Jean Smart talks intense new role in 'Fargo'

Jean Smart rose to fame on shows like “Designing Women” and “Fraiser,” but these days she is keeping busy with a much more dramatic role.

Smart plays the matriarch of a crime family on FX's new season of "Fargo."

"Fargo," based off the hit 1996 film, is in its second season. The second season is set in a different time period and features a different cast than the Emmy-nominated first season.

For Smart, it was a treat to play the tough character.

“It was fun to play her,” she told FOX411. “I mean, she is kind of torn between being a mother, protecting her children… but also doing what needs to be done to keep the family business together. She is not an easily intimidated person, but she’s a mother so that’s her weak spot.”

She said the positive response the show has been getting from critics and fans alike has been a thrill.

“I’m just so excited for people to see it. People are already so excited about episode one. It’s so nice and such a relief that… it appears the critics like it so much and like it as much as they liked last season.”

Smart loved working with the all-star cast of the show, which includes Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons.

“You didn’t really know who you were going to being scenes with,” Smart said during a panel about the show.

She added to FOX411, “It was great fun, but unfortunately I didn’t get to do scenes with everybody. There were a lot of actors I never saw except in passing, sometimes in the makeup chair.”

Smart joked during the panel that her 7-year-old daughter told her babysitter she wants to be an actress “because they get to stay home all time.”

“She said that…before ‘Fargo,’” Smart said laughing.