TVLine's Performer of the Week: Olivia Colman

Broadchurch finaleA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER Olivia Colman

THE SHOW | Broadchurch

THE EPISODE | “Episode 8”

THE AIRDATE | Sept. 25, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Whodunit? It’s more like howdshedothat?!

Colman has delivered a consistently stellar performance as DS Miller throughout Broadchurch‘s first seven episodes. But nothing could prepare us for the tour-de-force she unleashed in this week’s gripping, gut-wrenching finale of the BBA America drama.

When DI Hardy (an also-stellar David Tennant) started lightly grilling Miller about her whereabouts the night 11-year-old Danny Latimer was murdered, her initial confusion (was she a suspect?) gave way to frustration (“Don’t call me Ellie,” she barked at her partner) and then paralyzing fear when the line of questioning turned to her husband, Joe.

“OK, no more questions,” she demanded. “You tell me what’s going on.”

And then Hardy did just that. He informed her that her beloved partner in life was behind the death of Danny. Miller’s initial reaction was one of angry denial, and Colman nailed every beat of it.

“No… what the f—?” she protested, her eyes welling up with tears. “No he didn’t. He didn’t.”

Once Hardy informed her that Joe was already in custody, Miller literally became paralyzed by the horror of it all, before collapsing to the ground, gasping for air and vomiting into her hands. Colman bravely, fearlessly threw her whole body into the performance. She did so again later when Miller confronted her husband. His non-denial when she pressed him about his guilt was all the confirmation she needed. She charged at him, fists — and feet — flying. Her guttural screams could’ve awakened the dead. Her performance definitely pierced our hearts.

HONORABLE MENTION | Trophy Wife‘s Malin Akerman for being the charming, sexy, funny heart of her new family comedy. From the first moments of the pilot, Akerman winningly played Kate as a gorgeous, goofy, generally good-hearted underdog with excellent comedic chops (has anyone in recent memory played funny-drunk so flawlessly?). In an ensemble that includes talented vets Bradley Whitford and Marcia Gay Harden, Akerman more than holds her own.

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81 Comments
  1. Guy says:

    Sadly, I don’t watch Broadchurch. I would have chosen Mariska Hargitay. She was phenomenal this week.

  2. mandy says:

    OMG. Yes.

  3. Linderella says:

    Absolutely! She captured the stunned denial and realization of the horror her love had committed. I felt like I was in the room with her. Awesome performance!

  4. She was truly amazing. Totally due performance of the week.

  5. Missy Kelly says:

    You are absolutely correct about POTW! This was phenomenal. You had tweeted that the last hour of Broadchurch was powerful and it truly was.

  6. NIna says:

    Absolutely agree. I’d also add how Miller silently accepted when Beth threw the same words she had spoken to Susan in an earlier episode back in her face. She looked absolutely gutted.

    • Sparky says:

      I thought when Beth walked out to her when she was standing in the field that Beth would just throw her arms around her and they would both cry. Couldn’t help but feel even worse for Ellie. Definitely didn’t see that coming as the killer. Great season…can’t wait to see the next one.

  7. lena says:

    Excellent choice.

  8. alison says:

    I saw this when it was shown in the UK and it was the best performance I had seen in a long time.

    • Rob Horine says:

      No Mariska, NO PEACE! C’mon people, let’s start a chant.

      I can see how Colman’s performance is excellent. But Olivia Benson went down the rabbit hole and came out with a baseball bat, but not her soul. She crossed the line. And seeing the path of self destruction she’ll be on (possibly a self fulfilling prophecy to die like her mom) or if Benson can find her redemption. And Mariska totally delivered like a Papa John’s Pizza.

      In short, Best Actress in a Drama- Mariska Hargitay.

      • maggie says:

        “Mariska totally delivered like a Papa John’s Pizza.”

        Rob, you should have come up with a better line, because Papa John’s pizzas are awful.

        • Rob Horine says:

          To tell the truth, there is no mass market pizza that’s decent in Louisville (my town). But it is the HQ for Papa Johns. I wouldn’t even feed a PJs pizza to my worst enemy.

