Performer of the Week: Jennifer Carpenter

A new feature in which we spotlight the past week’s shining star

THE PERFORMER | Jennifer Carpenter

THE SHOW | Dexter (Showtime)

THE EPISODE | “Argentina”

THE AIRDATE | November 18, 2012

THE PERFORMANCE | The dicey Deb-Dex (kinda-but-not-really) incest arc resurfaced last Sunday in a major way when Deb learned that her brother refused to kill hit-woman Hannah because he was sleeping with her. That brought out the green-eyed monster in Deb and one helluva balls-to-the-wall performance from her underrated portrayer. During Deb’s confrontation with Dex, Carpenter flawlessly expressed her character’s rage, shame and disgust. “I mean it’s one thing to be in love with your brother,” she confessed, “but it’s a whole other level to be in love with your brother who’s a god damn serial killer.” It was a sensational showcase for an actress who was already enjoying the kind of season Emmy campaigns are tailor-made for.

Which performance knocked your socks off this past week?

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  1. I spent the last two seasons crapping all over this show but man did they pull a 180 this season. And yes, Carpenter was truly brilliant last week… so she is guaranteed to NOT get the Emmy. After all, it is going to go to someone on DOWNTON ABBEY or pick-another-underserving-performance-here.

  2. Jan says:

    Glad you finally chose Carpenter. She’s been doing award worthy work on this show.

  3. Razz says:

    I’m so glad others are with me on this. JCarp has been blowing me away this season. I’ve always liked her, but her performance this season really made me respect her as an actress. I’m going to be super cheesed off if she doesn’t at least get an Emmy nod for this!

  4. godzilla's foil says:

    Very well-deserved. And this season of Dexter must be championed more often because it’s going incredibly well, especially after the big disappointment that was season 6.

  5. John says:

    I was pissed that you mentioned Hannah (as awesome as she is) and not Debra as being the turnaround for this show in your Thanksgiving post. So glad that you finally gave her the spotlight!! She’s been nothing short of brilliant this season. I hope she gets nominated for an Emmy.

    • Michael says:

      Hannah adds something fresh to the show. I think that the dynamic between her and Dex is pretty fascinating and extremely engaging. She is, for me, one of the main reasons why this season is working so well.

      Deb, on the other hand, has always been terrific in my opinion. Yes, her acting this year has been top-notch, but I think that it has been top-notch since season one…she has simply been doing what she has been doing since we first met her. I think that Jennifer is an extremely talented actress.

  6. Brigette says:

    Jennifer has been so brilliant this season, if she doesn’t get an Emmy nod I will become physically angry. Like, my dark passenger is just going to go crazy on those Emmy voters. She deserves this!

    • Ari says:

      Does she submit herself as a lead actress or supporting? I have to say, when actors I love get snubbed in the drama category at the emmys at least I can honestly say the other nominees were equally good. It’s the comedy nominations that make me want to gouge my eyes out every year.

  7. Whatever says:

    Actually I’m kinda hoping that either Hanna or Dex get rid of Deb .
    She’s been annoying all season.

  8. Ja'Nelle says:

    This was by far the best performance by Deb of the entire season (possibly of the series? Ok that may be a little bold). She conveyed everything in that scene flawlessly. Thank you Jennifer Carpenter!! and BRAVA!!!

  9. cjeffery7 says:

    jennifer carpenter has been the highlight of the show for me since basically the beginning. her character arc has been phenomenal even when the day to day scripts weren’t, and her total commitment to Deb’s misery and awkwardness and cursing has been nothing short of genius. speaking of, i’m genuinely surprised you found a quote from her that doesnt have any swearing in it!

  10. telly says:

    She’s fantastic! :)

  11. Mandy says:

    Amazing performance. Creepy storyline. I spent the whole time cringing.

  12. rachelle says:

    J.C. has shone this season as Deb. I’ve loved her performance in every episode of S7 so far, but in “Argentina,” she blew my mind. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who noticed how amazing her performance was.

  13. Nate says:

    Correct choice. If she did NOT win the Performer of the Week this week for “Argentina,” it would have made this new (and awesome!) weekly feature uncredible.

