Jennifer Armstrong
June 25, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

On ”Alias,” she opened her own restaurant and became an ass-kicking evil twin before dying (apparently) early this past season. And now Merrin Dungey — a.k.a. Sydney Bristow’s roommate, Francie — has gone on to a sunnier place: The WB’s sweet beachside soap, ”Summerland.” She plays Susannah, fashion-business partner and housemate to Lori Loughlin’s Ava, a designer who raises her niece and nephews after her sister passes away. ”On ‘Alias’ you’d get the scripts and be like, `Am I going to die?”’ says Dungey. ”This is like, `What am I wearing?”’ The 32-year-old actress joined ”Summerland” after a grueling year of ”Alias”’ hand-to-hand combat; she trained hard even though she knew her character’s days were numbered. ”If you start out bad on ‘Alias,’ you can set up some real estate,” says Dungey. ”If you turn bad, you’ve got some comeuppance coming. You better start looking for a new home.” Luckily, she found one where those martial-arts workouts don’t go to waste: ”I did train again for ‘Summerland’ because — hello — bikinis!”

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