Tamara Tunie (Jessica, AS THE WORLD TURNS) plays Marie Van Der Veen in THE RED ROAD, a dark and dramatic primetime serial that premieres on the Sundance Channel Thursday, February 27, at 9 p.m. EST. The edge-of-your-seat drama deals with two conflicting communities (Native Americans and local townspeople) and stars Martin Henderson (The Ring) as lawman Harold Jensen, who's trying to keep his crumbling family together, and Jason Momoa (GAME OF THRONES) as Phillip Copus, an ex-con who uses both his charm and commanding presence to scheme and manipulate.

"Marie's very strong and is rooted in the earth," Tunie tells Soaps In Depth. "She's a nurturer and an advocate, but she has also has a dark past. She appears to be on the side of the right, but she's made some mistakes in her life as well."

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Watch for many secrets to unfold during THE RED ROAD's six-episode run. "Everything that happens in the show is because people try to keep secrets and they end up making choices out of fear and desperation," she adds.

Tunie, who still recurs on LAW & ORDER: SVU as medical examiner Melinda Warner, says she was attracted to THE RED ROAD because of executive producer/writer Aaron Guzikowski and the commitment that cable has to its programming. "How many times throughout television history has a show caught on much later than the first few episodes," she says. "I love that cable networks have gone ahead and shot entire seasons."

The actress is also wearing a producer's hat in a musical that she's developing titled Frog Kiss. "It's based on the novella The Frog Prince: A Fairy Tale For Consenting Adults," she says. "The music is eclectic, and it tells the story of The Princess and The Frog but through the prism of an adult perspective."

While the ATWT cast is mostly dispersed, Tunie remains in touch with a few Oakdale pals. "I still see Ellen Dolan, my old friend 'Margo,'" she says with a smile. "I'll see Martha Byrne (Lily) or Michael Park (Jack), periodically, but that's about it." The actress says she has fond memories of late ATWT scribe Douglas Marland, who created her savvy attorney character and the popular Jessica/Duncan pairing, which addressed the topic of interracial romance.

"Doug was the best," Tunie shares warmly. "Nobody did it like Doug! He was extraordinary and a great human being. What [Jessica/Duncan's love story] did was make other people in Oakdale examine themselves and made them realize they had issues that they didn't even know they had. I thought that was genius."

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