Saffron Burrows

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Saffron Burrows
Saffron Burrows (Straighten Crop).jpg
Burrows at 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2008
Saffron Domini Burrows

(1972-10-22) 22 October 1972 (age 50)
  • British
  • American
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1991–present
Alison Balian
(m. 2013; div. 2020)

Saffron Domini Burrows (born 22 October 1972)[1] is an English-American actress and model who has appeared in films such as Circle of Friends, Wing Commander, Deep Blue Sea, Gangster No. 1, Enigma, Troy, Reign Over Me and The Bank Job. On the small screen, she has starred as Lorraine Weller on Boston Legal, Dr. Norah Skinner on My Own Worst Enemy, Detective Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Victoria Hand on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. She appeared as Cynthia Taylor on the Amazon Video series Mozart in the Jungle and as Dottie Quinn in the Netflix series You.

Early life[edit]

A Londoner, Burrows was born in St Pancras and grew up in Stoke Newington, her mother a trade unionist and primary school teacher in Hackney and her father an architect and teacher. Her parents and stepfather were Socialist Workers Party members, and Burrows was politically active from a young age.[2][3]

Burrows attended William Tyndale Primary School in Islington and then Stoke Newington School. When asked for her preference of a school in Hackney or Hampstead, she said she wanted to be in a multicultural, inclusive environment. She enrolled in acting classes at the Anna Scher Theatre when she was 11.[4][5]

Burrows had a successful modelling career after she was discovered at age 15 in Covent Garden by fashion photographer Beth Boldt.[6][7] For five years she divided her time between London and Paris, where she learned French.[8] She found the modelling world's "obsession with the ideal of the body" troubling.[6][3]



Burrows made her film debut in 1993 with a small role in Jim Sheridan's In the Name of the Father. Her first significant acting roles came in 1995, as an ambitious young Irishwoman in Circle of Friends, and in Ngozi Onwurah's Welcome II The Terrordome.[9] She starred in the BBC production of Dennis Potter's Karaoke (1996),[10] and in Hotel de Love, Lovelife, Nevada, One Night Stand and The Matchmaker.[11] In 1999 she appeared in Mike Figgis' experimental film The Loss of Sexual Innocence, where she played twins: one raised in England, the other in Italy.[12] She appeared in the thriller film Deep Blue Sea, and had the title role in a film of Miss Julie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.[13]

In 1999 she appeared with Stellan Skarsgård in Timecode (2000), a split-screen digital experimental film shot in a single take with no edits. She followed it with Gangster No. 1 with Malcolm McDowell, Paul Bettany and David Thewlis.[11] She co-starred with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott in Michael Apted's 1940s drama Enigma.[14][15] She starred in Tempted, an improvised thriller set in New Orleans, with Burt Reynolds and Peter Facinelli.[16]

Mike Figgis' ensemble feature Hotel followed, re-uniting Burrows with some colleagues from Timecode, including Salma Hayek and Danny Huston in Venice, where she played the Duchess of Malfi. In 2002, she had a cameo role in Hayek's produced biopic Frida.

She then dedicated herself to stage work. She was directed by Deborah Warner at the Royal National Theatre in Jeanette Winterson's The Powerbook. The play toured, visiting the Theatre National Du Chaillot, Paris, and the Teatro Argentina, Rome. Burrows performed in Spanish in The Galindez File, a film written by Spanish novelist Vazquez Montalban about a woman seeking the truth about the disappearance of a critic of the Dominican dictator Trujillo.[17]

In 2004, she played the part of Andromache in Troy. In January 2005, she created the role of Janey in the world premiere of Earthly Paradise at the Almeida Theatre.[18] The play of a love triangle between Janey Morris; her husband William Morris, the writer and proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement; and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite painter.[19] Theatre critic Nicholas De Jongh said of her performance in The Earthly Paradise that "Burrows takes to the stage like a swan to water ... She deserves no end of watching."[20]

