The Line is a gritty, profanity-laced, sex- and violence-packed new Movie Central/The Movie Network series, leaping fully blown onto TV screens from a crack in the head of George F. Walker. Out of this dire landscape, populated by scumbag criminals and ethically lapsed cops, shines the bright light of Lucie Gaspardi, a woman Sarah Manninen portrays as a proud, loving, impassioned mother, doing her very best under difficult circumstances. Her prime antagonist is Carlos, her drug-dealing, anxiety-plagued husband, recently out of jail.

See more pics from Sarah´s photo shoot

“My character is in a constant struggle with her relationship to Carlos,” Manninen says. “And I found that very interesting. The character had a lot of layers ... so it was a huge challenge, but I loved every second of it. I think it was probably the best job I ever had.”

Manninen had previously appeared in two Walker theatrical productions, Better Living and Escape from Happiness. She was also featured in an episode of Walker’s CBC series This Is Wonderland. As a result, the dark and troubling aesthetic of The Line offered familiar yet demanding hurdles.

“It was a challenge for me across the board. I find the world of Walker to be a challenge emotionally. The character is intense, she’s hard-working, she’s a loving mother, she’s fiercely protective of her daughter. I’m not a mother myself so I found that a challenge. I was really interested in creating a relationship with the little girl who plays my daughter.”

Lucie Gaspardi is one of the few completely sympathetic characters in the series – and while, yes, the character is scripted that way, Manninen plays her with a perfect blend of toughness and vulnerability. The Line reveals an infernal urban landscape, Manninen’s Lucie a fallen angel in a world of ghouls.

Sarah Manninen met with TORO Woman photographer Franco Deleo at his studio for an exclusive photo shoot and shared more insights into her personality in this Q&A.

Q: What is the quality you like most in a man?
A: Compassion. Loyalty for sure. And a sense of humour!

Q: You just snuck that last one in there.
A: Yes, I did [laughs].

Q: The quality you like most in a woman?
A: Well, the same kind of things. Also, non-judgmental. And fun-loving. I want to have fun too!

Q: And those other qualities would apply to a man too.
A: Yes, they would.

Q: What is your present state of mind?
A: At peace.

Q: What is your greatest extravagance or indulgence?
A: Well, I do love clothes [laughs]. I’m embarrassed to say that I do love shoes as well. I know it’s so cliché. And I also love, um, nice face creams [laughs].

Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: It’s a little photo of my grandmother. It’s a beautiful photo in a little frame.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: I find it hard not to say Barack Obama, but I’ll also say for the Canadian side Michael Ignatieff. I’ve been interested in him for the past four years. I was doing a little volunteering for him too. I love politics. I’m a huge fan of politics. My parents have always been very passionate about it, so I come by it naturally.

Q: On what occasion do you lie?
A: To not hurt someone.

Q: Which talent – other than those you you’re blessed with – would you most like to have?
A: Oh, I know it. I’ve been trying to learn how to play the piano for a very long time, and I’m just not very good at it. So I would love to be able to play musical instruments very well, especially, the piano. But also the violin. I took violin lessons very briefly and I was awful. I found it very difficult.

Q: Other than your present occupation, what occupation would you like to try?
A: I feel it’s changed. Before I would have said that I’d like to work in a gallery, as a curator or something like that. But now I would probably say that I’d like to work in politics.

Q: If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A: A dog for sure. A wheaten terrier [laughs]. Every time I see wheatens they just seem very happy and content.

Q: In what place, other than this, would you like to live?
A: New York. But I also love Spain, I love Barcelona. If I could speak Spanish it would be Barcelona.

Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: I feel like I used to kind of be afraid of heights, but I think I’ve conquered it. I set out to conquer it. I was filming a scene on a Ferris wheel for an entire day in Montreal. And I had to sit on top of it, practically for the entire day. And that day I became afraid of heights. And then I had to really talk myself out of it for the next few years. But I would maybe say drowning now.

Q: What trait do you deplore most in others?
A: I hate when people are condescending. Like a sense of superiority. And jealousy I don’t like either.

Q: What trait do you deplore most in yourself?
A: That I worry too much. I’m too sensitive, maybe. I worry too much about when, for instance, a friend tells me their problem. Trying to solve everyone else’s problems.

Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: I really try to be honest with people and tell them how I feel. So, perhaps, in the past not being as honest as I would have like to have been. Or as assertive.

Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
A: Chastity.

Q: What is your motto?
A: Be appreciative of the present moment.

The Line premieres Monday, March 16 on Movie Central and The Movie Network. Available as a sneak peak On Demand as of Monday, March 2.