By Shirley Li
Updated September 11, 2015 at 02:28 PM EDT
Credit: Michael Desmond/Showtime
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Table for four, please — four very, very troubled characters on Masters of Sex. In an upcoming episode aptly titled “Party of Four” (airing Sept. 20), Bill (Michael Sheen) sets up a thoroughly awkward “business” dinner by inviting Virginia (Lizzy Caplan), Virginia’s lover-slash-perfume magnate Dan Logan (Josh Charles), and — to rile up drama — Dan’s wife, Alice Logan, played by guest star Judy Greer.

As Greer tells EW in an exclusive first look, Alice has enough problems of her own, including her heavy drinking and her inability to confront her husband about his infidelity. She knows that he’s been sleeping with Virginia, and the last person she wants to see at a dinner is his other woman. (Virginia, though, is just as blindsided by Alice’s presence.) Greer spoke to EW about her role and what it was like to transport into the ’60s:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with your character, Alice. She leads a wealthy lifestyle with her husband, but she’s unhappy. Can you tell me about where her head is at as she heads to this dinner?

JUDY GREER: She’s very weary. This is a woman who does still believe in love and that her marriage can be saved, but she’s just really lost, she’s really lonely. I wonder what comes first, the chicken or the egg, like, I think she drinks because he cheats, and she’s sad and miserable, and I think he cheats because she’s sad and miserable and drinks … It’s interesting, Masters is the one who organized this dinner and he invited Alice on purpose. When she sees Virginia there, and sees the way her husband is talking about her, it just unravels her. She’s just like, dumbfounded that she’s sitting here at this table with this woman … And Masters is just enjoying being the puppeteer, and Dan is sort of trying to control Alice and her drinking what she’s saying. He’s also trying to stand up for Virginia because of how she was treated by Masters earlier in the day, and he’s challenging Masters. So I feel like everyone at the table has a real specific, but different agenda. Things really unravel quickly.

There’s a photo [below] of you and Lizzy on the couch, so I’m assuming there’s a scene between you two in the episode as well.

Yup, when the dinner’s over, Alice has a moment alone with her husband where he says he loves Virginia, and she’s like, ‘Bulls—,’ and then she gets upset and runs into the bathroom, and Virginia follows her. That’s kind of when we have our moment together, when Alice tells her that she already knows [about their affair].

Credit: Michael Desmond/Showtime

How did you get involved with this role? Are you a fan of the show?

Yeah, I’m a fan. I worked many years ago with [Masters of Sex showrunner] Michelle Ashford on a pilot that didn’t get picked up, so I knew her. Her manager told me there was a great role on the show, and they sent me an outline of what the episode was going to be, and it blew me away. I thought it was a really awesome character to play.

What was it like stepping into Alice’s shoes and into this time period? Is it strange for you to dive into this role in the middle of doing all your other projects, especially comedies like Married?

Yeah, it was a little bit weird. I had just come from doing a movie in Minneapolis where I play this vegan, hippie dog walker who’s like, “Heeey, yeaaaah, happiness and love and peace,” to this, like, wearing a girdle and in a corset and … [Laughs] I was just like, “What is happening?” But it was really fun, I haven’t done a lot of period work but by the time you go through hair and makeup, it’s very transformative … And it felt like the vibe on set is so fun and easy. I’ve known Josh Charles for years so I felt really comfortable being there with everybody. I was just thrilled to work with all of them and to get such meaty material, too.

Is there any chance of you appearing in more episodes?

I can’t say 100 percent yes, but I’m really hoping so. They were definitely dangling that carrot while I was there, so I hope they weren’t just being nice! They were like, ‘We often have our guest stars come back!” And I was like, “Great, I want to!”

Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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Masters of Sex

This Showtime drama tells the steamy story of real-life sex researchers in the 1950s.
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