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(written from a Production point of view)
Natalija Nogulich (born 1 October 1950; age 66) is an American actress who portrayed the recurring character of Admiral Alynna Nechayev in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Born Natalija Nogulich, she began her acting career at the age of 28 with a small role in the 1978 film Stony Island based in her home city of Chicago. Over the next few years, Nogulich appeared in a number of television series and movies including Lou Grant, Four Friends (1981), and Designing Women.
In 1987, Nogulich guest-starred in an episode of the long-running television soap opera Dynasty followed by an appearance in the popular show Cagney & Lacey and the short-lived television remake of Dirty Dancing.
Nogulich's first recurring role came in the television series Brooklyn Bridge, in which she played Aunt Miriam. This was followed by guest roles on Jack's Place, Sisters, Moon Over Miami, and L.A. Law, in the latter of which she played two separate characters.
Following her appearances as Admiral Nechayev in the early nineties, Nogulich played two roles in the television series Murder, She Wrote, and also played Louise Talbot in two episodes of Picket Fences. She nearly gained the recurring role of Agent Mulder's reluctant informant "X" in season two of The X-Files but was replaced at the last minute. Footage of her in the role can be found in the X-Files Season Two DVD set.
In 1995, she gained recurring roles playing Bernadette McDowell and Martina Spector in Ned & Stacey and Murder One, respectively. In 1997, Nogulich gained the four-time recurring role of Judge Stevens in The Practice. This was followed by guest appearances on C-16: FBI, Prey, Frasier (with Kelsey Grammer in the title role) and Home Improvement, as well as an episode of Chicago Hope.
In 2001, she appeared in six episodes of the popular long-running soap Days of Our Lives, in which she played the role of Ingrid Mitchell. Nogulich's success improved throughout the 2000s, with appearances in increasingly popular TV series such as Ally McBeal, Charmed, Without a Trace, JAG, and The West Wing.
The late-2000s saw Nogulich appear in the popular crime series' Bones, The Unit and 24. More recently, she played the role of Elena in the short-lived ABC series Red Widow, the one-time guest role of Judge Maddox on NCIS, and Helen Clark on Criminal Minds.
In an interview with SubspaceCommunique.com, Nogulich revealed she was given the part of Nechayev after interviewing for two different roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Though she was unsuccessful in the auditions, the producers were impressed by her work and later offered her the role of Nechayev. As Nogulich recalled, "They liked my work, they seemed interested in me, but they said I wasn't quite right for that particular role, or whatever it was. [...] And then I went in the second time for something else, and it also wasn't a complete fit. But again, they were clearly interested in having me be, you know...when they ask you back to audition more than once, it's a sign that they're appreciative of your work. [...] So anyway, finally, the third time, my agent said, you know, you're going for this role which will probably recur and it's a very strong part...and they had actually gotten feedback about me from the other roles, I was too strong for whatever the other roles were. So this one is a really strong character and you can go for it and they seem to think it's a good match for you. So, I really dug my teeth in for the audition and worked very hard on it, and went in very prepared. It just felt great when I did it. It felt like I nailed it and indeed, what was a day later, or later that day, I'm not sure, I got the call from my agent that I was going to do it. And then I ended up doing another, and another, and another." 
Nogulich came to believe that, had The Next Generation gone into another season, her character would have been developed even more with Picard so that their relationship wasn't as adversarial. Looking back on playing Nechayev, she recalled, "It was a perfect fit. I mean, I have a Slavic background, she had a Slavic name. I do tend to play strong characters. I'm a character actor and that was a good fit."  
When playing Nechayev, Nogulich was influenced by the experiences of her family, many of whom had served in the military. She drew particular influence from her father who had served in World War II, taking part in the Normandy invasion; and her grandfather who was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. "So having this background of, you know, military," Nogulich explained, "I did look to that, what I had learned and observed from stories from them, and then...I realized what she was saying and realized this woman, Nechayev, was passionate about principle. She really believed in what she was saying was the absolute best thing for the Federation. And I got from her, like most leaders, she had to make hard decisions that were not popular. She couldn't afford to be the humanitarian that Picard was. She couldn't afford to say, 'well yeah, maybe the Borg are people too and we should be nice to them', you know. They were our enemies and she needed to the be the one who said, 'next time, you have an opportunity to destroy them, you will do it'. [...] So, I guess when you ask me who historically...I really look to my dad and my grandfather." 
In a 2013 interview with Ellis Martin, Nogulich recalled a US Marine approaching her during the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas and telling her of generals who watched her performance as Nechayev in order to get an idea of how to speak to their subordinates. Though she was flattered by the comment, Nogulich commented, "It all goes back to the writing, I have to bow my head to that. Because they wrote a great character. And they wrote worthy conflict between me and Captain Picard. And also between me and Captain Sisko - Avery Brooks. [...] And perhaps it was fueled by the fact I was a woman, I don't know."