  14. Britta Unfiltered says:

    As a runner-up, I suggest Kelly Macdonald on Boardwalk Empire. She broke my heart when Peggy discovered the death of Owen, and also in that scene where she had told him she was pregnant with his kid. Also, Khandi Alexander on Treme. She did such a great job of acting fearful, but trying-so-hard-to-be-strong every time she was confronted and terrorized by her attackers (or was it just her attacker’s friends? I was unclear on that.) Then that final scene when she had to watch her bar burn down after the guys terrorizing her torched the place…so sad!

  15. b. says:

    Yes! Totally agree! Jennifer has been superb! :) At least someone is recognizing her talent! Hopefully the Emmy peeps will too!

  16. JennyS says:

    Jennifer Carpenter has been amazing this season. She’s great!

  17. Deb is a far more complex and fascinating character than Dexter is at this point. i feel like with Dex its been there done that (havent learned a damn thing) and have the t-shirt. I honestly would be more likely to watch the show with him killed off than with her gone.

  18. onlyakb says:

    Jennifer Carpenter was spot on last week!! however is so frustrating that most of the time when you are holding to say something and it comes out in a moment of rage, she gets to say everything she was holding on for so long but in state of mess! does that make sense? anyway her performance was great!!

  19. Superhero says:

    I just can’t get over how freaking stupid the whole incest storyline is (and to clarify, it’s stupid NOT because it’s gross – even though it is, regardless of whether or not they’re blood related – but because it’s something that they just brought up out of nowhere that doesn’t add anything interesting to the characters). Carpenter’s a fine actress, but she deserves much better material. And thankfully, she’s been getting it for most of this season, but they would’ve been better off if they’d just let this stupid storyline die.

  20. Mari says:

    This season has been great. And Jennifer was wonderful in this scene I was feeling so sorry for Deb during it.

  21. Miss O Ginny says:

    Wow….she truly has come a long way from that dressing room scene in the White Chicks movie…..yes, that one.

  22. Arnie says:

    As I was watching this episode, I honestly thought “Jennifer Carpenter better be TVLine’s Performer of the Week.” Glad to see you guys felt the same.

  23. Chris says:

    You’re dead on with this! My boyfriend and I have been consistently wowed by J.C. all season long, I hope she gets awarded with something – I’d also love for her to get her own show after Dexter ends.

  24. anon says:

    I can’t believe she’s never been nominated for her work on Dexter. My god, she’s good. Especially in the latest episode, I’m so uncomfortable with the whole incest thing but Jennifer Carpenter KILLS it in an amazing way every single time.

  25. Jo says:

    Dexter and Deb need to get together

  26. omg that’s exactly what I thought watching the show! If she doesn’t get an award I will be very, very disappointed. She is sensational,she has been through the whole season so far.

  27. jenny says:

    She’s needs an emmy ASAP!!! So brilliant! But it’s ashame some people seem to just now be noticing!

  28. Carol says:

    She was amazing. But I still can’t believe Michael never won an Emmy for his perfomance on this show. And I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m loving the whole Dexter/Debra thing. I hope the writers are bold enough to put them together.

  29. PJ says:

    I loved this scene! She was perfect in every reaction. The same for MCH. Always amazing. And I’m glad they didn’t pretend this storyline was over. I want Deb and Dex together!

  30. Dani says:

    She was PERFECT in this episode, and especially in the quoted scene.
    And as I was watching, I actually thought “I KNOW she’ll be in TV Line’s Performer of the week, because damn, that was good!”.

  31. SuzyB says:

    Deb is my favorite character on tv right now and Carpenter is the only actor who could possibly do her justice. She makes me laugh with that spot-on delivery of f-bombs and sometimes I get a little choked up watching her suffer through all of her relationship issues. So real. A little too pretty to be a Lt., but rough enough to play with the guys. Great pick, TVLine!

  32. doggins13 says:

    As Much as I love debs vulgar bad self I fear Clair danes. Will hurt her chances homeland is badass

  33. cinthy says:

    loved her! she is awesome, that scene made me cry, enough said