The 67-year-old actress, who previously said she was done playing Samantha Jones in the franchise, reprised her role as the beloved public relations specialist during the episode’s first five minutes. In the scene, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) walks into her old apartment to prepare for her “Last Supper” meal when she receives a phone call from Sam, who is living her best PR boss lady life abroad in London.
The scene is especially sweet to watch after showrunner Michael Patrick King revealed that a specific moment in the short scene was improvised by Cattrall during filming.
During the latest episode of the Max comedy’s The Writers Room podcast, King shared the “amazing” moment when “Samantha kisses the phone” after saying goodbye to Parker’s Carrie was “not in the script,” adding, “It was totally [an instance of] an actor playing a moment. And it’s really nice.”
In the scene, an upset Samantha informs Carrie from the phone in a car that her flight is three hours delayed and she won’t be able to make it to New York in time for the meal. “I was going to surprise you!” Samantha laments.
“Oh my gosh, well you did. I’m very surprised,” Carrie admits, smiling.
Declaring herself, “f**king furious,” Samantha says she’d wanted to “pay my respects” to the apartment that had been with the OG women through so much. She asks Carrie to put her on speaker and tells the apartment (with a slight British accent), “Thank you for everything, you f**king fabulous, fabulous flat.”
When Carrie teases her friend about her accent, Samantha says she’s “Annabelle Bronstein” from “Indja,” a throwback to a past episode of Sex and the City where Samantha tried to get into the Soho House by pretending to be a woman named Annabelle Bronstein only to learn that woman was British. Sam had tried to play off the flub by declaring she’s from “Indja.”
Samantha ends her call with Carrie saying, “Ta and cheerio, and have a great night.”
The exchange is brief, but lovely, and a real callback to everything Sex and the City fans loved about the original series. There’s even a small reference to a season 6 episode for eagle-eyed viewers.
News broke in May that Cattrall had signed on to make a surprise cameo in a cliffhanger finale for the second season of the Max spinoff series. Soon after, Cattrall shared that her one stipulation for appearing in honor of the franchise’s 25th anniversary was that she be dressed by original Sex and the City costume designer Patricia Field.
“It’s very interesting to get a call from the head of HBO saying, ‘What can we do?’ I went, ‘Hmmm. Let me get creative,'” Cattrall recalled with a laugh during an appearance on The View back in June.
“And one of those things was to get Pat Field back,” she said. “I just thought, ‘If I’m gonna come back, I’ve got to come back with that kind of Samantha style. I’ve got to push it.’ And we did.”
King previously told ET that he orchestrated the cameo in honor of the 25th anniversary of Sex and the City.
“Even to the point where Kim was finished playing her for a while I wanted to keep Samantha alive because she’s a big part of the Sex and the City brand,” he said. “So here it is the 25th anniversary, and I guess magic happened. Some showbiz emotional fan magic happened where all of a sudden Kim is like, ‘All right, let’s show up for this special treat.’ And it was fun. I mean, it was always fun to write Samantha, and it was great to have the chance to take her from text to face.”
ET also previously spoke with Parker, whom Cattrall has had public tension with for years, about her former co-star’s return.
“I was really excited about the idea,” Parker told ET. “I thought it was a really good idea and I was thrilled that, you know, we could make it happen and that it worked for her and it’s just really nice to see. It’s really nice. I was really pleased.”
After a lengthy friendship throughout the course of Sex and the City’s six-season run and two subsequent films, Samantha and Carrie are estranged on And Just Like That after a business argument. The character of Samantha was previously represented on And Just Like That with a series of back-and-forth texts between her and Carrie following the death of Carrie’s husband, Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
Co-stars Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbes) and Kristin Davis (Charlotte York) told ET that they were disappointed that the secret of Cattrall’s cameo was ruined earlier this year after the news was leaked.
“We were hoping we could keep it under wraps, and she would just pop up as a person who’s watching the episode and it would be this delightful unexpected surprise,” Nixon told ET. “Unfortunately now it’s been blown, which is really a bummer. Most of it was just this surprise of her coming back. I think we all are emphasizing it’s really brief, it’s just a moment, so don’t be expecting anything other than that.”
After Max announced that the Sex and the City sequel series, has been renewed for season 3, fans have been wondering if there could be more to Samantha — and Cattrall’s — brief return.
King shared the news of the show’s renewal earlier this week, saying, “We are thrilled to spend more time in the Sex and the City universe telling new stories about the lives of these relatable and aspirational characters played by these amazing actors. And Just Like That… here comes season 3.”
Although Cattrall spoke positively of her return for the season 2 finale, the actress did not seem open to future cameos when speaking with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show back in June.
She shared, “I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to Samantha. She’s like a lot of other characters that I’ve done over the years. I get very emotionally attached and protective of my characters. She gave me so much, and I’m so appreciative of her.”
But when asked if she’d return for a potential season 3, Cattrall replied, “That’s as far as I’m going to go,” seemingly implying that her season 2 cameo was the extent of her time on the series.
Seasons 1 and 2 of And Just Like That are currently streaming on Max.