          That said, there are many smaller restaurant’s pizza that totally rock!

          • maggie says:

            Yes, mass market pizza chains don’t have great pizza. Small, local restaurants are where to look for great pizza!

  9. P says:

    Olivia Colman is the perfect choice for Performer of the Week, for all the reasons you listed. While I started to suspect it might come down to Joe – though not why – watching Miller’s entire world collapse in an instant with such a gutwrenching believable reaction made the finale episode almost entirely hers, even though Tennant has been excellent throughout the series, as has Colman. Brava Ms. Colman!

  10. Elyse says:

    yes!!!!! she was amazing! that finale had me crying and left me with my mouth hanging open! hopefully in season 2 she and Hardy get together and make an angry cop couple ;)

  11. jovanka says:

    I would have picked Paul Guilfoyle. Yes, he’s on CSI, that show is mostly a joke any more, and his character, Jim Brass, has practically disappeared. But when they finally gave him something to do, he absolutely delivered in an amazingly gut-wrenching performance.

  12. Jaks says:

    fantastic choice! Olivia Colman is a fantastic actress. Not just at drama, but also at comedy [re: Beautiful People]. She deserves to be talked about for this performance and show.

  13. Txgina says:

    Absolutely agree. Coleman nailed every moment, every emotion, and every step of reaction. She was brilliant. I was sick to my stomach with dread watching it play out. It was powerful.

  14. TV Gord says:

    It’s an excellent show, and she is wonderful. A disturbing conclusion, though. It made my skin crawl. They did an effective job making the killer sympathetic and not a one-dimensional villain. It was powerful.

  15. Lynn says:

    Nailed it! Perfect Choice…..I was sobbing watching this. All of the acting on this show has been amazing but she ripped my heart out.

  16. Cate Amos says:

    Brilliant performances by all artists involved on this one. My favorite part was when Ellie asked DI Hardy what she could possibly do if left alone with her husband since he could essentially squish her like a bug – and then proceeded to kick his ass, literally.

    One quibble I do have with the broadcast is that we (stateside) apparently got short shrift. I read on another message board how editing by BBC America cut approximately 20 minutes of each episode to accommodate commercials. Seems like there were some pivotal moments that could have given us a little more of a clue of Joe’s guilt. Guess I’ll just have to rewatch it in its entirety when it gets to Netflix.

    • Rebecca says:

      Indeed the show was cut dramatically… and for no reason. It was made by ITV, which is a commercial station (as opposed to the BBC) and had built-in ad breaks with ‘cliff hanger’ like stopping points and haunting music to feed you and out of them. Those were not used, neither was the *AMAZING* song written to play over the end credits – called “So Close” with words by Chris Chibnall (the writer) and music by Olafur Arnalds who did all of the music. It had clues built into it but instead of letting it play, they made ‘next week’ teasers (which spoiled one of the big plot points – did DI Hardy survive the apparent heart attack or not… in the UK they did not know, and people speculated for an entire week whether he’d been killed off midway through the series) and had adverts for other ‘coming soon’ shows… like Luther… which they had originally planned to interrupt Broadchurch for a week to broadcast as a 4-night-in-a-row special. People screamed bloody murder and they relented. There was no good reason to broadcast Luther in that way – it was not in the UK. They also totally failed on the PR front for the show. They could have begun advertising it all the way back i March/April when it was still airing in the UK to pick up on the amazing momentum it had there, but instead they didn’t even run an advert for it on their own channel until 3 weeks before it aired and they had virtually no cast-interviews (and absolutely *none* by DT, who has thousands and thousands of fans in this country, despite the fact that he was in the States for 2 weeks beginning the week after episode 1 aired!!)… They could have brought a huge audience to their practically unknown channel if they had (I wonder why they’re practically unknown… with lousy PR like that!) There is also no sign of a release date for a DVD. Another advertising failure. And the show, and Tennant, won awards at the TV Choice Awards, a pretty big deal award in the UK. Not a *WORD* from BBCA about it. I fear that these remarkable performances and this remarkable show will be completely forgotten by the time the Emmys roll around next year… Which is criminal.

