Jenny Reilly is played by actress Olivia Wilde. Jenny, a quiet Irish
Catholic tomboy, grew up alongside the Donnelly brothers. Jenny is
unselfish when it comes to her own family which is comprised of just
her father and herself as she has no mother around. She works at her
father's diner and cares for him and has no other aspirations as she
is not given that opportunity. Jenny, after only a year of marriage,
becomes the widow of an estranged husband. Her husband is rumored to
be (and mostly likely is) dead due to his own debts which are unknown to Jenny.
There is a lovelorn romance that exists between Tommy Donnelly
and Jenny as there is with most dramatic storylines. Tommy is viewed as the
protagonist and Jenny the love interest in the series. Tommy tries
his best to protect Jenny and the Reilly family in any way that he
can even though Mr. Reilly despises the Donnelly family. Jenny
constantly struggles with her feelings for Tommy and feels the need
to understand herself before she can pursue her own desires. As
Olivia Wilde stated in an interview, "I
think when we enter into their story, she's just learning about how
it's impossible to ignore your own innermost needs and desires."
This is something that we see predominantly in the episode entitled
"Lies", where Jenny makes a terrible mistake by misleading a local delivery man named Samson who we find out later has an obsession with Jenny that turns into
rage and resentment. After her encounter with Samson, Jenny visits the church and is unable to find a resolution to her problems but decides to start fresh in the best way she can. Jenny is a character who has pride and rarely
asks for help. In the season finale, you'll see she is violated by Samson and later takes matters into her own hands when she forced to defend herself against him. After taking such action, it will now be increasingly difficult for her to find her identity and fresh start.
While Olivia Wilde has been recently cast in a recurring role on FOX's "House", we will best remember her as portraying one of The Black Donnellys complex and loved characters, Jenny Reilly.