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Isabel May as Elsa, of the Paramount+ original series 1883, with her horse Lightning.

Photo credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

By Mara Reinstein

In the very first scene of the very first episode of 1883, you watch Isabel May’s character, Elsa Dutton, get shot by an arrow.

For the rest of the harrowing Paramount+ Western that serves as a prequel for the smash drama Yellowstone, you sit in suspense, waiting to learn her fate. While you know things probably aren’t going to turn out so well for Elsa, the wily and wild teen daughter of James and Margaret (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) who narrates the journey of a wagon caravan traveling westward in search of land and freedom, May is so compelling in the role that you convince yourself that frontier medicine just might be much better than you remember from Little House on the Prairie. This girl has to make it.

Stream 1883 exclusively on Paramount+.

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Old soul

Actress Isabel May rides a pale horse across a dry prairie.

Isabel May as Elsa, of the Paramount+ original series 1883, with her horse Lightning.

Photo credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Before hitting the plains, the 21-year-old Santa Monica, California, native made her debut in Alexa & Katie, the tween favorite 2018–20 Netflix sitcom in which two BFFs band together after one of them receives a cancer diagnosis. (May’s character shaves her head in support.) She also popped up in two seasons of Young Sheldon as the girlfriend of the kid genius’s older brother, Georgie.

Befitting her 1883 character, May exudes an old soul, no-B.S. vibe. She says she enjoys bouncing between the East and West Coasts and doesn’t know where she lives right now because “I’m 21, and it’s fun to be nomadic with no ties, even though it’ll get old shortly, I assume.” Asked about her weekend plans on this late Friday afternoon, she replies, “I’m doing stuff with my family. I’m not cool enough to have a cool response, but maybe one day.” Until then, she talks 1883 and beyond.

Inspiration

Actress Isabel May wears a skirt and a lacy top while reclining on a couch.

“I felt very fortunate with 1883 because it was [made by] a creator who genuinely loved and cared deeply about his work,” says May.

Photo Credit: Kristin Gallegos/KINTZING

[1883 creator] Taylor Sheridan has said that he wrote the role for you after you impressed him in your audition for The Mayor of Kingstown.

IM: I mean, it’s rather strange to think about that, let alone say it aloud. But yeah, I guess he did.

Did he ever say why you inspired him?

IM: He told me, “When I watched you, I saw hope.” That’s what this story in 1883 needed because it’s so bleak. We’re seeing this story through this girl’s eyes, and she needed to be full of optimism and spirit. That made me happy because I’d rather seem like a hopeful person than a cynical one.

An optimist

Actors Faith Hill, Isabel May, and Tim McGraw on the red carpet at an 1883 premiere.

Faith Hill, Isabel May, and Tim McGraw at the world premiere of 1883 in Las Vegas in December 2021

Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Was he right? Are you a hopeful person?

IM: Oh, very. Very. I can feel like a cynic, sure, but it’s easy to be cynical. I prefer to be an optimist. It’s a lot harder to be an optimist, and I like to take the harder route.

How important is that trait when you’re a young actress and constantly trying out for that next part?

IM: Sometimes you just have to walk with faith and not sight, you know? Someone said that to me recently. I’m not necessarily a religious person, but I just found that to be a nice way to think, and I trust in that. Something will happen as long as I stay focused and work hard. You have to be hopeful, but so much is out of your hands.

Relationship building

Actress Isabel May wears a white prairie dress as she stands looking aghast in front of a blazing wagon.

Elsa near the end of the long journey west

Photo credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

What kind of relationship did you build with Tim and Faith on location?

IM: It’s almost like they became my mom and dad. I looked up to them quite a bit because they worked really, really hard and had a smile on their faces the whole time. No matter what, they expressed gratitude and respect. And when they were on the set, they weren’t husband and wife—just co-workers who were in this with everybody else. They also have three wicked smart and talented daughters around my age, and I look up to each one of them.

Acting advice

Actress Isabel May stands on the red carpet.

May on the red carpet

Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

They’ve both been successful in several fields for decades. Did they offer you any advice?

IM: They did, but not about acting. Faith is a businesswoman, and she handles herself very well and is extremely eloquent. She gave me some advice about how to operate and carry myself as a young woman in Hollywood. She’s been working in the entertainment industry for 30 years, and the industry is tough!

Moral conundrums

Actress Isabel May wears a colorblock mod mini dress and boots\u200b against a white backdrop.

May channeling the Carnaby Street vibe in a colorblock mod mini dress and boots

Photo credit: Bryan Rodner Carr

With 1883, you had to present and deal with some heady themes yourself. What were your takeaways?