      • Elizabeth says:

        As a very dedicated anglophile, years ago I would specifically chose my cable package based on whether or not it came with BBCA. I loved most of their programming…lots of great mystery series and comedies and a few decent reality shows. Now I find myself forgetting, for the most part, that it exists. I watch so little on the channel now that I have to remind myself every few weeks to scan the guide to see if anything remotely interesting is coming on. With the exception of Broadchurch, Luther and Graham Norton, I don’t watch anything on BBCA anymore. First they started running almost nothing but Gordon Ramsay 24 hours a day and now they are airing things like Star Trek: Next Generation!?

        • maggie says:

          I have the same problem with BBC America that you have. It’s all Top Gear, Gordon Ramsay and Star Trek: The Next Generation. UK tv has a lot of great shows that never get shown in the US, and BBC America should be showing them. And when they do pick up a great show, like Broadchurch, they make big cuts to the episodes. BBC America has gone downhill in the last few years. As much as a love Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s not a UK show. And when they make cuts in episodes of new shows in order to show a 20-year-old re-run of ST:TNG, it shows that the people running BBCA are idiots. (They cut a huge chunk out of some episodes of Being Human, including the series finale, in order to squeeze in more reruns of ST:TNG.) This year is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, so why isn’t BBC America running constant reruns of that, instead of ST:TNG or Gordon Ramsay?

  17. Phillip says:

    Michael, is this show getting a second season or was it just a one season mini-series?

    • Aleksa says:

      They are planning a second series, and Colman is reported to be involved.

      • Phillip says:

        So it’s just talk right now, or are they actually in production for the next season/series?

        • FYI says:

          Yes, a second series has been commissioned by ITV. Chibnall has started to write it.

          Unlike here, television in the UK does not have set seasons or filming periods. The current rumor is that filming will begin around May 2014. So hopefully, it will air in the UK before the end of 2014, assuming the series length is similar to this one. To give a bit of perspective, the first series was filmed between August 2012 and the beginning of December 2012, and broadcast in the UK starting in March 2013 over 8 weeks on Monday nights.

          My assumption is that the prospective timing is due to a number of factors, including the need to plot out and script the series. Factors include the availability of crew, as they want to have the same behind the scenes people involved. And, most obviously, the availability of returning cast, assuming both Tennant and Colman, among others will be involved in the second series. Both actors are extremely busy and very much in demand and tend to play multiple roles during a year’s time. (During 2012 Tennant filmed the lead in Spies of Warsaw, a 3-hour mini-series for the BBC, The Politician’s Husband, another 3-hour mini-series for the BBC, and lastly Broadchurch, an 8-hour mini-series for ITV, along with other ancillary non-television work. While filming Broadchurch, on the weekends he hosted a television game show for another UK channel. Colman, also had quite a few various roles during the same span of time.)

          • Rebecca says:

            Indeed, Tennant also did a 26 episode children’s show (Tree Fu Tom, now on Sprout in the US), voiced a character in 2 feature animated films (Pirates Band of Misfits, which has come out, and Postman Pat which hasn’t been released yet), did one episode each of 3 other series (True Love, Sky Arts Playhouse Presents, & This is Jinsey), hosted an episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, narrated all of the episodes of the mockumentary Twenty Twelve (which also starred Colman), filmed a live action feature film (Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger), voiced his Emmy *winning* role on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, recorded a half a dozen radio dramas, recorded another half dozen audio books, a couple of which are 12-15 hours long. The man is arguably the busiest actor in the UK… Olivia made the episodes of Twenty Twelve, two feature films, a couple of multi-episode miniseries for the BBC and more…

          • maggie says:

            Twenty Twelve was so funny! Colman is great at comedy, and it was a surprise to watch Broadchurch and find that she’s amazing at drama too!

          • Phillip says:

            You have been very informative! Thank you! This series is just so dang good that I want it to come back as soon as possible. Reminds me somewhat of AMC’s The Killing, which is also very good and I will miss that show. Thanks again!!

