Check­ing in with POPPY MONT­GOMERY

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On TV - BY JAY BOBBIN

Even if she hasn’t been seen much lately, Poppy Mont­gomery hasn’t been out of the tele­vi­sion game.

The for­mer “With­out a Trace” and “Un­for­get­table” ac­tress spent three years devel­op­ing a new show for her­self as both the star and an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. Pre­mier­ing Thurs­day, June 20, ABC’s “Reef Break” – filmed in Mont­gomery’s na­tive Aus­tralia – casts her as Cat Cham­bers, a for­mer thief now work­ing for a Pa­cific is­land’s gov­er­nor to fix what­ever sit­u­a­tion needs fix­ing. Of­ten com­pli­cat­ing her ef­forts are her ex-hus­band (Ray Steven­son, “Rome”), who hap­pens to be an FBI agent, and the police de­tec­tive (Des­mond Chiam, “Now Apoca­lypse”) who’s her cur­rent love in­ter­est.

“It was al­most more busy in its own weird way than the simple, lovely job of show­ing up to do a TV show once it’s al­ready all put to­gether,” the pleas­ant Mont­gomery says of be­ing in on “Reef Break’s” ground floor. “Putting one to­gether is some­thing else, but it’s amaz­ing. It took us a while to get this from idea to screen.”

Mont­gomery re­ports that she started to for­mu­late “Reef Break” dur­ing her jour­ney with “Un­for­get­table,” a show that was can­celed and “un­canceled” twice: “Dur­ing one of those ‘can­celed’ pe­ri­ods, we went and filmed a sort of ‘siz­zle reel’ (or sam­ple) for this show on phones in Hawaii, and that was sort of the be­gin­ning of what was ‘Reef Break.’ The set­ting is now a place we’ve cre­ated that is a U.S. ter­ri­tory. It doesn’t re­ally ex­ist, so we can make up our own rules.”

That’s also the case with Cat, who evolved from Mont­gomery’s thought that “I need to be a crim­i­nal, I’ve been a cop for so long in my ca­reer! One of the in­spi­ra­tions was ‘Point Break’ and Pa­trick Swayze’s char­ac­ter; Cat’s sort of a mem­ber of a surf­ing gang who’s a crim­i­nal, but she al­ways falls in love with cops. She also drives boats re­ally fast and jet-skis, so it’s sort of ev­ery­thing I’d never done all rolled into one char­ac­ter.” Birth­date: June 15, 1972

Birth­place: Syd­ney, New South Wales, Aus­tralia

Cur­rent res­i­dence: Los An­ge­les

Mar­i­tal sta­tus: Mar­ried to Mi­crosoft ex­ec­u­tive Shawn San­ford; she has a daugh­ter and a son with him, and a son from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship Other tele­vi­sion cred­its in­clude: “Un­for­get­table,” “A Sur­ro­gate’s Night­mare,” “Signed, Sealed, De­liv­ered: From Paris With Love,” “Magic Be­yond Words: The J.K. Rowl­ing Story,” “Ly­ing to Be Per­fect,” “With­out a Trace,” “Rais­ing Way­lon,” “Glory Days,” “Go­ing to Cal­i­for­nia,” “Blonde,” “The Beat,” “Rel­a­tiv­ity,” “NYPD Blue,” “Party of Five,” “Silk Stalk­ings”

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