April 04, 2011 12:00 PM

When it comes to playing a sexy private investigator on The Good Wife, Archie Panjabi admits there’s one serious job perk. “My character has a lot of amazing high heels and boots,” she says with a laugh. Not that Panjabi is going to be sneaking things out of the wardrobe department. “At the end of the week, it’s nice to just hang out in a pair of jeans and let my hair down,” she says. “I need a break from all that fashion!”

But kicking off her shoes is about the only break Panjabi, 38, is getting these days. Since earning accolades-and an Emmy-for her breakout role as the mysterious, bisexual Kalinda Sharma on the CBS hit, the British actress has been jetting between Wife‘s New York set and the London home she shares with her husband of 12 years, Rajesh Nihilani, a tailor. Raised by parents who immigrated from Mumbai, “I feel like I have one foot in New York, one foot in London and one foot in India,” she admits. “But it’s important to me to invest time with family.”

At least she’s used to balancing acts: When Panjabi first took up acting, a profession frowned upon in the conservative Sikh faith in which she was raised, her parents insisted she get a management degree as well. “I worked 9-to-5 jobs and took drama lessons on the side,” she says. Now with her Good Wife success, she says even her buttoned-up family has come around: “The first season just came on in England, and everybody loved it!”

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