KatherineHeiglFrom Izzie in Greys Anatomy to Jane in 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl’s signature sweetheart roles usually don’t bring the word “badass” to mind. However, tonight, Heigl makes her long-anticipated television return in NBC’s State of Affairs playing a tough-as-nails CIA analyst. Heigl recently stopped byThe Morning Jolt with Larry Flick to voice why she is not concerned with being America’s golden girl anymore – onscreen or off.

“I didn’t want [my character] to be sweet,” Heigl said. “I wanted her to be strong and unapologetic. I didn’t want her using her feminine wiles to get ahead. I didn’t want her using her charm and her grace and her beauty or whatever to get people to give her what she wanted or to get her way. I didn’t want to see that kind of woman on television anymore.”

Recently, Heigl has been battered by the usual Hollywood rumor mill. From being hard to work with on set to taking part in the adult entertainment industry, Heigl’s heard it all. However, her return to television signifies that she is not broken down by what others might think or say about her.

“There’s no sense in hiding,” Heigl said. “Hiding away and living in a weird bubble of fear of what people think about you … It wasn’t terribly satisfying, and I really, really like what I do.”

Heigl even addressed the infamous Isaiah Washington-TR Knight debacle during her Greys Anatomy days. Flick commended her on her outspokenness in the situation and her advocacy for the LGBTQ community.

“I don’t think [Isaiah Washington] meant that to happen the way it did. I think he also spoke in a heated moment,” Heigl said. “TR [Knight] was so incredibly hurt that night and so humiliated. It broke my heart. He is my best friend, and he’s family to me, and I couldn’t tolerate it.”

State of Affairs has Heigl less concerned with pop culture dramatics and more concerned with the goings on in the real world – which, frighteningly enough, are not unlike what goes on in the political thriller’s script.

“We shot the pilot last March. One of the threats we’re dealing with is the abduction of an American doctor who is in Africa doing work for Doctors Without Borders, and he and some of his colleagues are kidnapped. And one of his colleagues is beheaded. And as we were deep into episode two or three, the ISIS started to come into real awareness. I was in my trailer. CNN was on, and they were talking about that poor journalist who was beheaded. And I’m going ‘Oh my God. It’s like life imitating art in a way.’ It was very unsettling.”

A stronger and wiser Katherine Heigl makes her comeback to the small screen this Monday at 10 pm ET on NBC.

“It’s terrifying,” Heigl said. “I’m a real bury-my-head-in-the-sand type of gal, so I don’t watch the news. I don’t read the paper … So now I’m playing this CIA agent, and it’s my job to be more aware and to have more information and more knowledge about the world I’m living in. Not just this country, but the world.”

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