Carrie Preston took a one-episode gig on "The Good Wife" as Elsbeth Tascioni and turned it into not only a fan-favorite role, but an Emmy-nominated one as well.
Preston received a Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination for the 2013 Emmy Awards and she said she still feels like she's floating on air. But the night before the Emmy nominations were announced, she had something else on her mind.
"Literally the night before I was thinking about what I was going to say to people again when they asked me why I wasn't nominated ... People always ask you that and there's never a really elegant way to answer that question. It's like, 'I don't know why I wasn't nominated' ... People were asking me that last year -- 'Why weren't you nominated? You should've been nominated.' That's all I was thinking about," Preston said in a phone interview with HuffPost TV. "I was not thinking how I was going to answer the question, 'What did it feel like to be nominated?' It was fun."
She may not have given the nomination any thought the night before, but Preston, who also stars on HBO's "True Blood," said she'll be preparing a speech ... just in case.
"If I win, I don't want to get up there and just ramble," she said. "There's no guarantee that if I do win I will even remember what I wrote ... but I do think it's our responsibility as actors to try and learn some lines for that moment."
On "The Good Wife," Preston's recurring character is a little ... strange. She has her own set of quirks and tics that Preston has described as "cayenne pepper." Elsbeth does indeed add a spice to the CBS series that Emmy voters recognized this year, but why this year as opposed to last?
"Gosh, I wish I knew ... I feel like it's people like you, people who have been behind me in the press," she said. "When you're a character actress, a lot of people don't know your name -- they don't connect the dots. I don't know if you've ever looked at one of those Emmy ballots, but they are huge. People just go through and it takes a really long time. I think people just go and vote for people that they know, their friends or names they recognize. Maybe that helped. I guess just having more episodes under my belt so it's cumulative helped too. I don't know. I was just pleased that my peers put me in the company of those other fierce, amazing women."
Preston is set to return to "The Good Wife" for the show's upcoming fifth season, creators Robert and Michelle King announced, but she doesn't know much more than that. "We keep calling the casting director going, 'OK, is there an offer coming in? Because they're saying it is in the press.' When you're a guest, they usually do those deals literally right before you start shooting. I'm hoping I'll be shooting. So far, they only talked to me about one episode, so we'll see. I would do anything to be on the show. Whenever they'll have me, I will be there, assuming HBO will let me. They have to ask permission."
While Preston doesn't know what she'll be doing when she reenters the world of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), she's given some thought about what she wants to see happen.
"I'd love to see the relationship with Josh Perrotti, played by Kyle MacLachlan ... played out more. I'd love more scenes with him, maybe get them in a relationship because they were leading up to that," she said. "It would just be a fun and interesting offshoot of the main storyline. I don't know if that would really fit, but that would be fun to do."
Preston has an impressive TV resume. In addition to recurring on "The Good Wife" and being a regular on "True Blood" -- don't bother asking her about the big death rumors, her lips are sealed -- Preston recurs on "Person of Interest." Though she's also appeared on "Lost," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Royal Pains," there are a few shows she hasn't yet had the opportunity to be on: Netflix breakout hit "Orange Is The New Black" and NBC family drama "Parenthood."
"I'm a huge 'Parenthood' fan ... I think that style of shooting would be really fun to do because they're really loose and they seem to improv a lot. I tend to want to do things that I would not normally get to do," she said.
With so many roles under her belt, Preston said she'd be OK with only being remembered as Elsbeth on "The Good Wife." "It's such a singular role. I don't know of any other roles quite like that on TV," she said. "I would definitely be happy with that."
Tune in for the 2013 Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS to see if Preston takes home the gold.
"The Good Wife" returns Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
CORRECTION: This story has been edited to accurately reflect that Carrie Preston received an Emmy nomination in the Best Guest Actress in a Drama category.