TVLine's Performer of the Week: Kevin Chapman

Kevin Chapman Person of InterestA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Kevin Chapman

THE SHOW | Person of Interest

THE EPISODE | “The Crossing”

THE AIRDATE | November 19, 2013

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THE PERFORMANCE | While Taraji P. Henson’s POI swan song served up a gut punch (and as such is given an Honorable Mention below), Chapman’s performance in the same episode left just as deep an impression.

Grabbed by Simmons & Co. in the course of arranging safe passage for Reese, Carter and their prisoner Quinn, Fusco faced a grim fate, since his captor was determined to elicit the location of the files that could bring down HR for good. Fusco, though, fought the good fight – as much as anyone could while bound to a chair, suffering bruising blow after bloody blow and more than a few broken fingers. See, Fusco’s an old school lawman, so he’s tempered to take whatever rough guff Simmons was ready to give.

But then Simmons, irked by a false lead, gave Detective Lin to green light to snuff Fusco’s kid, as his father listened, helplessly, over the phone. In that circumstance, no amount of NYPD grit can steel a man. Chapman showed us a tough lug cut off at the knees, overwhelmed by emotion as all he can do is wait to hear a life-shattering gunshot at the other end of the line. “Just close your eyes…. It’s gonna be OK,” Fusco offered Lee through sobs. “I love you.”

A shot did go off, but it was Shaw getting the drop on Lin. Fusco’s words were terse, but appreciative beyond measure. “You done good,” he told her – before confronting his tormentor, Petersen. Taunted about not being able to share a handshake, Fusco nodded, “Oh yeah, you broke my fingers – which made it no big deal for me to break my thumb” and thus slip off his shackles. In a blur, Fusco disarmed Petersen and choked him out on the floor.

Later, Fusco had opportunity again to thank Shaw, “truly,” Chapman’s expression and tone pointing at the bond forged ‘tween the two during an insane odyssey.

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HONORABLE MENTION | In the 40 minutes preceding her POI death scene, Taraji P. Henson‘s moments were not as showy as cast mate Kevin Chapman’s, yet they cemented Carter’s legacy. In the midst of an arduous trek to the Federal Building, Carter used a rare quiet moment to trade war stories with John Reese, a man every bit her equal. And though we now know the reaction to the unscripted kiss was Henson’s own, the way she nimbly presented that emotion as Carter’s touched us. In the hour’s final scenes, Henson surfaced two different shades of Carter – a brighter-eyed detective anticipating a very new day, and a fighter taking one last hit from an old foe, her dying thoughts selflessly reserved for her son’s welfare.

HONORABLE MENTION | It’s hardly breaking news that James Wolk has been an utter revelation in CBS’ The Crazy Ones. But in the rookie sitcom’s latest episode, “Sixteen-inch softball,” the Mad Men actor scaled new heights of comedy greatness — no easy task when your co-star is the legendary Robin Williams. From teaching Williams’ Simon how to swing a bat in the office to pumping him up out on the field (his sports announcer shtick was a thing of absolute beauty), Wolk solidified Zach as one of the most effortlessly likable and charming sidekicks on TV.