Best known for playing Kiefer Sutherland's long-suffering wife during the first season of the hit drama "24," (Fox, 2001-10), Canadian actress Leslie Hope seems on the cusp of finally becoming a star in her own right. A familiar face to American television audiences since the 1990's, Hope was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and attended St. Michael's University in British Columbia. Though she had originally studied to become a lawyer, Hope was bitten by the acting bug during her graduate year of college when she won a small role in a movie called "Ups & Downs" (1981), a little-seen Canadian comedy about private school life.
Leaving her native Canada for Hollywood in the mid-1980's, Hope landed steady work guesting on a number of prime-time soaps including "Berengers" (NBC, 1985) "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-90), and "Knots Landing" (CBS, 1981-1990). Hope remained busy throughout the 1980's and into the 90's, appearing in a string of made-for-TV movies. Among them were the HBO telefilm "Sword of Gideon" (1986), the Herman Wouk mini-series "War and Rememberance" (1988) and the romantic comedy "Ask Me Again" (1990). While none of these projects succeeded in making Hope a household name, they did help the young young actress to carve out a solid reputation for herself as a talented, multi-faceted performer. Hope also kept her feature career going around this time with supporting roles in such films as Oliver Stone's "Talk Radio" (1988) and the dramatic thriller "Kansas" (1988) opposite Matt Dillon. In 1990, Hope also starred with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen in the blue-collar farce "Men at Work."
In the mid-90s, Hope started her own theatre company called The Wilton Project, which she ran for 10 years. To gain the theatre experience she felt she had missed out on early in her career, Hope sought to develop new plays and cultivate burgeoning playwrights in the Los Angeles area. In addition to running the company, Hope acted in, produced and directed several of the productions, including the award-winning "Therese Raquin," "Slide," and "Ghost Stories."
In 2001, Hope received her breakout role on the drama "24." Cast in the role of Teri Bauer, estranged wife of secret service agent Jack Bauer, Hope caught the attention of critics and audiences alike. Though the character began as little more than a shrill, one-note harpy, Hope's vulnerable performance breathed life into Teri Bauer, allowing the character to develop over the course of 24's first season. In keeping with the show's dark and gritty tone, however, the character of Teri Bauer was unexpectedly killed off in the show's season finale - A decision which blind-sided fans and reportedly, Hope, herself. Hope resurfaced as the professionally skilled but personally troubled senior FBI agent Lisa Cohen in "Line of Fire" (2003), the first TV drama created by filmmaker Rod Lurie. A complex multilayered drama exploring the intertwining lives of a team of Baltimore FBI agents and a powerful crime czar (David Paymer), the series was a critical darling but failed to catch on with viewers. In 2005, Hope found herself back at work on another popular hit, opposite another Sutherland--not Kiefer, but his father Donald Sutherland--in Lurie's politically-charged drama "Commander In Chief " (ABC, 2005-06), in a recurring role as the hard-edged, uncompromising security advisor to the first female U.S. president (Geena Davis).