Inside one of au­tumn’s buzzi­est new shows.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar - BY Sarah LaIng

when we reach her in Van­cou­ver, Abi­gail Spencer is in the year of our Lord 1865... sar­to­ri­ally, at least. “I’m in a hoop skirt, a corset, pan­taloons and about 12 lay­ers over that,” the 35-year-old shares as if it were the most nat­u­ral thing in the world—which it is when one is be­tween takes on a set for a TV show that’s all about time travel.

Spencer, whom you’ll know for her work on Suits and Rec­tify, is in the mid­dle of film­ing episode three of NBC’s Time­less. She plays a his­tory pro­fes­sor tapped by the FBI for a most un­usual mission: Some­one has stolen a time ma­chine and gone back in time to com­mit his­tor­i­cal ter­ror­ism, and Spencer is part of a trio sent back through the years to stop them be­fore they ir­re­vo­ca­bly change the course of hu­man his­tory. “It’s fun and ad­ven­tur­ous, but it’s se­ri­ous on a broader level,” says Spencer of the show, premier­ing Oc­to­ber 3. “It’s a bit like early Steven Spiel­berg, in that you can to­tally be­lieve it but it’s a true es­cape while you’re watch­ing it.”

Spencer’s char­ac­ter is pulled out of a very or­di­nary life by a knock on the door. When asked what her own ver­sion of that “Harry Pot­ter, you’re a wizard!” mo­ment would be like, she has an un­ex­pected an­swer: “For me, that knock on the door would be some­one say­ing ‘Abi­gail, there’s the big­gest wave in the world, and you’re the only per­son who can surf it. You’re the only one who can save surf­ing!’” This fan­tasy makes a lit­tle more sense with some back­ground: Spencer’s fa­ther is a world-renowned surfer, but her mother put three-yearold Abi­gail in dance class so she’d do some­thing in­doors and “not get skin cancer.”

“Our show is all about peo­ple wak­ing up to a dif­fer­ent re­al­ity be­cause one piece of his­tory changes,” she says. “I of­ten won­der what would have hap­pened if I had never started dance class; what if I had just gone on surf­ing? Maybe I would have ful­filled my dad’s dreams of me being the first fe­male cham­pion!” n

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