TVLine's Performer of the Week: Hugh Dancy

Hannibal Hugh DancyA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Hugh Dancy

THE SHOW | Hannibal

THE EPISODE | “Buffet Froid”

THE AIRDATE | May 30, 2013

It’s tough to pull focus from a series’ titular character, especially when that character is a cannibalistic sociopath who views murder as the highest art form. But in Thursday’s episode, Hannibal’s exploits took a back seat to Hugh Dancy’s portrayal of the killer’s fragile pawn, Will Graham.

RELATED | TV Season in Review: Breaks Are Bad, Gore Is Good and More Lessons Learned

The genius-as-prickly-recluse thing has been done before; Hugh Laurie as Gregory House instantly comes to mind. But Will has none of Dr. House’s swagger or bravado to protect him, and Dancy’s vulnerability in the quirky role makes the socially awkward profiler an endearing – and intriguing — character.

When Will is under duress, as he was on Thursday, Dancy is incandescent. He filled the episode with a frantic energy as Will feared he was going insane (but unknowingly suffered from encephalitis). Each time Graham’s mind took another disturbing detour, the actor conveyed a new level of freaked-out. His eyes darted. He paced. He pleaded with Hannibal for answers. And by the time Will shouted his name, the time and his location in a vain attempt to root himself in reality, Dancy had elegantly worked his character into a panic nearly as scary as Dr. Lecter himself.

HONORABLE MENTION | Mad Men‘s January Jones

The real Betty is back, and January Jones is on fire. No longer shackled to fat suits and Betty’s crumbled self-esteem, Jones played the skinny former Mrs. Draper with gusto on Sunday. Whether she was coyly courting an admirer, proudly singing a goofy song at Bobby’s camp or delivering a perfect post-coital send-up of Don, Jones shone with Betty’s newly regained confidence. Here’s hoping the actress gets more opportunities to strut Betty’s slimmed-down stuff in the remainder of the season.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?



Comments (29)

  • I think Rachel Nichols deserves honorable mention. She was pretty amazing in the last episode of Continuum!

    Comment by JustineK – June 1, 2013 10:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • TVline is a US web site, Continuum isn’t back yet.

      Comment by Lauren – June 1, 2013 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She may get it in a couple of months once those episodes start airing here in the states…

      Comment by wordsmith – June 1, 2013 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes YES YESS! Hugh Dancy is absolutely incredible as Will. One of my fave scenes was when he reached for the hand of the girl under is bed. Perfect!

    Comment by Lalla – June 1, 2013 10:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Couldn’t agree more. Hugh was phenomenal this week–not that he isn’t usually.

    Comment by Kelly – June 1, 2013 10:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t think anybody really stood out this week but if I had to choose one person as Performer of the Week it would be Amy Schumer. I thought she was hysterical on this weeks episode of Inside Amy Schumer.

    Comment by Ralph Hartman – June 1, 2013 10:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Absolutely loved this week’s Hannibal

    Comment by Patrick Maloney – June 1, 2013 12:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Do you have anyone who can do this better unbroken than I do broken” – Will to Jack
    Yes! Perfect call for performer of the week. Hugh Dancy is incredible. Legit chills whenever he says “This is my design”.

    Comment by kirads09 – June 1, 2013 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Guess we’re very happy that Hannibal got renewed for a second season and they better get their ratings groove back.

    Comment by Jack Bauer 2.0 – June 1, 2013 12:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • YES. This man deserves an Emmy, his performance is FLAWLESS.

    Comment by Chelsea (@nubiledays) – June 1, 2013 12:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes! I love Hugh!

    Comment by N – June 1, 2013 01:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t really comment on Hugh Dancy or January Jones because I don’t watch Mad Men or Hannibal, but I will say I was very impressed by Blake Berris on Days of Our Lives. I used to be a huge soap fan in my teen days, but stopped watching during college, and just started watching some again. I haven’t ever been as impressed with soap acting as I was with Blake Berris this week on his performance of such a sensitive topic. I think he proved that soap opera actors deserve more credit. it was such a good performance, and I look forward to seeing what else he does in the future on Days or another platform.

    Comment by jerrired – June 1, 2013 01:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I will say both Blake and Ellien Davidson as both honor mentions

      Comment by Paul8148 – June 1, 2013 03:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hugh was incredible as always. Let’s hope he gets some recognition from Emmy- he’s just as much a lead on Hannibal as Mads is.

    Comment by NotBri – June 1, 2013 02:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes! He’s great and so is Mads Mikkelsen.

    Comment by Mari – June 1, 2013 03:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • perfect call for POTW! i am the world’s biggest horror fan, so i expected to be in this show for Dr. Lector, but at this point, i consider it Will’s show, Not Hannibal’s. Hugh Dancy does the roll so chillingly precise i find myself actually getting choked up when he’s afraid and such. Just perfect!

    Comment by Deb M – June 1, 2013 07:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • YES January!! She deserves it, although a lot of people don’t like Betty, I adore her and I think January’s portrait is spot on.
    Thank God Big Betty is gone and Confident Betty is on!

    Comment by sophie – June 2, 2013 12:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hugh Dancy is knocking it out of the park as Will Graham. Much better than Edward Norton and on par with Peterson’s mesmerizing performance on ManHunter

    Comment by Amy – June 2, 2013 05:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nice to see January Jones get some positive press for once! I’ve always loved the way she plays Betty and this week she was awesome, especially in that bedroom scene with Don. I hope we see more of Betty from now on.

    Comment by cat – June 2, 2013 05:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry but Tatiana Maslany deserves this.

    Comment by Jenny – June 2, 2013 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hugh is Much deserving of this and an Emmy.. He is one of the Best actors out there in my opinion. It’s nice 2 see him being recognized.

    Comment by ally – June 2, 2013 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dancy is the only reason I’m still watching this disappointing show.It feels just a collection of “soulless” scenes of gore. Mikkelsen is terrible as Hannibal, a mix of Lurch from the Addams Family and Mumbles from Dick Tracy. Fishburne a good actor is wasted here.

    Comment by yless – June 2, 2013 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I Love this Dude. I actually love the entire cast. Will is always great. S2 Great News.

    Comment by Jate – June 2, 2013 01:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That’s awesome. Dancy did a great job. :D

    Comment by creamie – June 2, 2013 04:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just want to suggest that the next performer of the week should go to Michelle Fairley.

    Comment by Olive – June 3, 2013 01:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hugh is great. I just want to give Will a hug… :(

    Comment by Mikael – June 3, 2013 09:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He is amazing! very much enjoy the show because of him

    Comment by chocolatfrog – June 3, 2013 09:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes, Hugh Dancy truly deserves all the recognition and he was mind-blowing in this week’s episode! When he is scared you can feel the fear too; that’s how great he is! If he doesn’t get Emmy nomination this year it would be so disappointing!

    Comment by hedi – June 5, 2013 09:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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