  18. Rebecca says:

    Olivia Colman was absolutely *amazing*… but If BBCAmerica had shown the actual episode, instead of their cut-to-shreds version (I highly recommend everyone go watch the entire series on Amazon/iTunes) you’d be hard pressed to pick one person out of the show as the best… *every* single person deserved it. The point you mention (“Don’t call me Ellie”) would have made a whole lot more sense if BBCA had not cut the bookend conversation in episode 1 where Miller asks Hardy to call her by her first name and he rejects the idea. Tennant’s portrayal of Hardy’s shift to compassionate cop once he’s figured things out was nothing short of remarkable, Andrew Buchan’s anguished father as Mark goes first to the beach to scream and then – a scene deleted by BBCA – the jail to confront Joe is heartbreaking, another scene that was cut would have added to Colman’s status as best of the week … going back to the house to gather clothes and things for herself and the boys before being taken to the hotel. Wandering through the house, looking at things (crushing the slug in the parlor)… I do not understand why reviewers have not been calling BBCA on the cuts they’ve made, when most reviewers clearly had the original ITV screeners and were not watching what aired here in the States. Even Chris Chibnall’s interview with Entertainment Weekly shows the difference, as he comments on two of these cut scenes as the most powerful things and then American viewers did not see them.

    • Gaara says:

      Ow, I didn’t knew that :o Thankfully I watched it straight from ITV

      • Rebecca says:

        I have an all-region DVD player, so I bought the Region 2 DVD and will be buying the UK Blu-Ray when it’s released in November. But for those who don’t, Amazon Prime and iTunes *do* have the uncut version of the show…

    • Ali says:

      And that is exactly what I did when I read EWs review. Went straight to Amazon and bought the season. And man did BBCA shred those episodes. But regardless, I was just happy to have been able to have seen this phenomenal show. Olivia Coleman and David Tennant were superb!

  19. Gaara says:

    Flawless choice from a masterpiece series

  20. Carlos Alvarez says:

    Honorable mention should be to Lea Michele for singing yesterday. That must of been so difficult to film for her although she will probably get performer of the week for the Finn tribute episode

  21. Aleksa says:

    I hope this gives Colman a higher profile. She really is brilliant.

  22. arial2 says:

    Great choice. Her acting has been brilliant all season.

  23. IMHO says:

    Olivia Colman was amazing so was the Finale of Broadchurch.
    They had made the son such an obvious suspect all season but I didn’t see the father as the killer. Great show.
    I hope FOX doesn’t butcher Broadchurch when they do the remake for the US.
    I wonder if they will change story.

  24. josh says:

    im surprised no love for Aaron Paul this week. he killed it again i know it can only go to breaking bad people so often but it pained me to watch him see his girlfriend die like that.

  25. Danny says:

    One word – Mariska. Raw, unflinching and skillful. I love “Broadchurch,” but 15 seasons in, and SVU delivered it’s best ep ever.

  26. MKS says:

    I’m thrilled with this week’s choice. I watched Broadchurch when it was airing in the UK, and she was magnificent in this role. Those gutwrenching screams really stuck in my mind and left me in a state of shock and ugly sobbing. Colman deserves all the acclaim for this performance.

  27. Sheldon W. says:

    Best possible choice. No one – and no other performance – comes close.

  28. Nessie says:

    Perfect choice. Coleman was AMAZING through the whole series, but in the final she was beyond. Tennant is my favorite actor period but Olivia deserved it this week, great choice.

  29. kate says:

    Heartflippingbreaking. For her, for her family(esp. the kids) and for her co-workers.

  30. adrian says:

    Im surprise no body has mention simon helberg, I thought he was hilarious as estrogen nut case in the second episode of the big bang theory, it was hilarious when him and raj are checking each other……

  31. JustineK says:

    Yes, good choice, guys!
    Both Olivia Colman and David Tennant were absolutely stellar in this show, especially in the last two episodes.

  32. d4h8a15r16m23a42 says:

    Great choice she was brilliant. So glad I watched this show, cannot wait for the second series.

