Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning report "An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” Netflix’s Unbelievable tells the true story of an 18-year-old woman who was raped in her own home by an intruder. The series features a star-studded cast, including award-winning actresses Toni Collette and Merritt Wever. There’s one cast member in particular who might look familiar, leaving some viewers wondering who plays Mia on Unbelievable. Liza Lapira is the actress, and if you think you recognize her, it’s probably because she’s been on some of the most popular shows on TV.
Lapira was featured in Sex and the City, The Sopranos, ER, Dexter and Monk, and she had recurring roles on Don’t Trust The B — In Apartment 23, Huff, Super Fun Night, and NCIS. The New York native's most recent recurring role was that of Eve Roberts on the CBS sitcom, 9JKL.
In a 2018 interview with CBS New York, Lapira said she was born and raised in Queens, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting in 2004. "I actually started out with singing," she revealed. "Then I did a high school play that was a musical. Then after that, I just wanted to act."
When talking about her extensive TV and film career, Lapira told the outlet she felt lucky about finding the success she did. "A lot of people have given me chances when they didn’t have to," she explained. "A lot of people thought outside the box, even though the part was supposed to be for someone blonder or with bluer eyes. All that aside, it’s been fun. I’ve been living the life beyond my dreams. It’s been great."
From her Instagram page, you can tell that Lapira is an avid animal lover, because of all the photos of her dog and other puppies she's shared. The actress also posts plenty of pictures of her family, friends, and colleagues, as well as pictures detailing her contribution to various causes. Most recently, she shared a picture from her run in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, an event that raises money for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Similar to her investigator role as Special Agent Michelle Lee on NCIS, in Unbelievable, Lapira plays Mia, a police surveillance expert working with the team charged with solving a string of rapes. The Netflix series is based on a 2015 article — "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" — that was published in collaboration by ProPublica and The Marshall Project. Covered by journalists Ken Armstrong (The Marshall Project) and T. Christian Miller (ProPublica), the piece told the real-life story of Marie, an 18-year-old former foster child who reported her rape when a man broke into her apartment in the Seattle suburb of Lynwood in 2008. But the cops didn't believe her, and she was later forced to recant what she told detectives. It wasn't until two different detectives investigating a serial rapist found incontrovertible evidence that Marie had been telling the truth about her rape was her name cleared.
Lapira's character is part of the team that finally brings the rapist to justice. She doesn't appear in the series until Episode 3, and while her role may not be huge, it's still nice to see her kicking butt as a cop once again.
Unbelievable is now streaming on Netflix.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.