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Romantic role appeals to actress Amy Acker

Dylan Bruce and Amy Acker star in the Hallmark movie A Novel Romance.
Dylan Bruce and Amy Acker star in the Hallmark movie A Novel Romance. Crown Media

Sometimes a girl just wants romance.

Not that Amy Acker is complaining about her work on Person of Interest. The Dallas native is having the time of her life on the show, which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on CBS.

She plays Root, a weirdly charismatic hacker with a complicated attachment to a sentient supercomputer. Every episode of the high-tech vigilante thriller is packed with action, plot twists and paranoid commentary about our surveillance culture.

It’s everything an actress could want. Well, almost everything.

“Not a whole lot of romantic comedy vibe to Person of Interest,” Acker says, “though Root and Shaw have had their moments.”

But the flirtatious feuding between Acker and co-star Sarah Shahi’s characters, which built to a fan-pleasing farewell kiss earlier this week, doesn’t exactly count as romantic comedy.

To satisfy that craving, Acker had to look elsewhere — and she found it in Hallmark Channel’s A Novel Romance, which premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The SMU grad (Class of ’99) plays an unlucky-in-love literary critic who meets the perfect guy, played by Orphan Black’s Dylan Bruce. There’s just one possible snag: He’s a superstar romance novelist hiding behind a pen name — and she has panned his new book.

Such are the problems that conspire to keep couples apart in romance flicks.

“Somehow it becomes believable in the story hopefully, and you get to root for the happily ever after,” Acker says. “I thought the script was cute. And nice that no one gets killed!”

That said, Acker thinks A Novel Romance is more than just a run-of-the-mill love story.

“When I read the movie, what spoke to me was, first I liked that it was a sweet, happy movie, but I also thought there were some interesting themes about trust — or maybe the lack of — that really drive the story and make it compelling,” she explains.

Acker has a thoughtful approach to and a compelling presence in just about every role she takes on. That’s part of the reason her co-stars adore her so.

Says Michael Emerson, who plays Finch on Person of Interest: “Beneath that shy and feminine demeanor, there is a prowling, ravenous, theatrical animal. She can chew up scenery with the best of them. You always know that you’re in the big leagues when you’re doing a scene with her.”

Adds Shahi: “The dynamic between our characters, it’s very interesting. You’re never sure in the show if we want to kill each other or kiss each other. I mean, I think their idea of foreplay would be tasering one another. I’ve loved working with her. I’ve had my share of ‘hinky’ female co-stars in the past, so to have someone so sweet and wonderful and confident and secure in her work is a gift.”

Acker enjoys doing the show because it’s a rich combination of intelligent storytelling and adrenaline thrills, although the Big Brother Is Watching premise gives her pause about the world we live in.

“It definitely has raised my awareness,” she says. “I feel like there is so much in the news right now that pertains to our show. We started out as a science-fiction show and then, as information about the NSA was released, it became more of a reality show for a minute.

“Our writers now have these two super AIs at war with each other — and I start to get nervous about how much of this could become reality as we continue the race to develop AIs without really knowing the end result.”

A Novel Romance

▪ 8 p.m. Saturday

▪ Hallmark Channel

Person of Interest

▪ 9 p.m. Tuesday

▪ KTVT/Channel 11

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