Popular and prolific Canadian actress Jessica Steen enjoyed a lengthy career on television in her native country and the United States, including "Homefront" (ABC 1991-93), "NCIS" (CBS 2003- ) and "Flashpoint" (CTV/CBS 2005-2013), among numerous other credits. She began appearing on the small screen as a child, gradually building her career with supporting and leading juvenile roles. By the late '80s, she earned a shot at international fame as the female lead in the musical "Sing" (1989), but the film's failure sent her back to television in America. There, she found steady work in high-profile efforts like the critically praised "Homefront," which led to multiple guest roles and even a supporting appearance in "Armageddon" (1998). By the late '90s, Steen was a regular presence on U.S. and Canadian TV, both as a guest star and recurring actor. Though never a breakout star, Steen's four decades as a working performer underscored her dependability and talent.
Born December 19, 1965 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Jessica Steen was the daughter of actor/director Jan Steen and actress Joanna Noyes. She began her career at the age of eight in an episode of the live action/animated educational series "The Sunrunners" (Ontario Educational Channel), which taught English to French-speaking children. By her mid-teens, she was working in Canadian-made features and television, including the children's series "The Littlest Hobo" (CTV 1979-1985) and primetime efforts like "Night Heat" (CTV 1985-1991). The mid-'80s saw Steen graduate to juvenile leads in TV-features and series regular status on the live-action science fiction show "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future" (syndicated 1987-88), which earned her a Gemini nomination for her performance as a soldier fighting robots in the distant future. The following year, she was the female lead in "Sing" (1989), a contemporary musical about a New York singing competition produced by Craig Zadan of "Footloose" (1984) fame. The picture was not a success, and Steen soon headed to New York City, where she quickly found work on the daytime soap "Loving" (ABC 1983-1995).
ABC quickly promoted Steen to their primetime lineup with a supporting role in the critically acclaimed "Homefront," which concerned a large Ohio family during World War II. Though the series won two Emmys and the People's Choice Award for Favorite New Dramatic Series, low ratings forced its cancellation after two seasons. She was then cast in the science fiction series "Earth 2" (NBC 1994-95) as a genetically modified scientist who joins an expedition to a new planet for human colonization. It lasted a single season, but the exposure afforded by both programs led to steady work on Stateside series like "ER" (NBC 1994-2009) and "Touched By an Angel" (CBS 1994-2003) and supporting roles in features like "Armageddon" (1998). By the end of the decade, Steen divided her time between American and Canadian TV projects, though her movie career had dived into direct-to-video efforts like "Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice" (2002) and the evangelical fantasy-drama "Apocalypse IV: Judgment" (2001). Steen settled into recurring work on a series of top-rated TV dramas, including a three-year run on "NCIS" as Special Agent Paula Cassidy and the U.S. -Canadian action-thriller "Flashpoint" as an ill-fated tactical police officer. Steen then moved to the black comedy "Bullet in the Face" (IFC 2012), playing a sexually voracious police commissioner.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Television debut in the Canadian educational series "The Sunrunners"
First feature appearance in "Threshold" starring Donald Sutherland
Gemini nomination for series regular role on "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future"
Female lead in the American musical film "Sing"
Series regular on "Homefront"
Series regular on "Earth 2"
Wins Gemini for the TV movie "Small Gifts"
Plays a shuttle pilot in "Armageddon"
Recurring role on "NCIS"
Series regular on the Canadian drama "Heartland"
Canadian screen nomination for recurring role in "Flashpoint"