played by Eliza Coupe
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Character Bio

Nina had it all: She was a successful, smart, well-off corporate attorney with a handsome fiancé. But in a rapid series of unfortunate events, some of which were self-inflicted, it all came crashing down. She is now working as a public defender, struggling to make a difference in a judicial system that has none of the perks—and seemingly none of the order—of what she’s used to. Surrounded by both hardened criminals as well as society’s downtrodden who have resorted to crime to get by, along with an offbeat group of coworkers and constant reminders of her failed love life, Nina somehow manages to rise from the ashes of her own undoing and thrive in her new circumstances. Despite her resilience, Nina has her share of flaws, and in trying to do her best, she continues to get in her own way–both romantically and professionally.  

Eliza Coupe stars as Nina Whitley, a distinguished corporate lawyer who has given up everything in her climb to the top.  Nina’s personal and professional worlds are turned upside down when she joins the ranks of the legal world's underdogs in USA’s new comedy “Benched.” 

Coupe most recently starred as the competitive, neurotic, and off-beat "Jane Kerkovich-Williams" in the critically- acclaimed comedy, “Happy Endings.”  She recently wrapped a starring role in the Mo Perkins helmed independent feature “The Last Time You Had Fun.”  Coupe had a recurring arc on “House of Lies” as "Marissa," a wild-child internet head and heir to a wealthy media family.  Additionally, she recurred on “The Millers,” playing Janice, the ex-wife of Will Arnett's character, Jack.

Her additional television credits include a lead role in “Scrubs” as well as guest-starring roles on “Flight of the Conchords,” “Samantha Who,” “Unhitched,” “12 Miles of Bad Road” and “Royal Pains.”

On the big screen, Coupe starred in the independent romantic comedy “Shanghai Calling” opposite Daniel Henney and Bill Paxton.  The film was featured at the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival, the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Stonybrook Film Festival and the Asian American International Film Festival.   Her additional film credits include the 20th Century Fox romantic comedy “What’s Your Number?” alongside Anna Faris and Chris Evans, as well as “I Think I Love My Wife” with Chris Rock.

Coupe first garnered industry attention in 2006 when her hilarious and irreverent one-woman show, “The Patriots,” performed at UCB/NYC and was selected for HBO’s prestigious U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.   She won the festival’s jury award for Breakout Actor of 2006 for her performance, an award designated by a panel of TV and film industry executives.  That same year Coupe was featured in VARIETY as one of their “10 Comics to Watch.”

Coupe is originally from Plymouth, New Hampshire and has a B.F.A. in theatre from California Institute of the Arts.