By Lynette Rice
Updated June 17, 2015 at 05:27 PM EDT

This whole idea of playing an astronaut for today is so not what Halle Berry imagined.

When Berry signed on to Extant, CBS’ summer series about an astronaut named Molly (Berry) who comes back from a long mission in space with unexpected cargo in her belly, the Oscar-winning actress thought the gig would allow her more time with her family.

Boy, was she wrong.

“It is a whole lot of work,” she told reporters recently in preparation for the drama’s July 1 return. “I mean, I’ve never worked so hard in my life last year. And I was nursing, my baby was three months old, so I was doing drive-by nursings every two hours and I was over my head, the amount of scenes we shoot in a day, the things I had to memorize. I really, last year, learned how to work that muscle of memorization and I got it down this year. So this year, without having the baby nursing, I strengthened that muscle this year, and it’s indelibly better than last year. But it was an awakening last year. thought, ‘I’m going to go into TV, be at home with my family.’ I didn’t see my family and I never worked harder in my life. So hats off to everybody who does television, because it’s a grind.”

This season, the action on the Amblin Entertainment drama picks up six months later when Molly, who has been confined to a psychiatric facility after the events of season 1, finds out about a new series of deaths that seem awfully similar to what she experienced in space. She crosses paths with a cop (newly cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whom she enlists to help track down her space baby. That means less screen time for Molly’s hubby (Goran Visnjic) as well as her bestie Sam (Camryn Manheim).

“Last season, the show was about survival,” explains Liz Kruger, who took over showrunning duties this season with husband Craig Shapiro. “It introduced the ideas of aliens and artificial intelligence who were in a desperate fight for survival with human beings. This season is an evolution story. The world is evolving faster than it had when the dinosaurs went extinct, and Molly is evolving in ways that may either save humanity or destroy it.”

Extant will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.