On 30 October 2005, she appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in a rehearsed reading of the 24-hour play Night Sky, alongside Christopher Eccleston.[21][22] In 2006, Burrows was the female lead in the New Zealand thriller Perfect Creature. That same year, she worked with Chilean director Raoul Ruiz on Klimt, his cinematic version of the life of Gustav Klimt. In this film, she played opposite John Malkovich as the artist's lover, a woman of many personalities and nationalities.[11]

She performed in Hal Hartley's Fay Grim. Onstage in 2006, Burrows starred opposite David Schwimmer in Neil Labute's world premiere of Some Girl(s) at the Gielgud theatre, London.[23] She then starred opposite Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler in Mike Binder's Reign Over Me. Burrows played the female lead roles in the Indian film thriller Broken Thread, and in Dangerous Parking, a drama directed by Peter Howitt.[11] On television, Burrows played attorney Lorraine Weller on ABC's Boston Legal (Season 4) from 2007 to 2008. She starred on NBC's 2008 series, My Own Worst Enemy.

In 2008, Burrows starred in the independent film The Guitar, Amy Redford's directorial debut, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[24] In 2008, she had a starring role as Martine Love in Roger Donaldson's heist film The Bank Job.[25] She played opposite Kevin Spacey in Jonas Pate's Shrink. She has contributed to the Actors Come Clean for Congo video for the Raise Hope for Congo campaign, a campaign of the Enough Project, in support of the conflict mineral issue.[26]

In 2010, she starred as Detective Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent,[27] departing at the end of the ninth season. In September 2010, she took part in the documentary feature film The People Speak, directed and produced by Colin Firth and Anthony Arnove, televised on the History Channel, linked with The People Speak (Film) – International. Burrows modeled for Marks & Spencer's autumn 2010 campaign for their Portfolio range.[28] In 2012, Burrows performed opposite Rob Lowe in the political comedy Knife Fight.[11] She has participated in the "24 Hour Plays" in London, New York, and Los Angeles.[29]

In 2013 and 2014, Burrows joined the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the ABC television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where she played the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Victoria Hand in a recurring role.[30]

In 2019, Burrows starred in the recurring role of Dottie Quinn on the second season of the Netflix thriller You.[31] She reprised her role in the third season, which released in October 2021.[32]

She starred in the Amazon Video show Mozart in the Jungle as Cynthia Taylor, a cellist with the New York Symphony. The series ran for four seasons from 2014 to 2018.[33]


Burrows has written diaries, book reviews and newspaper and magazine articles for The Guardian, The Independent, and The Times and the New Statesman.[34][35]

Personal life[edit]

Burrows is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[11] Burrows is bisexual, and has said that she "prefers the company of women". She was engaged to actor Alan Cumming in the 1990s, and dated director Mike Figgis for five years until 2002.[36] She was also previously in a relationship with actress Fiona Shaw.

Burrows married writer Alison Balian, her girlfriend of six years, in August 2013. Burrows gave birth to their son in 2012 and their daughter in 2017.[37][38] They separated in 2020.[39]

