Laurie Fortier talks ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Unsolved,’ and More!

Courtesy of Laurie Fortier

In some of the recent episodes of The Walking Dead from this past year, fans were introduced some of fan-favorite character Maggie’s new friends whom she met during her time away. One of them, most notably, was Agatha. Portrayed by actress Laurie Fortier, Agatha was described by Maggie as one of their group’s “best fighters.”

Recently, Fandomize had an opportunity to chat with Laurie Fortier herself; check out the interview below!

Shaun Hood: Walking Dead fans may argue that there’s not much we know about Agatha, but it’s for sure that – according to Maggie – she was a strong fighter. How did being aware of this characteristic play into the way you portrayed her?

Laurie Fortier: Well, I did know that she was a strong fighter. I came to learn that Agatha was a knife expert. Those were my weapons of choice, two knives. I don’t think it read on camera, which is unfortunate because they actually went to great lengths to design my wardrobe with these sleeves that you could tuck these stiletto knives into. It was very cool. They really spent a lot of time and effort trying to design the knife. The first one they had was too long. The next one was shorter so that I could just do this and then pull them out and go to town. So, I also had some weapons training to learn how to use the knives, of course. That was really cool. I learned Filipino Knife… whatever you call it! Of course, my 18-year-old son just completely made fun of me when I came home.

Josh Stringer/AMC

Along with being a strong fighter, I also knew that she was the leader of the Wardens. So, that helped to create her character and create the world of Meridian and what life would have been like with Maggie in it, and the Wardens were clearly very fond of Maggie and incredibly loyal to her. So, it would be interesting to see more of what life may have been like there in Meridian with Maggie. I built the character around knowing that she was the leader of the Wardens, that she was this bad-ass knife expert, and I always feel it’s interesting that Lauren and I sort of look similar. I’m like an older version and I think that was maybe on purpose and it feels almost like I’m her shadow side. I’m Maggie’s warrior side. If Maggie wasn’t a mom, she would be like an Agatha. That’s kind of how I saw the character.

SH: Cool. Yeah, and about Maggie, even though she is a mom by now, I think she still is a warrior in a way. She’s pretty assertive. I’ve always liked her.

LF: We really see in this new season how that warrior side of Maggie comes out and how she is just determined to carry on with the mission. She is relentless in that quest, and I think, at the end of the day, she’s a mother, so she’s motivated by needing food. So, it sets up a nice dynamic with her and Negan.

SH: Even though Agatha was only in a few episodes of The Walking Dead, is there any part of her as a character or this experience that simply will not fade away in your mind?

LF: Oh, a hundred percent. Yes. It was one of the best experiences I had. I mean, first of all, this world is such an incredible world to step into. It’s like this big “what if?” Because of what’s happened this last year with the pandemic, I think pre-pandemic, we never in a million years would’ve thought a zombie apocalypse could actually happen, but then the pandemic hit and it was like, “Wait a second.” It kind of shifted everybody’s mindset. So, to get to jump into that world and play out this “what if technology didn’t exist? What if you had to live off the land? And what if every day was this do or die, life or death circumstance?” It was really, really cool. Yeah. It was one of my more favorite roles in my recent years acting.

SH: What was it like working with Walking Dead legend, Lauren Cohan?

LF: Amazing. We bonded. She’s a sweetheart. She’s lovely. She’s got no ego whatsoever and she’s incredibly intelligent and it turns out we studied with the same acting coach years ago so we spoke the same language creatively, which was cool. I liked Lauren a lot. She was awesome.

SH: Agatha came into the picture during August’s season premiere of The Walking Dead as a survivor whom Maggie had met during her time away. So speaking of Maggie, from what you understand about Agatha as a character, do you think there was anything in particular about Maggie that made her someone Agatha wanted to follow?

Josh Stringer/AMC

LF: Yes. Well, I think it kind of goes in line with what I was saying earlier in that we’re very much similar. I am sort of like Maggie’s shadow self. I’m the reflection of her warrior self and she would be the reflection of me if I were a mother. Probably during the time in Meridian, I think we taught her how to fight and she I think taught us maybe how to farm and how to live off the land more efficiently. So, I think it was probably a mutual symbiotic relationship that we each gained something off of.

SH: We’ve talked a lot about your role in the final season of The Walking Dead, but I know that you also played a real-life police officer in the USA series, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.; could you tell us a little bit about that series and your role?

LF: Yes. That too, was a cool series to be a part of just because of the story of Biggie and Tupac and how they died, and if there was a connection and the fact that they never found the killer. It’s this infamous story. I was living in LA at the time in my twenties, and I literally lived like three blocks away from where it happened at the Petersen Automotive Center where he was gunned down on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. The music was also popular, so the story meant a lot to me.

So, Greg Kading is the real-life detective that wrote the book in which the series was based off of. Josh Duhamel played Greg and I played Greg’s wife, Donna Kading, who in real life was a cop, and then became a mom. Greg became obsessed with figuring the murder out. So, ultimately, it ended up breaking up their marriage. But anyway, the real-life Donna and Greg are very cool and we’re still friends and they’re my peeps. I love those guys. So, it was cool. I got to keep in touch with them and they could share all kinds of cool cop stories with me.

SH: Is there anything else you’re working on or have coming up that you’d like our readers to know about?

LF: Well, right now I’m working on the show, 9-1-1. It’s with Angela Bassett and I’m guest-starring on it. So, that’s exciting. In fact, I have to film it later today. I also just finished this Lifetime movie that I’m pretty proud of because I got to play this Ghislaine Maxwell-inspired character (Ghislaine Maxwell, of the Jeffrey Epstein story, of course). I’ve always been fascinated with what makes her tick and what her story was. So, I got to play this evil character in that one. So, it wasn’t your typical Lifetime fare. Those are the two things.

The Walking Dead Season 11 is currently airing on AMC. Find Laurie Fortier on Twitter and Instagram @Laurie4ta.