Cynthia Watros has quite a bit in common with her "Finding Carter" character, police officer Elizabeth Wilson -- for starters, they're both moms of twins. And it’s such similarities, the actress says, that are helping her channel her on-screen persona.
"Having to play a parent is sort of easy because all those natural instincts just are in you now," Cynthia tells MTV News in the clip below. "All the protective stuff -- like, in real life, if one of my daughters was abducted, I would do exactly what Elizabeth is doing."
As such, Cynthia understands her TV persona's passion and anger -- even though it's earned her onscreen criticism from those who say she's too harsh and rarely smiles.
"How do you smile when a huge piece of you is missing?" Cynthia asks.
Her small-screen daughter agrees. "She got a child abducted from her," chimes in Kathryn Prescott, who plays Carter. "It's like somebody died."
Meanwhile, Cynthia says she also understands the character of Carter -- and why the rebellious teenager isn't ready to be around her birth mom.
"Because I'm not the mother she knew," Cynthia says. "And she doesn't view me as a mother, and that is very painful."
To hear more from Cynthia about her relationship with her own kids, watch the full interview. And be sure to tune in to the "Finding Carter" premiere, tonight at 10/9c!