LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Wendy Moniz attends the "Yellowstone" World Premiere at Paramount Studios on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Getty Images/David Crotty/Patrick McMullan

Who Plays Governor Lynelle Perry on 'Yellowstone'? Wendy Moniz Brings the Aspiring Senator to Life

Wendy Moniz plays Governor Lynelle Perry on the Paramount Network's popular western series Yellowstone. An ally of Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) as he aimed to get his start in the world of politics, Perry is also the center of a heaping helping of romantic will-they or won't-they tension with John Dutton (Kevin Costner), which has created some interesting circumstances ever since the first season. It looks like there might be more in store for Perry and Dutton based on the trailer for Yellowstone season 5.

Moniz lends years of talent to her role as Perry, whose future in Yellowstone isn't yet completely clear-cut — the character has announced her intention to step down as governor of Montana and run for the Senate. Moniz is a prolific actress, however, and you'll see much more of her going forward as she's been upped to series regular for season 5 (or you've seen her several times in the past). With her character's intriguing relationship with the Dutton family, fans are likely looking to learn a bit more about Moniz and how her career led her here, an enigmatic character on the periphery of Yellowstone.

Who is Wendy Moniz?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Wendy Moniz arrives to the premiere of Open Road Films' "The Grey" on January 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Wendy Moniz is an American actress who's best known for several roles, including Dinah Marler in Guiding Light and Rachel McCabe in Nash Bridges. The veteran talent has flexed her acting muscle in a variety of roles, appearing in a variety of legal dramas and portraying a litany of unique characters.

She didn't have to wait long to break into television. After graduating from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, in 1991, the Missouri native got her first big break in acting at 25 in the long-running soap opera Guiding Light as Dina Marler in 1995. She appeared in 151 episodes of the series as the character, who had previously been portrayed by actress Paige Turco from 1987 to 1989.

She remained a series regular until 1999, and was nominated for two Soap Opera Digest Awards, later returning as a guest star in 2000 and 2002.

Here's where you've seen Wendy Moniz before

Beyond her long-running role in Guiding Light, Moniz has appeared in a wide variety of TV series, including the made-for-TV movie Tuesdays with Morrie in 1999 as Janine. Her next major recurring role came in 2001, where she took on the character of Inspector Rachel McCabe in Nash Bridges, who appeared in 22 episodes of the action drama. She acted opposite Don Johnson and Cheech Marin as Insp. McCabe, winning her several fans along the way.

It was one high-profile gig after another after that, as just a year later, Moniz jumped to the legal drama The Guardian, where she played protagonist Nick Fallin's (Simon Baker) boss and love interest that neither can seem to move on from. As Lulu Archer, Moniz's relationship with Fallin was one of the most important pillars of the series, which served as some of the juiciest parts of the drama, especially as the show reached its conclusion and the characters ended up parting.

If you've seen Moniz's face around and it wasn't on Guiding Light, you likely caught her in one of these roles, or one of the others she ended up snagging later on throughout her career, as she's been a prolific part of the television landscape.

Working with Glenn Close

NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Actress Wendy Moniz attends the Season 3 premiere of "Damages" at the AXA Equitable Center on January 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

One of Moniz's next major projects found her working in tandem with actress Glenn Close on the FX legal drama Damages. Close portrayed ruthless litigation attorney Patty Hewes, mentoring protege Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), while Moniz took on the role of Jill Burnham, the girlfriend of Hewes' son Michael (Zachary Booth). It's a disastrous, inappropriate relationship that blossoms as 17-year-old Michael takes on a job working at Burnham's art gallery, and Hewes sees red when she realizes what her son has gotten into.

Close wasn't the only high-profile actress Moniz worked alongside in Damages, as she also appeared alongside William Hurt, Ted Danson, William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant, Lily Tomlin, Martin Short, John Goodman, and Marcia Gay Harden. It was by far one of the most star-studded roles of her career at the time and one that she's still recognized for today.

Yellowstone and other notable roles

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Wendy Moniz attends the "Yellowstone" World Premiere at Paramount Studios on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Beyond her appearance in Damages, Moniz went on to tackle several additional roles, from a series regular for a few episodes of the soap One Life to Live as Mayor Kathleen Finn, the wife of a corporate attorney, Elaine McAllister in the drama Betrayal, and a tough-talking attorney named Roxanne Dunn in Kingdom.

She once again appeared opposite high-profile actors when she tackled the role of Laura Moretti in House of Cards alongside Kevin Spacey as Rep. Francis "Frank" Underwood and his wife Claire (Robin Wright). Moretti, the widow of a kidney donor above Underwood, is the target of some very creepy attention from Underwood's White House Chief of Staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly).

Moniz went on to appear in Law and Order: Organized Crime ahead of making her way to Yellowstone, arguably one of her biggest appearances yet.

Fans may be surprised to learn that Moniz had to do her fair share of research before taking on the role of Lynelle Perry in Yellowstone. Speaking to Monsters & Critics, Moniz felt that much of the script she was given for Perry was like a different way of speaking. As her character was representing the ranches of Montana, she certainly had some homework to do.

"It was like another language, like the way the laws are with the livestock commission and what was going on with the reservations," Moniz told Monsters & Critics. "My audition was not huge, but I just felt like I needed to really research what was going on." Obviously, she overcame these concerns to bring Perry to life, but even veteran actors need to do a little prep work to settle into their roles.

"It was fascinating when I started researching it, because I wanted to go into the room to read, even though I wasn't giving speeches about that stuff," Moniz explained. "I wanted to understand who she was, and what she might have to deal with. I just wanted to really understand the world. Because I did not."

Most recently, Moniz added another credit to her lengthy career by appearing in FBI: Most Wanted as Judge April Brooks. This prolific actress will soon return to Yellowstone as we learn more about Perry and her candidacy for the senate, but she'll likely continue to book roles across all of the major networks. She's got this whole acting thing licked.

READ MORE: The Best 'Yellowstone' Quotes From Every Member of the Dutton Crew