Performer of the Week: Laurence Fishburne

Hannibal - Season 2THE PERFORMER | Laurence Fishburne

THE SHOW | Hannibal

THE EPISODE | “Kaiseki”

THE AIRDATE | Feb. 28, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | There are few things sadder than watching a good man who knows he’s done something terribly wrong – and also knows he can’t fix it. And there are few things better than watching a masterful actor take on that challenge.

In Hannibal‘s Season 2 premiere, that man was Laurence Fishburne’s Jack Crawford, the FBI chief filled with guilt over the downfall of his star profiler, Will Graham. In just about every moment he was on screen, Fishburne wore Jack’s regret like stones weighing down his pockets. A gourmet meal with Lecter became an opportunity to mourn a lost friendship. A finger-pointing interlude with Alana and one of the bureau’s internal investigators was weathered with a weary sigh, Fishburne slumping slightly in his seat. And during Jack’s visit to see Will, who was imprisoned as an accused serial killer, the actor conveyed his character’s anger and disappointment with a tired, incredulous look. Really? his face seemed to say, after Will announced he’d had a new memory of Lecter’s duplicity. After all I’ve seen, you want me to believe this?

Let’s not forget, either, how the subtleties of Fishburne’s performance for 90 percent of the episode stood in stark relief to what he did in the cold open. As Hannibal and Jack battled for their lives in Lecter’s tricked-out kitchen, Fishburne turned in a physical performance that was elegant in its brutality. He hurled his body (and co-star Mads Mikkelsen) around the set, throwing his all into a fight scene as beautiful as anything else the show has shot. Here’s hoping that Fishburne’s Jack makes it out of that closet alive.

HONORABLE MENTION | As Glenn, the good-hearted manager to Nashville‘s Juliette Barnes, Ed Amatrudo has one of those thankless roles: He’s usually in a scene for Juliette to yell at, or order around, or both. But this week, when he bid Ms. Barnes goodbye in order for her to become an even bigger star, Amatrudo moved us with just a few lines of teary dialogue. “I gotta get out of the way and let you be a superstar,” he said, clutching his suitcase and barely holding it together as he recalled their first meeting. Thank goodness Juliette later came to her senses and refused to let him quit, because we want to see a lot more of Amatrudo’s warm, loving presence on screen in the future.

RELATED | 2014 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s Already Renewed? What’s on the Bubble?

HONORABLE MENTION | As his Winston Bishop went to ridiculous levels of procrastination to avoid looking at the test results from the Police Academy exam — and thus, discover if he’d be able to transition from the unemployment line to the fulfillment of a lifelong dream — New Girl‘s Lamorne Morris turned in one of the funniest performances of the TV season. Every scene found Morris Lamorne-Morriscareening between the wide-eyed panic of realizing his results were a smartphone click away and the daydreamy avoidance techniques of a guy in total denial. In one scene, after Winston booked Coach’s training services for an afternoon — blocking his pal’s potential hookup with a sexy client — we saw him on the receiving end of a “ground stretch” that Morris took to absurd levels of inappropriateness. Eyes closed, a giant grin plasterd on his face, and cooing, “I’m takin a little trip here, Coach. You know where I’m going!” Later, when Winston realized in the middle of a disastrous job interview at a coffee house that perhaps he’d forgotten to fill out the back half of his police exam, Morris channeled Winston’s typically wayward exuberance with an uproarious line-reading directed at his potential employer: “I didn’t choke! I’m just careless! And that is my biggest weakness, ya bitch!” Winston’s bravado didn’t even last a nanosecond — “I’m so sorry, dude. I’m so sorry, dude! Man, I didn’t mean that. Dawg, I didn’t mean that at all,” he added, panicked — but our laughter carried on much, much longer.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!

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27 Comments
  1. Eddie says:

    …and America collapse in shock over the fact TVLine have recognised actors that arent in Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal…

    • Lena says:

      It’s true that this site seems to worship all things Shonda R., but lately they are focusing more on other shows.

      • Danyelle says:

        The OP seems confused, I don’t think a Grey’s person has ever won this thing, I know because I’ve lobbied for Sara R. for ages. They actually spread wealth good, that Teen Wolf punk made it one week even.

        • Lena says:

          Totally understand. I do remember that there was a time where this site had a ridiculous amount of articles on Scandal. On the first and second page alone, I saw at least five about the show. Lately, I’ve seen tons of information on other shows which I really appreciate.

    • David4 says:

      Seeing what you want instead of seeing what is true.

      • Lena says:

        That is a matter of interpretation and it is subjective. Giving my opinion like you give yours is a right I reserve on this site.

        • David4 says:

          No, it’s not an opinion.

