TVLine's Performer of the Week: Matthew Lillard

The BridgeA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Matthew Lillard

THE SHOW | The Bridge

THE AIRDATE | Sept. 11, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE Shaggy’s no joke anymore. Matthew Lillard, best known for playing Scooby-Doo’s attitude-adjusted pal, has turned his coke-addled, alcoholic Daniel Frye into the most sympathetic character on The Bridge.  In a show led by the phenomenal Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir, Lillard stands out for his ability to make his man-child journalist at once relatable, contemptible and pitiable.

Lillard’s two scenes this week were the gin-soaked cherry on top of a terrific season of work. In the first, an off-the-wagon Daniel comes clean to his coworker Adriana (Emily Rios, Breaking Bad) about his involvement in the hit-and-run death of Big Bad David Tate’s wife and son. Drunk and emotional, he tells Adriana that she is his only friend. We were left awe-struck by Lillard’s capacity to take Daniel to rock bottom, show true remorse for his mistakes, and then, almost wordlessly, realize how far he has fallen.

The next time we see Daniel, he’s at an AA meeting, thanking another participant for making his own life seem less depressing. This scene allows Lillard to show off his comedic skills, and then transition at break-neck speed into a blubbering mess. In that moment, we feel deeply for Daniel, making his kidnapping and possible murder by Tate all the more heartbreaking. If there’s one character we most want to see cross The Bridge into greener pastures, it’s Daniel Frye — and that’s all thanks to Lillard’s performance.

HONORABLE MENTIONS Rookie Blue‘s Missy Peregrym for her emotionally stirring work in a moment of crisis during the bullet-ridden season finale. As Andy recounted a tender moment in their relationship to wounded ex-boyfriend Sam, Peregrym brought to life the confusion and realization of what Andy was feeling for him. But even as she tried to stay strong and push back the tears during that ambulance ride, her panic and fear was palpable. Andy may be a rookie cop, but Peregrym is a pro when it comes to pulling on our heartstrings…. Burn Notice‘s Sharon Gless for making the utterly unrelatable scenario of a mother electing to sit on a bomb nonetheless hit home for all of us. As the spy drama’s very final hour unspooled, we knew a death was coming — we were braced for it — yet Gless’ performance still blew us away, as Maddie beseeched her son Michael, over the phone, to allow her this grand, selfless gesture. She cried, Michael cried, Jesse cried. And so did we.

What performance knocked your socks off this week? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Lisa says:

    I agree whole heartedly regarding Midst Peregrym & Sharon G less. Both were stellar performances. I also think Daniel Sunjata (FBI Agent Paul Briggs) of “Graceland” had an amazing performance. He does a great job if blurring the lines between doing wrong things for the right reason. The audience loves him one minute & hates him the next. Fantastic acting!!!!

  2. Linderella says:

    Matthew Lilliard was extraordinary and heartbreaking.

  3. enri says:

    Matthew Lillard has been amazing on The Bridge…especially this episode. I hope to see more of his character on the show

  4. what! says:

    Oh, jolly good, Matthew was great!

  5. Lisa says:

    I’ll admit I cried during Maddie’s final scene.

    What a fantastic career Sharon Gless has had!!!

  6. Samantha says:

    Never thought Matthew Lillard would be my favorite actor/character in anything, but he’s just brilliant in The Bridge.

  7. Sarah says:

    Missy Peregrym and Sharon Gless both had fantastic performances this week, absolutely deserve recognition.

  8. Zach says:

    I have always been a big Matthew Lillard fan. Scooby Doo was pretty bad, but his acting in it was outstanding. Especially when you consider he was talking to a giant tennis ball the whole time. I really hope he gets a regular role on a series soon. Apparently his pilot at NBC is still in contention.

  9. Babygate says:

    I have to agree. Shaggy straight up made me cry. Every emotion was written on his face. The fear, helplessness, self-loathing… He seamlessly moved from one to the next in the process making me cry like a baby.

  10. H.Houston says:

    Sharon Gless absolutely. I don’t watch the Bridge. But for me this week I would have put the four main characters of Burn Notice up. For them to all reclaim alittle of their bygone personas and a few of their well known lines… and just the incredibleness of their finale. I would have put them up.

  11. Apres Ski says:

    Gless has always been an outstanding actress on Burn Notice along with Missy Peregrym on Rookie Blue.

    But Matthew Lilliard in The Bridge is just amazing! One scene he has when he’s snorting coke & drinking booze with a rich kid, drug dealer. He’s in his underwear and he’s asking for his “pants”. His legs are cold and he needs his pants. OMG!!! The drug dealer motions one of the hired help to give up his pants to Lilliard while the drug dealer throws money in the air at the help. Lilliard walks outside pulling up his pants and talking to the drug dealer while druming on his car while the dealer drives away to get more coke.

    It’s just an outstanding scene worth watching . . .

  12. Miss Priss says:

    Lillard has been a treat to watch on The Bridge, he’s done a great job with humanizing a pretty obnoxious character; he’s played drunk, high, scared sh*tless, weeping, snarky and flat out funny, but his sober scenes have been amazing to watch.

  13. I so agree Matthew Lillard deserves the recognition

  14. maltru says:

    Late to the game here, but how in the world is Matthew Lillard best known as Shaggy, versus being known as a major character in one of the most successful horror franchises of the last two decades?!

  15. Miranda says:

    Matthew Lillard has been a revelation in The Bridge. He really hits me in the gut with his pitiful character. Ultimately he is trying hard, and failing most of the time, to be a good person.

  16. Aprilcot says:

    I finally just got caught up on The Bridge, and wow. I’ve been a Matthew Lillard fan since Scream. He’s so underrated…I’ve looked forward to seeing him each week on The Bridge.