IM: You know, it’s so complicated. There are all these moral conundrums between right and wrong. And as a young person, I think about that quite a lot and I’m not really sure what to make of so much that’s happening in the world. It’s so confusing. And when you find yourself as an actor and as an artist playing those things out in a different era, it feels very real and relevant even though it’s fiction. Every day I’d ponder my character’s conversations and interactions on a bigger playing field. I still think about it.

Personal and professional life

The Dutton party from 1883 stands in their period clothing in front of a saloon.

McGraw, Hill, May, Dawn Olivieri, and Emma Malouff as the Dutton party in 1883.

Photo credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Where do you go from here personally and professionally?

IM: Well, look, it’s always about trying to find a project and work that has meaning and value. That’s particularly difficult as a young actor. I felt very fortunate with 1883 because it was [made by] a creator who genuinely loved and cared deeply about his work. So to find another story like this one is my dream. I feel like there are a lot of things being made with no passion behind it. The motivation is off. It’s going to be an interesting ride!

Stream 1883 exclusively on Paramount+.

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NCIS Hawai‘i stars Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant and Noah Mills as Jesse identify themselves, while Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara looks on.

Karen Neal/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Zoom meetings. Dinner prep. Homework oversight. Lacrosse carpool. Life has a way of hijacking your ability to hunker down and binge-watch really good television. That’s where summer comes in. With (hopefully) less on your to-do list, and an air-conditioned family room calling your name, now’s the time to tune in to Paramount+ and catch up on CBS’s new and returning dramas, as well as its breakout comedy of the year. Here’s your guide to the must-stream shows of 2022.

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NCIS: Hawai'i

Vanessa Lachey next to A\u200blex Tarrant and Noah Mills all dressed in navy blue jackets with NCIS on the front standing next to parked vehicles with lush mountain landscape in the background

Alex Tarrant as Kai Holman, Noah Mills as Jesse, and Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant

Karen Neal/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Plot: Come for the sparkling sun and surf, stay for the savvy of Jane Tennant, a soccer mom who is also the first female special agent in charge of NCIS Hawai‘i. Tenacious and smart, Tennant has risen through the ranks by pushing back against sexism in a system that has consistently pushed back against her. Along with her team of talented specialists, Tennant balances duty to family and country while investigating unsolved murders, kidnappings, and various mysteries around the Navy and Marines.

Players:

Vanessa Lachey Jane Tennant, head honcho of NCIS Hawai‘i

Noah Mills Jesse Boone, former big city homicide detective, expert interrogator, and Tennant’s sometimes confidant

Yasmine Al-Bustami Lucy Tara, a junior member of Tennant’s team who does whatever it takes to get the job done

Alex Tarrant Kai Holman, the new kid on the team and the only native Hawaiian

Jason Antoon Ernie Malik, the resident cyber-intelligence expert

Favorite Scene: “It has to be during the season finale, for the sole reason that everyone was in one space together and it was literally a big ol’ party. It was a beautiful way to wrap up the year.” —Yasmine Al-Bustami

NCIS: Hawai'i airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streams on Paramount+.

CSI: Vegas

Three stars of CSI Vegas walk with their equipment and gear to a crime scene

From left: CSI Vegas’ Matt Lauria, Paula Newsome, and Mandeep Dhillon

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Plot: The high-tech series that ran for 15 seasons and spawned several spinoffs is back, this time in Las Vegas, the city where it all began. Facing an existential threat that could bring down the entire crime lab and release thousands of convicted killers onto Sin City’s streets, a team of brilliant investigators (both new and familiar faces from the original CSI) unite, deploying cutting-edge forensic techniques to crack cases and catch bad guys.

Players:

Paula Newsome Maxine Roby, head of the Las Vegas crime lab

William Petersen Gil Grissom, quick-witted forensic entomologist who ran the lab in the original series

Jorja Fox Sara Sidle, Grissom’s partner in crime solving and beyond

Wallace Langham David Hodges, former lab tech turned expert witness

Matt Lauria Joshua Folsom, a high-level investigator who typically takes the lead on the crime of the week

Mandeep Dhillon Allie Rajan, a hard-working level-II CSI born in India and educated in the U.S.

Favorite Scene: “Episode 6: There’s a creepy clown motel— complete with dead clowns!—an ominously squalid and rattling narcotic-dispensing ice cream truck, origami, and a cast of bountifully quirky characters, including a serial killer! Quite a lot for our CSIs to juggle! Brilliantly penned, shot, lit, directed, and edited!” --Matt Lauria

Watch CSI: Vegas on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

FBI

FBI\u2019s Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym in dramatic profile.

FBI’s Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym

Photo credit: Michael Parmelee/CBS

Plot: A fast-paced drama about the inner workings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—and the reason the FBI franchise was born.

