Sakina Jaffrey

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Sakina Jaffrey
Sakina Jaffrey 2014.jpg
Jaffrey at the 2014 Montclair Film Festival
Born (1962-02-14) February 14, 1962 (age 60)[1]
New York City, U.S.
Years active1979–present

Sakina Jaffrey is an American actress.

Early life[edit]

Jaffrey was born on February 14, 1962 in New York City, the youngest daughter of Indian-born parents, actress and food and travel writer Madhur Jaffrey, and actor Saeed Jaffrey. Her parents divorced when she was three years old, and she grew up estranged from her father, who subsequently moved to the United Kingdom.[3]

She grew up in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan where she attended PS 41. Later she attended the Nightingale-Bamford School in the Upper East Side.[1]

Jaffrey picked up her love of Chinese culture from her elder sister, Meera. She graduated from Vassar College in 1984, with a major in Chinese Language and Literature at the college, originally planning to be a translator before she became an actress.[4]

She lives in Nyack, New York with her husband, Francis Wilkinson, a journalist, and their two children, Cassius and Jamila.


At the age of 17, Jaffrey made her professional acting debut in the play Marie and Bruce by Wallace Shawn at the Public Theatre in New York City.[1]

She appeared with her father in the film Masala (1991)[5] and with her mother in The Perfect Murder (1988). In 2002, she appeared in The Truth About Charlie starring Mark Wahlberg. Her children Cassius and Jamila appear with her in Raising Helen (2004) and in The Ode (2008).

She starred as Linda Vasquez, the White House Chief of Staff, in the Netflix series House of Cards (2013).[6] In 2014, it was announced that she would be appearing in the second season of Fox's television series Sleepy Hollow as Leena Reyes, the new sheriff.[7]

From 2016 to 2018, she had a starring role in the NBC television series Timeless as Homeland Security Agent Denise Christopher.

She also starred as Malini Soni in The Meyerowitz Stories, a 2017 comedy-drama film directed by Noah Baumbach and costarring Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler.



Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Perfect Murder Neena Lal
1989 Slaves of New York Willfredo's receptionist
1991 Masala Rita Solanki
1995 The Indian in the Cupboard Lucy
1996 Daylight Kit's passenger #1
1999 Chutney Popcorn Sarita
1999 Cotton Mary Rosie
2001 Revolution No. 9 Dr. Ray
2001 The Mystic Masseur Suruj Mooma
2002 The Guru Young Woman in Dance Class
2002 The Truth About Charlie Sylvia
2003 Ash Tuesday June
2003 American Made Short film
2004 Raising Helen Nilma Prasad
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Mysterious Arabic Woman
2006 Hiding Divya Dr. Sharma
2007 Where God Left His Shoes Doctor
2007 Dharini Kiran Short film
2007 Waking Dreams Rajani
2007 The Nanny Diaries Sima
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Manager
2008 Definitely, Maybe School Mom
2008 The Toe Tactic Lacticia Utt
2008 The Understudy Nurse
2008 The Ode Parin
2009 Company Retreat Sareeta
2010 Nevermind Nirvana Dr. Sarita Matto Television film
2011 Breakaway Livleen Singh
2012 The Domino Effect Serena
2013 The Necklace Sunita Short film
2016 Claire in Motion Maya
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories Dr. Soni
2018 Red Sparrow Trish Forsyth
2018 Behold My Heart Jane
2018 The Equalizer 2 Fatima
2019 Late Night Mrs. Patel
2020 Soul Doctor Voice role
2021 The Hating Game Helen


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Law & Order Dr. Balikrishan Episode: "Endurance"
2003–05 Third Watch Dr. Hickman 16 episodes
2004 Sex and the City Rama Patel Episode: "Splat!"
2004 Law & Order Roya Koutal Episode: "Caviar Emptor"
2006 Heroes Mrs. Suresh 2 episodes
2007 What Goes On Asha Episode: "Blue"
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Geeta Chanoor Episode: "Outsider"
2011 Blue Bloods Mrs. Demir Episode: "Thanksgiving"
2012 Girls Gynecologist Episode: "Vagina Panic"
2013–18 House of Cards Linda Vasquez 19 episodes
2014–15 Sleepy Hollow Sheriff Leena Reyes 5 episodes
2014–18 Madam Secretary Chondita Samant 2 episodes
2015–17 Mr. Robot Antara Nayar 7 episodes
2015 Halal in the Family Fatima Qu'osby 4 episodes
2015–16 The Mindy Project Sonu Lahiri 6 episodes
2016 Blindspot Susan Albright Episode: "Cease Forcing Enemy"
2016–18 Timeless Agent Denise Christopher 26 episodes
2017 The Problem with Apu Herself Documentary film
2018 Homeland Dr. Meyer 3 episodes
2019 American Gods Mama-Ji 2 episodes
2019 Lost in Space Captain Kamal 5 episodes
2020 Defending Jacob Lynn Canavan Main role
2021 Snowpiercer Dr Headwood Season 2
2022 Billions Daevisha ‘Dave’ Mahar Season 6
2022 Ms. Marvel Auntie Shirin 1 episode


Year Production Role Theatre(s) Notes
1979 Marie and Bruce Public Theatre Professional acting debut[1]
1988 George Washington Slept Here Apple Corps Theatre [8]
Phaedra Brittanica CSC [9]
2009 The River Crosses Rivers: Short Plays by Women of Color Castillo Theatre Production of New Federal Theatre[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series House of Cards Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sakina Jaffrey". Woody King Jr.'s New Federal Theatre. Retrieved June 12, 2022. Grew up in Greenwich Village, where she attended PS-41. Later attended and graduated from Nightingale-Bamford School and graduated from Vassar College with a High Honors degree in Chinese Language and Literature..
  2. ^ "'House of Cards' actress Sakina Jaffrey feels '100% New Yorker'". CNN. May 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Sid Adilman (February 2, 1992). "The three faces of Saeed Jaffrey". Toronto Star. p. C1.
  4. ^ Kay Renz (July 4, 2004). "Actress Sakina Jaffrey: Getting Used to the Red Carpet". Boca Raton News. p. 8V.
  5. ^ Woo, Elaine (November 17, 2015). "Saeed Jaffrey dies at 86; Actor exuded flair and versatility from Bollywood to Britain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  6. ^ Goodman, Tim (January 26, 2013). "House of Cards: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  7. ^ "Sleepy Hollow Casting Scoop: House of Cards Star Is the New Sheriff in Season 2". E! Online. May 27, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Nelsen, Don (July 22, 1988). "Hart-Kaufman Play is Mossy". Daily News. New York, New York.
  9. ^ Kissell, Howard (December 16, 1988). "'Phaedra' Seems to Be Out to Lunch". Daily News. New York, New York.

External links[edit]