from, what it would be like to lose your mother and to feel like you're responsible for your father. It really feels natural to me, even though in the end, it's a different person's life."

Freeman takes special pride in having been a guest on "the trifecta" of all three of CBS' "CSI" shows. "I think a lot of the actors on those shows love the consistency. That's what makes them happy, but I think the most interesting parts there are the guest roles. I've gotten to play a freaked-out rookie cop, then a murdering bartender, then a hooker. I got to tell my entire family right before the holidays, 'Watch me on "CSI" as a hooker!' I can't tell you how proud they were."

On going from one series role right into her next: "We finished [production on 'Smallville'] in March last year, then we shot this pilot in late April and early May. We didn't know if we were getting picked up until August."

Favorite movie: " 'The Last Unicorn.' I know every word to 'Dirty Dancing,' but for me, it's 'The Last Unicorn.' "

Favorite television series you're not in: " 'Felicity' was my favorite show."

Favorite singer: "That would be my mom. She taught me how to sing, and that's kind of the best part."
Photo/Video credit: NewsCom