Margo Martindale: ‘I played a nice neighbor for years. I’m happy to be murdering people’

Margo Martindale is promoting the third season of Sneaky Pete, which premiered on Amazon Prime last week. I haven’t watched it yet but I’ve heard so many good things about it. We’ve only covered Margo on her own one other time and there’s a lot of love for her. That was a couple of months ago when she said that she’s happy to get more work now that she’s in her 60s. The type of work Margot is getting is different too! She told Seth Meyers on late night that she loves playing the conniving murdering characters like in her roles on Justified, The Americans and Sneaky Pete. She was so interesting and funny, I just loved this interview. I’m transcribing some of it but watch it below, she’s awesome. She even talked about her role on Bojack Horseman as herself!

[Are the roles you’re getting] different than when you first started out?
I played a very nice next door neighbor for so many years that I’m very happy to be murdering all the time.

You were stone cold on Justified.
Oh yes. Wasn’t it fun?!

The Americans really nailed its ending
It ended with such class and [was] understated. I could almost tear up thinking about how it ended.

I heard you made one request the creators did not grant
I wanted to slit yet another throat. They didn’t let me. I just ate some soup.

You got high praise for your portrayal of a KGB agent
An ex KGB agent stopped me several times and told me [in accent] ‘You’re the real deal.’

You live in NY City
I’ve lived in New York City for 46 years. I’ve lived in the same apartment for 41 years.

Are you things you miss about the 80s?
I miss the prostitutes and the pimps on my block. I got asked by a pimp if I wanted to go to work for him. I was very flattered.

You were a private investigator?
I was Margo Martindale, private dick. They made me do a lot of phone work. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. I called up pretending to be someone else.

You play a version of yourself on Bojack Horseman, a bankrobber who is in prison.
Yes. My husband, after I won my second Emmy I guess, wanted to see if it was on Wikipedia yet. [It said] Margo Martindale spent her last year in prison for armed robbery.

Can she just be in all the things please? She’s hilarious. I have a confession to make though. I haven’t watched the last season of The Americans yet. I know that’s ridiculous, I just didn’t want it to end and so I kept putting it off. I even deleted it off my DVR thinking I would wait. Maybe I’ll watch Sneaky Pete first, my mom loves it.

Hearing that she’s been in the same apartment for over 40 years, I wonder if hers is rent controlled. I’ve heard of people staying in their NY apartments for decades like that. One of my friends in NY lived in her parents’ old apartment that they’d had since before she was born.

Here’s the interview! Watch it and you’ll want to hang out with her.

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Photos credit: WENN and Getty

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31 Responses to “Margo Martindale: ‘I played a nice neighbor for years. I’m happy to be murdering people’”

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  1. GR says:

    I love Margo! She was incredible in Justified, too. And they do a very good job with the end of The Americans. Subtle but good. I think you won’t be disappointed

  2. Eliza says:

    She was terrific in the Americans. Ha I bet an ex agent went up to her, she was so good.

  3. mycomment says:

    she is soooo good in the americans.. and I wish they’d update the series and bring it back about how Russia has installed its own stooge into the white house..
    sounds like she must live around times square/midtown west area.. there’s an apt complex that initially had artists/actors types as occupants (I had two friends who lived there and the rents were affordable). nothing is affordable in nyc these days. and times sq is a friggin tourist trap; unlike in the olden days of porn shops/theatres, pimps/whores and drug dealers.. I used to work nearby and walked thru daily — always an experience, when the city was interesting.

    • GR says:

      @Mycomment – agreed, the city is unbelievable. I just had to move out after 20+ years because there was nothing I could afford.

      • mycomment says:

        i feel it… i moved to carroll gardens 26 years ago when it was a very dicey neighborhood — advised to never walk down smith st after 5p .. cause you’d get mugged. lol. nowadays you’re more likely to get run over by some 30yo on a motorized scooter (or a 4yo). and not only that but haven’t had a rent increase in 20 years! which is unheard of. but i do live in fear of what happens when/if they decide to sell — cause i could never afford to live here now. and i’ve actually seen trust fund bros (who have taken over the neighborhood) standing outside looking over maps and eyeing the house. although the landlord says it wouldn’t be worth it to sell, because the proceeds would be split among several family members and between that and taxes, they’re better off just hanging on to the properties with a steady income.
        i hate the idea of leaving; but realize at some point i’m going to have to..

