Allison Tolman portrays lead character Jo Evans on Emergence.


Allison was born in Harris County, Texas on November 18, 1981. She has two older brothers and a younger sister.

When Allison was a few months old, she and her family moved to England, where they lived until she was four years old. At that point, they moved back to the United States to Oklahoma and West Texas for five years until finally settling in Sugar Land, Texas. At the age of 10, she took acting classes at the Fort Bend Community Theatre. She attended Clements High School and graduated in 1999. Later, she graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatrical performance. After graduating, she moved to Dallas and became one of the founding members of Second Thought Theatre. She did a lot of commercial and theatre work there.

In 2009, she moved again, this time to Chicago, Illinois, to study performance at The Second City Training Center. She found the transition to a larger market difficult and resorted to writing more because that was something control over rather than auditioning and waiting to be cast. She had been working office day jobs for years when her big break came when was cast as officer Molly Solverson in the FX series Fargo, for which she earned a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination, earning her widespread popularity.[1] During Fargo, she defended herself against Internet trolls fat-shaming her, which helped ignite the debate about the Hollywood standards for beauty.

After Fargo, she was very picky about which roles she wanted to take on, specifically declining roles of housewives, the best friends, and any role for which the character's weight was part of the description. When she booked the lead role on Emergence, she reached out to friends in the business and crew members from Fargo to find out how to be a good No. 1 on the call sheet.[2]



  • The Last Shift (2020)
  • Speed of Life (2019)
  • Believe Her (short) (2018)
  • Kansas City (2018)
  • The Sisters Brothers (2018)
  • Family (2018)
  • Killing Gunther (2017)
  • The House (2017)
  • Barracuda (2016)
  • Krampus (2015)
  • The Gift (2015)
  • Addicted to Fresno (2015)
  • A Thousand Cocktails Later (short) (2009)


  • Emergence (2019)
  • Good Girls (2018-2019)
  • The Twilight Zone (2019)
  • I'm Sorry. (2017-2019)
  • The Guest Book (2018)
  • Castle Rock (2018)
  • Drunk History (2016-2018)
  • Me, Myself and I (2017-2018)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2018)
  • Mosaic (2017-2018)
  • Downward Dog (2017)
  • Mad Dogs (2016)
  • Fargo (2014-2015)
  • Review (2015)
  • Comedy Bang! Bang! (2015)
  • Archer (2015)
  • Hello Ladies (2014)
  • The Mindy Project (2014)
  • Sordid Lives: The Series (2008)
  • Dragonaut: The Resonance (2007-2008)
  • Barney & Friends (2007)
  • Prison Break (2006)
  • Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2005)

Notes and Trivia

  • Her addition to the cast was announced on February 7, 2019.[3]
  • She cited her love of sci-fi and thrillers as part of the reason behind auditioning for the role.
  • According to Alexa Swinton, Allison told her to be kind to the crew members because as an actor, you're just part of the crew.

External Links


  1. Fargo Star Allison Tolman Will Thaw Your Icy Heart
  2. ‘Emergence’s’ Allison Tolman: How the ‘Fargo’ Breakout Conquered TV Stardom on Her Own Terms
  3. Deadline Allison Tolman To Star In NBC Murder Mystery Drama Pilot ‘Emergence’
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