Pollyanna McIntosh previews Jadis’s return on The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: “She’s not sociopathic”

Jadis is back in a big way on this week’s episode of the hit AMC series.

Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /
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Jadis is back! In the cliffhanger of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, actress Pollyanna McIntosh made a not-so-surprise return to the franchise, popping up in Rick Grimes’s (Andrew Lincoln) room with whiskey in hand and a threat on her lips. And in fact, thanks to McIntosh’s appearance on The Ones Who Live, along with being featured as one of the main antagonists on The Walking Dead: World Beyond and of course The Walking Dead, she’s now the only actor to appear on three different Walking Dead series… At least so far.

“She's one of the most grounded and fun characters I've gotten to play in my work,” McIntosh told Bam Smack Pow about returning to the character. “She's fascinating. She's maddening. That's always fun. I'm quite a hyper person in my own life. I'm quite all over the shop as far as my focus sometimes, and I'm very childlike and exuberant and getting to play somebody who's so grounded and so purposeful, singularly purposeful, but still has a lot of fun with people, just has a beautifully calming effect on me. Odd to say that someone doing such terrible things is calming.”

To jump back in time quite a bit, Jadis was first introduced as the bizarre leader of a bunch of post-apocalyptic survivors living in a junkyard. And then after several seasons of wheeling and dealing, she became a crucial figure in the franchise thanks to picking up the near-dead body of Rick Grimes at the end of Season 9, Episode 5 “What Comes After,” loading him on a helicopter and bringing him medical attention in parts unknown.

Cut to World Beyond, and Jadis was no longer the stilted speech baddie of TWD, she was now warrant officer Jadis Stokes, agent of the CRM (Civic Republic Military), and a thorn in the side of that show’s heroes.

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Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: AMC /

“She sniffs out the rats, she keeps people in line, she keeps the course of what the CRM is trying to do in line,” McIntosh noted. “That's her whole purpose is to ensure that despite the sacrifices she has to make… Her hands are bloody and they couldn't get any bloodier and that's the choice she's made, not the most pleasurable.”

And now Jadis has returned once again, this time to help provide a little more connective fiber between her appearances on the three series, and fill in some of the gaps between that helicopter on TWD, and “now.” But even between the multiple accents, jumping time periods, and insanely different haircuts, McIntosh is always keeping track of who and what Jadis is now.

“Oh, I'm super anal about the continuity,” McIntosh said when asked if she’s just rolling with the scripts. “It's one of my things. I'm lucky enough to have a very collaborative relationship with [showrunner] Scott [M. Gimple] and with [Matthew] Negrete on World Beyond, and even people like Mikey Satrazemis who came in and directed on this iteration of the world. We're all gatekeepers of that continuity and of things making sense and things feeling that they're right in this world. And so yeah, I love her constant capacity to surprise, but I'm also very conscious of ensuring that she's acting true to form, true to who I see this person [is] as she develops in this world.”

Viewers will get to see a lot more of what Jadis is up to on this week’s episode of The Ones Who Live, “Bye.” So given Rick is already on thin ice with CRM, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) is now in the fold as well, what does this mean for our two heroes? Is Jadis about to make the reunited lovebirds’ lives a living hell?

“She's not sociopathic or enjoys others' pain in any way,” McIntosh continued. “We saw that in how she viewed Negan and people like Simon. She didn't approve of that way of working, but she's willing to make sacrifices for what she believes in. And in this case, she really feels that [CRM is] the last light of the world and that she's helping bring back a freer and a more joyful existence for humanity. It's just that it costs her a lot to do it.”

You can find out more about just what it will cost when The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live airs Sunday at 9/8c on AMC and AMC+. And head back here right after the East Coast airing of the episode for a full, spoiler-filled interview with McIntosh.

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