Courtney Thorne-Smith has been a working actress since she was 17 years old. And if you know anything about Hollywood, that is an amazing feat. Right now she’s starring in Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery for the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel and I had the chance to talk with her about her role in a BONUS episode of Motherhood in Hollywood.

She’s playing Emma, a brilliant, dedicated, and driven archaeologist who discovers artifacts that have been lost for hundreds of years–and she’s very, very good at it. Emma has recently unearthed evidence of a possible 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body she uncovers on the site pushes Emma into a different kind of exploration. Her dig site is suddenly in jeopardy of being shut down, due to the meddling of local treasure-hunters and a second suspicious murder. Emma must team with the handsome FBI Agent (James Tupper) investigating the case to dig up dirt on the killer, before Emma and her excavation are ancient history.

The movie is based on a series of novels by historical archeologist turned fiction writer Dana Cameron. Courtney tells me how she worked with an on-set archeology expert to learn the tools of the trade and dig deep into her character (pun intended!) I love that this movie centers around a strong female character that has a non-traditional career. Courtney tells me that Hallmark’s focus on strong female-driven stories is what drew her to this role.

We also chatted about her time on According to Jim and the major life changes she went through while playing Cheryl. She was single, got married, got pregnant and had a baby all during that show’s run. Most recently she was seen on the comedy hit Two and a Half Men where she recurred opposite Jon Cryer for the last five seasons of the show.

But many people remember her from her breakout role as Allison Parker in the much-loved primetime drama Melrose Place. All my 90’s ladies are like, yes I remember that!  We talked about her time on that show and her secret for a long career in Hollywood. We also talked about how becoming a mom changed her perspective on this industry, the types of jobs she takes now, and her view of social media that might surprise some fans.

It was such a pleasure getting to know Courtney better and I know you will enjoy it as well. After you listen to the podcast, make sure you tune in to watch Courtney in this very empowering and fun role. I know I will enjoy it even more now that I have some insights into the woman behind the character.

Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery also stars James Tupper (Revenge, Big Little Lies) and  premieres Sunday June 4th (9/8c) on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. You can see a preview here!