  33. Lynne says:

    Why bother to watch Broadchurch?? You just detailed the ending.

    • Rebecca says:

      to watch the *UNBELIEVABLY GOOD* story, performances, & cinematography. There is absolutely not a single weak link in the entire show, right down to Olafur Arnalds’ incredible sountrack. I’ve watched the entire 8 hours series at least 6 times over since I bought the DVD in April. I see something new every time. This show is going to win every BAFTA award there is next spring.

    • Nicole says:

      My guess, if you haven’t watched Broadchurch yet, you’re more than likely never going to watch it. I watched the entire series online, not BBCA, and I can say they did a wonderful job hiding the killer. Even knowing who the killer was and rewatching it, there is nothing that would make you suspect Joe. I guarantee, even knowing who the killer is, this show will NOT disappoint. Hopefully they make the second series soon. I just really hope it has David Tennant in it…

  34. Lynne says:

    I won’t spoil this.. but you really should watch Olivia Colman and Julia Davis in Bad Sugar.

  35. WM says:

    Everyone in that last episode was great, but Colman was phenomenal. It took all the strength I could muster to hold back the tears in front of everyone. Good thing we watched with the lights down.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how Fox is going to treat it.

  36. aaj says:

    Awesome series. Heartbreaking, suspenseful, and better than most shows the American TV industry has put out recently. Thank you for recognizing someone on a TV show that isn’t so main stream. Truly well deserved.

  37. Karen says:

    Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad – broke my heart once again

  38. This is a fantastic show. Her performance was outstanding, especially when she got hold of him in the interrogation room

  39. Side3 says:

    I’d only see Olivia Colman in comedies like Peep Show and Green Wing. She was brilliant in BC. The cast as a whole was so great that I fear what the US version might turn out like.

  40. SG says:

    I fell in love with this brilliant actress, Olivia Colman. David Tennant not too shabby either!

  41. Tammy says:

    I totally agree!

  42. xandra says:

    I liked Malin Akerman ever since she was on The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow and Kellan Lutz.

  43. Sara says:

    Fantastic choice! She was brilliant. The whole show was amazing.

  44. Kristine Shore says:

    I am so glad the world at large has discovered Olivia Coleman! She is a consistently excellent performer from small parts in Doctor Who, to a great comedic turn in Green Wing and her sweet performance in 2012. Broadchurch just proved that she is also a dramatic actress to be recognized.

  45. Nick says:

    I cried when I watched this episode, I think she was simply stunning. One of the things that I loved the most was the irony behind the story, in one episode she tells the woman that lived on the beach how she didn’t know her husband killed her daughter and in this episode Danny’s mom asks her the same question

  46. maggie says:

    Olivia Colman is such a great actress that you feel like you are watching a real person. You feel every emotion that she goes through, because you relate to her. Colman was perfection in Broadchurch, and Tennant was also perfect.

    One of the things that’s great about UK tv in general is that the performers usually look and act like real people, as opposed to perfect-looking “characters.” Not that they don’t have attractive performers, but they don’t look like they have 5 tons of makeup on, freakishly-white teeth, fake tans and bronzers, and obvious plastic surgery, like many US performers.

  47. lydiakj says:

    Incredible performance. It’s stuck with me all week. It didn’t even feel like a performance so much as watching this woman’s natural reaction. And she somehow still managed to be charming throughout most of it. I hope she continues to get more high profile work so we can see more of her in the US.

  48. As I was watching that heartbreaking episode, I was literally thinking “I bet she is TVLine’s Performer of the Week…I mean, seriously!

  49. R.O.B. says:

    This performance was incredible. I have been addicted to BBC crime shows since getting Netflix last year, and show after show, I am seeing oscar-level performances like this that make shows like CSI look like jokes. Broadchurch was excellent. I am halfway through the first series of Luther and the performances are top notch – these people are giving it their all. Top of the Lake was another one. Whitechapel. Sherlock! Aside from a few American shows that bring it (like Breaking Bad and Lost), these shows look almost silly in comparison to the 5-star stuff coming out of England.

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