Chrisjen Avasarala, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, is a master politician and maneuverer, she achieved one of the highest ranks in UN government without ever standing for election. Chrisjen is bold, forthright, and occasionally manipulative while pursuing peace in a solar system desperately working to tear itself apart. She manipulates those in the highest seats of power through careful cultivation of relationships with the spouses, friends, and staff nearest to them. Chrisjen always has a way of cutting to the gist of any situation.
Avasarala is a powerful woman, all action with no time for nonsense. Recent character development in season 5 has changed how Avasarala wields that power. Though Avasarala may be back heading up the UN, she’s a different leader than she used to be, and Aghdashloo says she loves and respects her character for her behavior.
“I like getting shit done and, I like keeping my head attached to my neck.”
— Chrisjen (in “The Seventh Man”)
After Marco Inaros launched his attack on Earth, everything changed for The Expanse’s Chrisjen Avasarala. Shohreh Aghdashloo’s character was previously the Secretary-General of the UN but later lost her position to Nancy Gao. When Inaros attacked Earth, Gao and many others perished, including Avasarala’s husband, Arjun. The new power vacuum led to David Paster’s elevation to acting Secretary-General. Paster egged on Admiral Felix Delgado, launched a violent counterstrike against the Belters at Pallas. Avasarala was quick to point out the questionable morality of Paster’s decision. Paster was later removed in a no-confidence vote, and Avasarala was reinstated as Secretary-General.
Shohreh Aghdashloo says that playing Chrisjen Avasarala has been a treat. In fact, she goes so far as to say that she loves and respects her character in The Expanse for her behavior and principles.
“And this is what I adore and love and respect about Avasarala — although she is not in agreement with the new secretary, she does not believe in what he’s about to do…. She tells him to his face, ‘I do not agree with you, this is not right,’”
“And the next moment, when some of these people decide to go against Secretary Paster, she disagrees. She says, ‘This is treason.’ So this tells me that she always separates herself from her duty. And, no matter what, whether she likes the person or not, her duty dictates to her, not to accept this coup.”
“This is what I love about Avasarala. She’s pretty clear about what she wants from her job, from her life, or from everything else,”
– Said Aghdashloo on Twitter.