          And opinion is “I don’t like X about Y”. You are claiming that this award always goes to Grey’s or Scandal and that’s not an opinion, or a fact. You are just wrong.

          • Francine says:

            Definitely a misunderstanding here. David, you were obviously referring to Eddie’s original post not Lena’s response to it…

          • Lena says:

            Do you comprehend or understand English? I did not state in my comment that the award always goes to Grey’s A. Go back to school sweetheart. You are embarrassing yourself. Read my original post before you respond. Anyway, I don’t have time for people with reading comprehension problems. Have a lovely day! Dismissed.

          • Sara says:

            Lena, he wasn’t responding to you originally. He was responding to the OP. You brought his wrath upon yourself.

  2. carol says:

    This episode was amazing, loved every second of it,the fight in the beginning was perfectly done. To me both of the actors ( Hannibal and Jack) were the best performance of the week. Hope that this season finally get the attention that it needs

  3. Tran says:

    Uhm….what about Connie Britton? (as an HM )?

    • Shira says:

      So true!! Really glad they recognized Ed Amatrudo but Connie Britton did a fantastic job on Nashville this week that deserve for the very least an honorable mention.

      • kate'shomesick says:

        Connie Britton was horrible. She’s nice and everything…but that breakdown scene was cringeworthy- overacting of the worst kind. I was watching it with a friend who’s an acting student…and she practically giggled and hopped out of the room because she couldn’t stand watching it.

        • Shira says:

          I can see why it can be controversial but I couldn’t DISAGREE with you more. Thought she did a fantastic job from start to finish. From the way she received the news, to the way it made her shut down even more and the ways it burst out. First in the form of bitterness and then is anger and despair. It was a good turning point not only for this episode but for the journey her character is going through from the beginning of this season. I felt that it was so UNLIKE Rayna to behave the way she did at the end ( we are used to her being very subtle) that it made it all much more powerful when she started to explode. She didn’t know what to do with herself and that’s how a person usually act when he or she are falling apart. Not pretty but very real and raw

          • Claire says:

            I agree….first I thought it was ridiculous and embarrassing…. but that’s what these breakdowns really are. Over the top and embarrassing. They aren’t cineastic and pretty to look at. That’s why I felt this was very authentic. I think the execution of this scene was very intentional because a) CB is always in control of her acting and b) she did several scenes like this one in the past and she nailed them 95% of the time. I think her decision to approach the scene like this was very brave. Also – I adore Hayden and think she is very talented, but the scene where she found ehr dead mother in her apartment and cried out in pain and agony was just as over the top. I think very few actresses can pull off sth like that..even among the big Hollywood stars. It has also alot to do with directing and I feel like the scene itself was kind of misplaced. As an actor to go from zero to 100 without any trigger (like a dead body, or another person – or just any kind of build up) is just incredibly hard. I think she did a solid job.

  4. Definitely he deserved it. Hugh, Mads and Laurence delivered award worthy performances.

  5. Patrick Maloney says:

    Totally agreed, Fishburne’s performance was the main reason the premiere was what it was.

  6. B.P. says:

    hmmm… I don’t know about this one. Emmy Rossum should have repeated as winner this week.

    After the first 5 minutes of Hannibal, nothing really stood out for me with Fishburne’s performance.

  7. jerrired says:

    I love Winston! He has become the most entertaining thing about New Girl. So happy Lamorne Morris was selected this week. Totally deserved an honorable mention.

  8. tigersmurfette says:

    while i agree tremendously. i also would like to point out the scene from the first season where jack realizes something about his wife while talking to a suspects wife. trying not to spoil what he found out, but just his physical/non-verbal reaction was heartbreaking. this show is criminally overlooked when it comes to any kind of recognition and awards.

  9. “Stop hitting me and just try to hit me”.

  10. Ladyhelix says:

    I look forward to this every week – THANK YOU!!

  11. Lecholls says:

    I love Lamorne! Winston is always so funny.

  12. Amy H says:

    Ed Amatrudo was great. I actually found myself teary when I thought he was leaving for good.

  13. :) says:

    Um I am sorry but what about Maggie Lawson and Timothy Omundson from Psych! That scene at the end had me sobbing, it was so amazing and so raw. Lassiter showed his feelings towards his friendship and partnership with Juliet for the first time ever. AND THEN without any recovering for the fans there was Maggie and James scene. This deserved an honorable mention at least or the top spot. But just because it is Psych it is overlooked like always despite how amazing a show it is!

  14. TVMainliner says:

    I love these ‘Performer of the Week’ articles! So nice to see some television writing that isn’t just snarky recaps … something that makes it clear you actually enjoy and appreciate the shows you watch.

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