    • Esmom says:

      Yes to an update on the show! I would love to see where the all characters would land in this new era, it would really be fascinating. They have so much material to work with, too!

  4. Lightpurple says:

    I LOVE her.

  5. Jerusha says:

    She’s great and I understand putting off watching the last season of The Americans-I waited a year and a half to watch the last season of Justified. I didn’t want to let go of Raylan, et al.

  6. Jenns says:

    I love her. The Wikipedia entry about Bojack Horseman is pretty funny.

  7. Enough S Enough says:

    One of the best, most fascinating actors working today.

    Don’t delay on that last season of THE AMERICANS. It was outstanding. The final ep is heart-pounding amazing.

  8. Lama Bean says:

    I enjoyed her recurring stint on The Good Wife as well.

  9. Lucy2 says:

    Her performance on justified was one of the best to ever appear on TV. I’m so glad she won awards for it, and it led to such great work for her.
    More Margo!

  10. Harryg says:

    She’s very good. I’m glad she’s so successful now.

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    She’s so stellar. Her roles bring excellence to every story. I didn’t wanna watch that last season of Americans either, but I finally did. So good. So hauntingly still yet moving. If she’s part of the cast, I immediately think it’s worth watching lol.

  12. Kylie says:

    Margo is incredibly talented. She is chilling when playing a murderer because she looks harmless.

    • Esmom says:

      So true. She was amazing as a KGB operative, disguised as a regular grandma, lol.

  13. original_kellybean says:

    I watched the first season of Sneaky Pete and loved it – I really enjoy Alfonso Ribeiro’s acting (let’s not get started on his religious beliefs – scientology). But it took quite a while for the second season to become available that when I tried watching it, I completely forgot about all the characters and what had happened in the first season, so I just gave up.

    • olive says:

      you mean Giovanni Ribisi? Alfonso Ribeiro is the guy from the Fresh Prince

      • original_kellybean says:

        Yes, thank you. I was too lazy to look up the spelling of his name and if I had, I would have realized that I was referencing the wrong person entirely.

  14. Barbara Rady says:

    I just watched season 3 of Sneaky Pete. What an incredible series and she is beyond AWESOME!!!
    Love her and can’t wait until season 4!

  15. lolalola3 says:

    Oh I love Margo SO much. She was so nice in Dexter then so evil in Justified…However, it was her evil character that got my neighbors to learn how to make apple pie moonshine. So THANK YOU MARGO! That stuff is delicious. Dangerous as hell but damn good.

  16. a reader says:

    Margo is the best!

    I am slowly working my way through the Americans – which is on Amazon Prime for free – and as a child of the 80s it just hits all the right notes for me. I’m on season five and it’s just soooooooo good.

    • Esmom says:

      I did the same thing, was late to it, and I actually needed a couple attempts to get sucked in. It was the best show I’v watched in a while and I’ve been at a loss to find anything else since!

      As far as 80s accuracy, I will say that no one I knew in the 80s had hair as beautiful as Keri. Pretty much everyone had some layered monstrosity with terrible bangs and anyone with long, lovely hair was a throwback to the 70s, I think.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I didn’t know it was on Amazon Prime! Thank you!

  17. susiecue says:

    She’s got such a great personality! And I love everything I’ve seen her in. Def want to go get a pedi and a cocktail with her.

  18. Andrea says:

    I adored her in the Americans!

  19. Swan Lake says:

    She’s a favorite of mine!

  20. A says:

    Love love LOVED her on The Americans. Her character was so good. SO GOOD. Her whole dynamic with Keri Russell/Elizabeth Jennings on the show was fascinating and exceptional beyond all measure. I’m still so angry that Keri didn’t win the Emmy, and that so many people STILL sleep on The Americans as a show.

  21. Mash says:

    she is so lowkey….i literally am inspired by her…like shes this heavy hitter lowkey creative and she and her husband live a lowkey city life….no drama

    MY DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!