Burrows has expressed sympathy for European style social democracies and for French Socialist politician Ségolène Royal.[40] She joined an anti-racism group when she was 11 years old and she went on to become the Vice President of the National Civil Rights Movement.[41] Burrows is a campaigner for disabled rights and equality.[42] In 2009, Burrows became an American citizen.[43]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Body Beautiful Model Short film
1995 Circle of Friends Nan Mahon
1995 The Big One Jules
1995 Welcome II the Terrordome Jodie
1996 Hotel de Love Melissa Morrison
1997 Lovelife Zoey
1997 Nevada Quinn
1997 One Night Stand Supermodel
1997 The MatchMaker Moira Kennedy Kelly
1999 Wing Commander Lieutenant Commander "Angel" Deveraux
1999 The Loss of Sexual Innocence English/Italian twin
1999 Deep Blue Sea Dr. Susan McCallister
1999 Miss Julie Miss Julie
2000 Assumptions Ruby Short film
2000 Timecode Emma Green
2000 Gangster No. 1 Karen
2001 Enigma Claire Romilly
2001 Tempted Lilly LeBlanc
2001 The Seventh Stream Mairead
2001 Hotel Duchess of Malfi
2002 Frida Grace
2002 Flashpoint Dara
2002 Hideous Man Short film
2003 The Galíndez File Muriel Colber
2003 Peter Pan Narrator/Adult Wendy Darling Voice
2004 Krug Grace Krug Short film
2004 Troy Andromache
2004 Terrible Kisses Woman Short film
2006 Perfect Creature Captain Lilly Squires
2006 Klimt Lea de Castro
2006 Fay Grim Juliet
2007 Broken Thread Jenny
2007 Reign Over Me Donna Remar
2007 Dangerous Parking Claire Matteson
2008 The Guitar Melody Wilder
2008 The Bank Job Martine Love
2009 Shrink Kate Amberson
2009 The Eastmans Dr. Anna Eastman
2010 Lawyers Anne Short film
2012 Small Apartments Francine
2012 Knife Fight Sophia Becker
2015 Quitters Veronica
TBA Dangerous Waters [44]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Les cinq dernières minutes Daisy Smith Episode: "Meurtre en Ardèche"
1993 Full Stretch Episode: "Family Affairs"
1996 Karaoke Sandra Sollars
1996 Cold Lazarus Sandra Sollars
1996 Crucial Tales Sarah Brown Episode: "I Bring You Frankincense"
2007–2008 Boston Legal Lorraine Weller 20 episodes
2008 Wainy Days Lucy Episode: "Nan and Lucy"
2008 Agatha Christie's Marple Audrey Strange Episode: "Towards Zero"
2008 My Own Worst Enemy Dr. Norah Skinner 9 episodes
2009 Kings Death Episode: "The Sabbath Queen" (episode 8)
2010 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Det. Serena Stevens 15 episodes (Season 9)
2011 Bones Ike Latulippe Episode: "The Finder" (season 6 episode 19)
2013 The Crazy Ones Helena Season 1 Episode 5: "She's So European"
2013–2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Victoria Hand 4 episodes
2014–2018 Mozart in the Jungle Cynthia Taylor Series regular
2019 Elementary Ruby Carville Season 7 Episode 1: "The Further Adventures"
2019–2021 You Dottie Quinn Recurring role (Season 2); Main cast (Season 3) (11 episodes)
2022 Westworld Anastasia Whitney Season 4 Episode 2: "Well Enough Alone"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Blockbuster Entertainment Award
  • 2000: Nominated, "Favorite Newcomer Actress" – Deep Blue Sea
Screen Actors Guild Awards
  • 2008: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" – Boston Legal
  • 2009: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" – Boston Legal


