TVLine's Performer of the Week: Kate Burton

Kate Burton Scandal A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars


THE SHOW | Scandal

THE EPISODE | “A Door Marked Exit”

THE AIRDATE | Dec. 12, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | From the moment that we first saw Daniel Douglas’ lifeless, bloody body on the floor of the study, Scandal forced us to wonder: How could a cool cucumber like Vice President Sally Langston succumb to such a base act as killing her own husband in cold blood? Short answer: “The devil came in…. We had a fight and the devil came in.”

Throughout a haunting flashback to the fateful encounter, punctuated by jittery, quick cuts and overlapping dialogue, Burton showed us a Sally struggling to handle a devastating collision of the personal and professional, railing at Daniel for allowing his prurient desires to jeopardize her bid for the highest office in the land. When Daniel recounted the ways he supported, even elevated, Sally’s ambitious career, she barked back, “I suffer you! … I cannot wait until you meet your maker [and] are charged for your lies!” Responding to that darkest of retorts, Daniel declared himself “done,” set to walk out on their marriage, and maybe even do worse. Desperate, Sally snatched up the nearby letter opener and the devil did the rest.

Later, when her campaign boss Leo Bergen urged Sally to stay on course for the White House, because it’s the thing “Daniel up in Heaven” would want for her, she angrily corrected: “He is in Hell! He is a godless sinner and he deserved what he got.” And for having so powerfully portrayed a woman on the brink of greatness, then the brink of despair, Burton got what she deserved — Performer of the Week.

RELATED | Exclusive: Scandal‘s Season 3 Episode Order Trimmed — Find Out Why

HONORABLE MENTIONS | Sons of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff, who brought Jax and Tara to hell and back (and to hell again) in Tuesday’s gut-wrenching season finale. During that initially-tense confrontation in the park, Siff flawlessly conveyed Tara’s fear/sadness/resignation as her escape plan came undone right before her (and her children’s) eyes. And then when Jax informed her that not only was he not planning to hurt her, but he intended to turn himself in for the sake of his family, the sense of overwhelming relief that came over her was palpable. Hunnam was also sensational as Jax — demonstrating a rare vulnerability — successfully broke down the walls between the two. But little did we know that their ensuing romantic reunion would  be the doomed pair’s last. Which brings us to The Scene. In one of the more remarkably authentic displays of despair on TV this year, Hunnam careened from one stage of grief to the next as Jax discovered — and later cradled — Tara’s bloodied, lifeless body on their kitchen floor. He was gutted, and so were we.

RELATED | Sons of Anarchy Post Mortem: Maggie Siff, Kate Sagal, Kurt Sutter on Deadly Finale — Plus, Scoop on Season 7

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!

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. Liam says:

    Deserved. That opening was pure perfection. What a class act.

  2. Bobbi says:

    Very glad you chose Kate Burton! She truly was outstanding this week.

  3. enri says:

    Glad you’ve got Maggie Siff on there. She nailed it. I agree with both.

  4. Max says:

    Burton was great in the opening scene but Maggie Siff was by far the best thing on TV this week. There were 6 years worth of payoff and emotional turmoil in those scenes and she knocked them all out of the park. The scene between her & Jax at the picnic table was one of the best on TV all year.

  5. webly3 says:

    Very deserved!!! I also thought Mae Whitman did a great performance this week as well.

  6. Jo says:

    Jax and Tara. Could not stop crying and days later I still can’t stop thinking about it. Unbelievable performances. Will miss Maggie Siff terribly!

  7. katrina says:

    Completely agree with Max! Maggie Siff had me crying like a baby! I never cry over a tv show and very rarely over a movie. After that episode I was gutted, greatest acting I have seen on tv for sure! Maggie and Charlie deserve some awards! Scandal was great also but I would of not though of Kate as performer of the week. Seen it a thousand times! Love the show.

  8. angelwings says:

    Charlie Hunnam was flawless in the SOA finale and deserves an Emmy for his work in season 6.

    • Beth says:

      Totally agree. He was even shaking and that yell he made right at the end had me balling like a baby. I can’t believe Maggie won’t be back :(. They deserve an Emmy nod for this season.

  9. Cecilia says:

    Kate Burton definitely deserved this! But her fellow cast mate, Joe Morton, also showed master skills when reading “Boy” Fitz his rights!

    • the girl says:

      Joe Morton went in for the win! I agree with Kate Burton tho. Her state when the doctor came in, the way she erupted in her conversation with Leo… she was perfection. But Joe Morton was right on her heels.

    • Cheyenne says:

      Have to disagree. First time I watched the show on Thursday I thought Morton was terrific. Then I watched it again this evening, and for some reason he reminded me less of an outraged father and more like a teenager throwing a tantrum at a grown-up, trying to convince himself he was still in charge.

      Burton, now, was excellent. She does disturbed people very well. I remember her in a SVU episode playing an abusive supervisor who shot herself in the head during a TV interview.

  10. 00 says:

    I agree. Charlie Hunnam had me crying like a baby in that finale, and Maggie Siff is so amazing too.

  11. mrenee says:

    Kudos to Kate Burton who left it all on the floor. She was wonderful!

