TVLine's Performer of the Week: Chris Messina

Chris Messina The Mindy Project Season 2A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Chris Messina

THE SHOW | The Mindy Project

THE EPISODE | “Danny and Mindy”

THE AIRDATE | May 6, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | We’re used to seeing The Mindy Project‘s Dr. Danny Castellano take charge. We’re accustomed to hearing him grumble about technology, pop culture, celebrity – basically, anything Mindy enjoys. But it’s rare we see him as thoroughly undone as he was during the comedy’s second season finale, and Messina absolutely nailed his character’s desperate desire to convince his co-worker he really loved her.

First there was the Bradley Cooper-inspired scene, which found Messina excelling in a fun bit of physical comedy as he wrestled himself in and out of that blasted “20-piece suit.” Soon after, Messina had to switch it up as he juggled multiple, complex emotions as Danny followed Mindy into the Shulman & Associates ladies’ room: confusion (wasn’t Danny’s gesture exactly the romantic junk Mindy adores?), deep affection (the way Messina gazed at Kaling + him framing her face with his hands = swoon,) frustration (the exasperation in Messina’s voice as he insisted that Min does share his feelings) and vulnerability (it takes true talent to make three words – “This is real” – seem so fraught).

Atop the Empire State Building, Messina capped his stellar episode with exactly the right blend of humor and heart — not to mention a fistful of lustiness (we’ll say it again: Ass grab FTW!) – as he mixed Danny’s staunchly held beliefs (“One kid. One child. One, maximum.”) with a softness that suited him well (“I thought I’d lost you”). Messina, you definitely earned an A for that performance as Dr. C.

RevengeHONORABLE MENTION | Usually, Revenge only asks that Henry Czerny embody the smugness and entitlement of the 1 percent (and he does this so well that it can be difficult to picture him anywhere but in a corner office or on a yacht). But on the rare occasions when the primetime soap turns him loose, holy crap! He’s fantastic! Take, for instance, his thrilling work in “Impetus” this week. When “ungrateful bastard” Charlotte had the nerve to call out father figure Conrad for his laundry list of felonies, his portrayer didn’t just pitch a fit, he exploded with a ferocity that shook the screen! In fact, it was so monumental a scene that, by the time the tycoon was done making threats and bragging about his crimes, he wasn’t the only one who’d been exposed on television. Czerny, too, had been revealed — as the unsung hero behind the series’ most egotistical villain.

unnamed-1HONORABLE MENTION | Arrow fans love Felicity for the way she’s as quick with a quip as Oliver is with his bow, oft speaking on behalf of the audience on the super-crazy happenings around her. But portrayer Emily Bett Rickards this week showed us something else, as Arrow’s No. 1 gal fielded his defeatist “I have failed this city/Tommy/Moira/Shado” speech, then turned it around on him. “You honor the dead by fighting — and you are not done fighting,” she declared. After recounting the rogues gallery he has vanquished thus far — and while acknowledging that she, too, isn’t certain if they’ll beat Slade — she professed, “I know two things: You are not alone. And I believe in you.” And as Rickards displayed Felicity’s plucky resolve, we in turn believed in her.