  1. ^ "Burrows, Saffron". British Film Institute (BFI) Film & TV Database. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012.
  2. ^ Sischy, Ingrid (January 1999). "A surprise called Saffron – British actress Saffron Burrows – CSIVTR". Archived from the original on 12 October 2007 – via Find Articles.
  3. ^ a b Wood, Gaby (24 October 1999). "Swimming with sharks". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  4. ^ Barlow, Helen (28 September 2001). "My best teacher". Tes. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  5. ^ Horwitz, Simi (11 May 2010). "Strong 'Intent'". Backstage. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  6. ^ a b Walsh, John (1 August 2000). "Not Just A Pretty Face". The Independent. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  7. ^ Cooper, Tim (5 May 2002). "A Hint of Saffron". The Observer. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Saffron Burrows – Burrows Learns Spanish in Three Weeks". 29 January 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Welcome II The Terrordome". IMDb. 28 April 1995. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  10. ^ "Burrows profile at". Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Saffron Burrows profile". IMDb. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  12. ^ Holden, Stephen (28 May 1999). "Movie Review: The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999): The Story of Adam and Eve, Sort Of". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "UA falls in love with Figgis' 'Miss Julie'". Variety. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  14. ^ Mottram, James (22 August 2001). "Saffron Burrows: "Enigma"". BBC.
  15. ^ Smith, Neil (27 September 2001). "Enigma (2001)". BBC.
  16. ^ Burrows, Saffron (18 January 2001). "'Word comes through that another punch-up has taken place. Blimey. It's only day three...': Saffron Burrows' film diary of Tempted". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "The Galindez File". IMDb. 26 September 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  18. ^ Wolf, Matt (3 January 2005). "Earthly Paradise". Variety. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008.
  19. ^ Billington, Michael (25 November 2004). "Earthly Paradise, Almeida Theatre". The Guardian.
  20. ^ De Jongh, Nicholas (25 November 2004). "The Road to Paradise Lost". Evening Standard. London.
  21. ^ Calvi, Nuala (30 May 2006). "Old Vic Seeks Fresh Talent for 24 Hour Plays". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Limited. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  22. ^ The Literator (28 October 2005). "Cover Stories: Alwaleed: Businessman Billionaire Prince; Caroline Michel; Index on Censorship". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  23. ^ Taylor, Paul (25 May 2005). "Some Girl(s), Gielgud Theatre, Londont". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015.
  24. ^ Holden, Stephen (6 November 2008). "Shopping a Life Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Burrows Becomes Latest Actress To Sing". 4 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  26. ^ Actors Come Clean for Congo – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "USA Network Kicks Off Action-Packed Spring Lineup with New Seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and in Plain Sight". 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  28. ^ "Saffron Burrows interview with". Marks & Spencer TV. 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2011 – via YouTube.
  29. ^ "The 24 Hour Plays come to Los Angeles". Yahoo! News. 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  30. ^ Vieira, Anthony (27 October 2013). "Saffron Burrows Cast as Victoria Hand in 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'?". Screen Rant. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  31. ^ Hayes, Martha (19 February 2020). "Saffron Burrows: 'I was raised to feel like I could love who I wanted'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  32. ^ Petski, Denise (18 November 2020). "'You': Saffron Burrows Upped To Series Regular, Dylan Arnold, Tati Gabrielle Among 12 Cast in Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  33. ^ Keveney, Bill (6 April 2018). "Amazon cancels 'Mozart in the Jungle' after four seasons". USA Today. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  34. ^ "Saffron Burrows speaks about a lack of justice in Mexico – Amnesty's Write for Rights video". The Guardian. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  35. ^ Philby, Charlotte (31 May 2008). "My Secret Life: Saffron Burrows, Actress, age 35". The Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  36. ^ Warn, Sarah (12 October 2003). "Saffron Burrows Embraces Lesbian Relationships on Screen and Off". Archived from the original on 25 September 2016.
  37. ^ Hoby, Hermione (1 December 2014). "Saffron Burrows: 'I'm really proud of my family and who they are'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  38. ^ Passalaqua, Holly; Vulpo, Mike (28 January 2017). "Law & Order's Saffron Burrows Gives Birth to a Baby Girl". E! News.
  39. ^ Hayes, Martha (19 February 2020). "Saffron Burrows: 'I was raised to feel like I could love who I wanted'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  40. ^ Frost over the World Archived 25 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine, YouTube, 28 March 2008.
  41. ^ Philby, Charlotte. "My Secret Life: Saffron Burrows, Actress, age 35". The Independent.
  42. ^ "The 50 Hottest Women of the UK". Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  43. ^ "Burrows becomes an American". Daily Express. 21 June 2010.
  44. ^ Roxborough, Scott (5 May 2022). "Cannes: Ray Liotta, Saffron Burrows, Odeya Rush, Eric Dane Jump in 'Dangerous Waters'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 January 2023.

External links[edit]