  12. peter says:

    kate was great but the episode was not
    should be a little flexibility on the choices beacause is always the actor and the episode of the same show

  13. Stuart Yael Gordon says:

    I agree Michael. Somewhere up in heaven, tears of pride were running down old Richard Burton’s face.

    • I honestly had no idea that she was Richard Burton’s daughter until I read your comment. Didn’t know one of the kids had followed him into the business. On further study of her face, though, she’s got a lot of her father’s features, so I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together.

  14. Ram510 says:

    I also would throw in Joe Morton, he was awesome on Scandal this week as well.

  15. Nicole says:

    Kate Burton’s Sally was good but the real stand out for me was Joe Morton’s ripping Fitz to shred in his “Your a boy, I’m a man”. If Fitz was looking to get a rise out of him by mentioning his relationship with Olivia he got it and then some. Sometimes the truth hurts Fitz. I still love you though!

    • Jordyn says:

      I completely agree. The opening scene was so well done and Kate did a great job, but during the Fitz and Papa Pope scene, I sat stunned and in awe of his performance. He went banananas! All of us watching agreed he needed an award just for that one scene.

  16. Alex says:

    she was fine but joe morton owned this episdoe

  17. Boumie says:

    I so thought she would win this, when I was watching the episode :-)

  18. mave says:

    Congrats on Kate Burton for earning the performer of the week spot, but I would have given it to Joe Morton as Rowan for his monologue outrage against Fizz later in the episode

  19. Paul J. Reedy says:

    Definitely Mae Whitman and her heartbreaking reaction to learning that the love of her life reenlisted on Parenthood.

  20. valeriel40 says:

    Kate Burton, Joe Morton or Jeff Perry, take your pick! They were all marvelous on Scandal this week.

  21. Erin says:

    I also agree that Maggie and Charlie nailed this episode and that emmys need to be given to them both…ASAP

  22. lilyyy85 says:

    Sorry but wrong. But performer of the week ABSOLUTELY goes to Charlie and Maggie over Burton. Way over. I watched both this week and there was no doubt which performance should be the top.

    • Sam says:

      I agree. I watch and love both shows. It wasn’t even close…Charlie and Maggie all the way.

      • lilyyy85 says:

        So true. But I’ve gotten used to SOA being incredibly overlooked. The fact that this show never gets nominated for anything is ridiculous. For me, it’s right up there with Game of Thrones in my top 2-3 best shows on TV. Also, it’s been able to sustain the quality, which a lot of previously great shows do not (looking at you, Dexter!).

  23. LeAnne B says:

    I did watch Scandal this week, but it was the first time I watched an entire episode so I am not “emotionally invested” in Scandal the way I am in Sons Of Anarchy. I do believe Kate Burton was successful in showing a wide rand of emotion in those scenes, however, I “felt” the emotions portrayed by Charlie and Maggie. I saw 6 years of hope, despair, and love on the faces of Charlie and Maggie. I do not cry often because of television shows, but when Charlie cried and yelled while holding Maggie, I cried like a baby!

  24. Beth says:

    I think Jeff Perry was amazing this week.. and every week!!

  25. DAVID says:

    Wow … Kudos to Shondra Rhimes casting decision for Kate Burton. She was awesome in her performance … I can smell Emmy nod! From Ellis Grey to Sally Langston, all I can say is WOW! Jeff Perry was great as well. With that said, Kate Burton for President!!

  26. Esaul says:

    Scandal for the most part has a remarkable cast. The acting is top notched and I enjoy every minute of it. I haven’t felt there’s been a filler episode and it’s amazing. The pacing just keeps going. Kate did amazing. Just wow.

  27. Mark says:

    Let’s add that Jack Coleman’s performace was excellent as well – he’s proven himself in his many guest roles on various series (like The Office) that he is a top-notch performer.

    Steven Carrington, who ??

    • ChrisGa says:

      Kate Burton was indeed mesmerizing this week but ever since Heroes, Jack Coleman has proven time and again to be one of TV’s greatest, most underappreciated actors. I’m actually sorry to see the character of Daniel Douglas exit because few actors in primetime can add so many shades to a character the way Coleman can. Not to mention, he’s still handsome as hell :).

  28. Jake says:

    I have to disagree– joe Morton did a spectacular monolgue on scandal

  29. MrsSmith says:

    Sons of Anarchy blew it out of the park this week! There are no words! Kudos to Maggie Siff, Charlie Hunnam and Kurt Sutter!!! BRAVO!!!!!

  30. marge says:

    Yes VP Ellis!! (She’ll always be Ellis Grey to me. lol)

  31. DeAnna Wilson says:

    I am still heartbroken 7 days after the season finale of Son of Anarchy. I have never been so invested in a tv series. Charlie and Maggie were and are amazing actors! These actors emotions are palpable.

  32. Jax Tara fan says:

    This weeks award should have gone to Charlie Hunnam as Jax and Maggie Siff as Tara hands down on Sons of Anarchy. There performance week after week is award winning but this week was the icing on the cake. These characters were brought to life and when there fan base is still devestated a week after the show is all I can say is AMAZING

  33. Juan says:

    I just saw the episode and wow did she hit it out the park. That opening was fantastic and when the doctor came, and her conversation with the fixer. Fantastic performance. I would also put that great speech from Rowan as an hina table mention, the writing and delivery were fantastic.

  34. David says:

    Kate Burton deserved this recognition