Players:

Missy Peregrym Maggie Bell, a seasoned investigator who’s in charge of the team while out in the field

Zeeko Zaki Omar Adom “O.A.” Zidan, a New Yorker, military vet, and Muslim whose fluent Arabic comes in handy

Jeremy Sisto Jubal Valentine, assistant special agent in charge who coordinates the movement of field agents from the team’s high-tech offices

Alana De La Garza Isobel Castille, the quick-thinking special agent in charge

John Boyd Stuart Scola, an Ivy League– educated Wall Streeter turned FBI agent

Katherine Renee Turner Tiffany Wallace, whose NYPD background is often an asset in the field

Favorite Scene: “We had about 20 minutes of sunlight left to film the scene where O.A. finds Sunny in the Season 4 crossover [featuring FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, and FBI: International cast members]. We were in the most beautiful mansion on a little lake outside Budapest. We got the shot in one or two takes and got to watch the sun set.” —Zeeko Zaki

Watch new episodes of FBI on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

FBI: Most Wanted

A group of state patrol officers pore over a document on the hood of a car in a scene from FBI Most Wanted

Dylan McDermott takes charge on FBI: Most Wanted.

Photo credit: Mark Schäfer/CBS

Plot: This first FBI spinoff follows the Fugitive Task Force, which tracks and takes down notorious criminals on the bureau’s— you’ve got it—Most Wanted list.

Players:

Dylan McDermott Remy Scott, leader of the Fugitive Task Force

Julian McMahon Jess LaCroix, the former leader of the Fugitive Task Force who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Keisha Castle-Hughes Hana Gibson, a special agent with a sharp sense of humor and the team’s master of data mining

Roxy Sternberg Sheryll Barnes, an ex-NYPD detective with elevated street smarts thanks to undercover gang work in the Bronx

Alexa Davalos Kristin Gaines, a Navy vet turned tireless special agent

Miguel Gomez Ivan Ortiz, whose street-cop instincts are key to his undercover work

Watch FBI: Most Wanted Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

FBI: International

The stars of FBI Internation pose on set in Hungary.

From left: FBI International’s Carter Redwood, Heida Reed, Luke Kleintank, and Vinessa Vidotto

Photo credit: Katalin Vermes/CBS

Plot: The third iteration of the FBI brand follows savvy operatives from the FBI’s elite International Fly Team. Based in Budapest (where the show shoots), the Fly Team travels the globe, tracking and de-escalating threats against American citizens in exotic locales.

Players:

Luke Kleintank Scott Forrester, a cool-headed agent and leader of the International Fly Team

Heida Reed Jamie Kellett, a special agent on the Fly Team who develops an even more special relationship with one of her co-workers

Vinessa Vidotto Cameron Vo, a West Point grad and the newest member of the group

Carter Redwood Andre Raines, a background in accounting makes this special agent the brainiac of the bunch

Christiane Paul Europol agent Katrin Jaeger, a tough-as-nails liaison between the Fly Team and local police

Favorite Scene: “It was in Episode 7, but it didn’t make the final cut. The Fly Team was in Prague and had to pay this madame for information. We had a scene where we all had to pool our money together to pay her, and we could not get through the scene without cracking up. It just escalated every time we did a take, and it still makes me giggle thinking about it.” —Heida Reed

Watch new CBS Drama FBI: International takes the action abroad on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+!

Ghosts

The Cast of the CBS tv show Ghosts pose in the parlor of the haunted mansion.

Ghosts’ Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar. Back row, clockwise from bottom left: Danielle Pinnock, Devan Chandler Long, Sheila Carrasco, Asher Grodman, Brandon Scott Jones, Richie Moriarty, Román Zaragoza, and Rebecca Wisocky

@2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Plot: Inspired by the 2019 BBC series of the same name, Ghosts stars Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar as city dwellers who inherit a country estate that they decide to turn into a B&B. The hitch? The manse is inhabited by unwelcoming guests—the many lively spirits of deceased residents who now call it home.

Players:

Rose McIver Samantha, the upbeat estate owner who sees dead people

Utkarsh Ambudkar Jay, Samantha’s skeptical husband who doesn’t see dead people

Brandon Scott Jones Isaac, the Revolutionary War captain

Richie Moriarty Pete, the overly optimistic scoutmaster whose archery accident has stayed with him

Danielle Pinnock Alberta, a Prohibition-era lounge singer

Asher Grodman Trevor, a Wall Street bro caught with his pants down

Román Zaragoza Sasappis, a Native American from the 1500s

Sheila Carrasco Flower, the sweet hippy from the ’60s

Rebecca Wisocky Hetty, the onetime lady of the house

Devan Chandler Long Thorfinn, a Viking explorer

Favorite Scene: “My favorite moment is the prom scene from the episode ‘Attic Girl.’ You can see the love between Sam and Jay. I’m a rom-com sucker, so to be able to be a part of that moment was really special.” -Utkarsh Ambudkar

Catch up with Ghosts streaming on Paramount+.

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