Maggie Q on being stalked: "It's terrorizing"

Actress Maggie Q is portraying another strong female character, this time in a new CBS television series called "Stalker." She is famous for her starring role in the action-thriller series, "Nikita," and for playing Tori Wu in "Divergent."

Q, who has been a victim of stalking herself, called the issue is a "troubling topic."

"It's in some ways debilitating. It's terrorizing," she said.

"Stalker" tells the story of Los Angeles Police Department detectives who investigate stalking incidents.

"The thing that fascinated me and the reason I took this show was the tie between the people committing the crimes and mental illness," she said. "And this is an issue that's now very topical at the moment in the media. And it's prevalent and it's a problem because we're not addressing it the way that we should."

The eight "Stalker" detectives in the LAPD Threat Assessment Unit have backgrounds specializing in mental illness, Q said, and they work to prevent crime in a different way than, say, a homicide detective would.

"When I read the pilot, the statistics were staggering to me. I was so disturbed by how many people suffer with this," the actress said.

Q said less than 10 percent of stalking cases are celebrity-related.

"Celebrities are harder to stalk if you think about it," Q said. "It's not an easy thing because they're more protected and obviously when their stories come out in the public, you know more about them and there's more focus on them. But when you're just an average everyday person, you're going to the gas station, grocery store, and some man's bothering you, you go to the police. There's a reason why there's a special unit for this."

She also spoke highly of her co-star, Dylan McDermott, calling him "not just talented and not just accomplished, but also the kindest and most sort of generous co-star that one can have."

Q, whose mother is Vietnamese and father is Irish-Polish, was born and raised in Hawaii. She started her acting career overseas where people could not pronounce her full last name, Quigley.

"They couldn't say it, so they didn't. They shortened it," she recalled.

Q counts herself lucky for growing up in a culturally diverse environment.

"In Hawaii everybody's mixed, and I didn't understand what it meant to be anything else. I thought everybody was everything," she said.

It wasn't until Q moved overseas that she first encountered discrimination.

"I didn't even know what it was. I couldn't even label it because I had never experienced it before," she said.

Q said the experience was both interesting and odd.

"I lived in Japan and I remember there was a group of girls, and I'd see them all the time, they're white girls, and they wouldn't speak to me. They would look past me," she said.

She confronted them and asked, "What is it with you? What's your problem?"

"And they said, 'Well, aren't you Mexican?' And I said, 'Even if I was, is that an issue? I'm not sure that that's an issue.' And so I wasn't blond and I didn't have blue eyes and I was living in an area where everybody looked like that and so they kind of excluded me and I thought that was so odd," Q said.

Q called herself a "confronter," and she will be channeling her strong personality in her role as detective Beth Davis.