(written from a Production point of view)
Melinda Clarke (born 24 April 1969; age 53) is the American actress who portrayed the Suliban Sarin in the Star Trek: Enterprise first season episode "Broken Bow". She is perhaps best known for her role as Julie Cooper on the television drama series The O.C.
Clarke was born in Dana Point, California, and moved to Los Angeles when she was eighteen years old. She married Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Ernie Mirich on 28 June 1997; they have one daughter together, Catherine Grace, born in 2001.
Clarke got her start playing Faith Taylor on the soap opera Days of Our Lives in 1989 and 1990. She then appeared in a 1991 episode of Jake and the Fatman with Tricia O'Neil and a 1994 episode of The George Carlin Show with Michael G. Hagerty.
Clarke's first series as a main cast member was the syndicated fantasy drama Heaven Help Us, which ran briefly in 1994. On this series, Clarke played half of a recently-deceased recently-married couple must help the living under the guidance of the angel Mr. Shepherd, played by Ricardo Montalban.
Her next series was the syndicated action drama Soldier of Fortune, in which she played Margo Vincent, a former CIA case officer who specialized in languages and cryptography. This series ran for two seasons from 1997 through 1999; Star Trek: Voyager guest actor Mark A. Sheppard was also a regular on this series.
Clarke appeared as the Amazonian goddess Velasca in two episodes of Xena: The Warrior Princess in 1997. That same year, she guest-starred on the science fiction series Sliders, on the action drama series Nash Bridges (with Francis Guinan and Aaron Lustig), on the hit NBC series Seinfeld. On the latter series, she worked with series regular Jason Alexander and fellow guest stars Richard Fancy and Viola Stimpson.
In 2002 and 2003, Clarke played the recurring role of Detective Olivia Cahill on the crime drama series The District. Among the performers she worked with on this series were Joanna Cassidy, Pancho Demmings, Richard Fancy, Jennifer Savidge, and series regular Roger Aaron Brown. In 2003, Clarke played Nandi in the "Heart of Gold" episode of the cult science fiction series Firefly, on which Ron Glass was a regular.
Clarke played Julie Cooper on The O.C. throughout all of the show's four seasons, from 2003 through 2007. On the show, Clarke's character marries CEO Caleb Nichol, who was played by Star Trek Nemesis actor Alan Dale. Later on, after Nichol died, Clarke's character becomes engaged to Dr. Neil Roberts, who was portrayed by fellow Enterprise guest star Michael Nouri. Other performers whom Clarke worked with on this series included Billy Campbell and Star Trek: Voyager regular Jeri Ryan.
In addition, Clarke has guest-starred on such series as The Pretender (with Barbara Babcock, Charles Lucia, Don Mirault, and Michael Wiseman), Charmed (with Daniel Betances), Everwood (with Stephanie Niznik), Tremors (with Matt Malloy), Entourage (with Malcolm McDowell), and Reaper (with Ray Wise). She also made a return to Nash Bridges, in an episode with Caroline Lagerfelt, Richard Libertini, Kenneth Mars, and Marc Worden.
In 2008, Clarke guest-starred on the NBC series Chuck, in an episode directed by Allan Kroeker. Her episode also featured John Larroquette and Bonita Friedericy. Star Trek: Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeill was a supervising producer on Chuck at the time. Also in 2008, Clarke had a brief recurring role as Dr. Lee on the series Eli Stone, during which time she worked with Jonathan Banks, Michael Buchman Silver, and the aforementioned Stephanie Niznik. Two of Clarke's episodes made it to air; she had filmed a third episode but the series was canceled before it could premiere.
From 2010 to 2013, Clarke portrayed Division interrogator Amanda (birth name, Helen Collins) on the CW action/drama Nikita.
Clarke made her film debut in the 1991 comedy Hot Under the Collar. Soon after, she worked with Judy Geeson and Gregory Itzin on a film called Young Goodman Brown. She then had a supporting role in the 1993 horror movie Return of the Living Dead III.
Clarke played the lead in the 1995 romantic drama Return to Two Moon Junction. Louise Fletcher played Clarke's grandmother in this film. Clarke then had a small role as a cigarette girl in the crime drama Mulholland Falls, which also featured Louise Fletcher, as well as with Ed Lauter, Michael Krawic, Titus Welliver, Buddy Joe Hooker, Johnny Martin, and Azalea Davila.
Perhaps Clarke's best-known film role is that of assassin Jessica Priest in the 1997 comic book-based action hit Spawn. Her character was one of the two villains responsible for the title character's death, not knowing he would be resurrected as a vengeful, undead hellspawn by the devil, Malebolgia (voiced by Frank Welker). John Cothran, Jr., also appeared in this film.
Clarke has starred in two films produced and directed by her husband, Ernie Mirich. The first was 1997's Critics and Other Freaks with Brian Tochi. The second was 2002's Cold Freak. Her other film credits include the 2002 thriller Dynamite with Tom Wright. She also lent her voice to the "Matriculated" segment of the animated direct-to-video movie Animatrix (set in the universe of the Matrix films). Olivia d'Abo and Dwight Schultz lent their voices to this segment, as well.
The recurring role for which Clarke is infamous is as dominatrix Lady Heather Kessler on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation from 2001 to the end of the series in 2015. Although she began her time on the series in the second season "Slaves of Las Vegas", it was not until the third season when she would work with fellow Trek alumni, and that first transpired when she played the title role in "Lady Heather's Box"(2003) and by this time, Wallace Langham had joined the cast. Also appearing were fellow recurring performer Timothy Carhart in his final appearance as Eddie Willows as well as TNG guest Amy Pietz. Clarke would not return until the sixth season in the Nazi-themed "Pirates of the Third Reich"(2006). By this point, Liz Vassey was added and included another recurring face in the form of Tony Amendola in his role as handwriting expert professor Stuart Rambar. A year later in the seventh season, Clarke would crack the whip in 2007's "The Good, The Bad & The Dominatrix, once again playing the episode's titlular character, this time working with Rif Hutton. Clarke returned for her last appearance with onscreen love interest William Peterson's Gil Grissom before the series would come to an end in the ninth season "Leave Out All the Rest(2008) also featuring Peyton List. This would also be the third and final time Clarke would work with Vassey as the latter would be fired from the show after the tenth season in 2010. A year after Vassey's dismissal, Clarke would be back in the eleventh season outing "Unleashed" with Abby Brammell. Nearly a half decade would go without a sighting of Lady Heather until the finale movie "Immortality".