I am hardcore crushing on Samaire Armstrong right now. I didn’t watch The O.C., but I am familiar with her work in the short-lived ABC drama Dirty Sexy Money and from a couple of movies. But I didn’t form a girl crush until I saw her opposite Tim Kang’s straight-faced Detective Cho in CBS’ The Mentalist.
Samaire plays Summer, a prostitute/escort who becomes Cho’s CI (confidential informant). Her character is irreverent, unpredictable, and manipulative, but in the nicest possible way. She’s a gentle soul who seems to activate Cho’s protective instincts, but at the same time she provokes him into some very un-Cho-like behavior. Like smiling. For real! It was tiny, but it happened!
The pair are a classic opposites attract setup, but in a wonderful way. She brings out the best in him, and his stoic, non-judgmental support seems to be helping her to create a better life for herself.
This role is the perfect vehicle for Samaire’s brand of slightly ditzy, somewhat broken, streetwise but vulnerable characters. She’s a recurring guest star, and in only two appearances she’s managed to move from “generic prostitute” to “potential love interest for Cho.” Yeah, I said it. And it looks like I wasn’t the only one picking up on their chemistry: Summer returns in tonight’s episode of The Mentalist, and it seems Cho is questioning whether he has real feelings for her as they work a case together.
The Mentalist airs tonight at 10/9c on CBS.