TVLine's Performer of the Week: Graceland's Serinda Swan

Graceland Paige Abducted

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Serinda Swan

THE SHOW | Graceland

THE EPISODE | “The Unlucky One”

THE AIRDATE | July 23, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | DEA Agent Paige Arkin never could have imagined her latest take-down would play out as it did. Aiming to end a ring of drug muling/human sex trafficking, Paige’s No. 1 lead died in her arms, prompting the mission-focused Fed to take the young girl’s place. That impetuous decision, however, delivered Paige into a dingy den of inequity, where girls are thoughtlessly sold off to less-than-genteel gents. As Paige endured her dilemma, Swan reflected both her character’s abhorrence for the commerce she’d become a part of as well as her fear of what awaited not just her, but the victims alongside her.

Yes, Mike “saved the day” by arriving undercover to purchase the one known as “Anica,” but for Paige that skirted the larger, loathsome problem. She was apoplectic that the grander, cartel-crushing endgame prevented them from shutting down the traffic ring there and then. Once back at Graceland, Swan used silent moments to register the utter helplessness that even the mightiest lawman can feel.

That human trafficking is a scourge Swan, off camera, tirelessly endeavors to combat only deepened the resolve in her performance.

HONORABLE MENTION | Covert Affairs‘ Auggie Covert Affairs Auggie Anniedoesn’t get out in the field much. As such (and as strong as he is physically), he’s susceptible to emotional punches. This week, as he aimed to recruit an asset — no less than his ex-lover Natasha — Christopher Gorham showed us that while ostensibly in control of his feelings, Auggie was not. So, when a setback required him to cheat his ex out of an immunity deal, Auggie couldn’t do it (leaving Annie to do the dirty work). In a drunken scene, Gorham played out Auggie’s disgust for the game they must play, as well as his disappointment in Annie. The good news? Natasha found her way back into Auggie’s arms. (Though that’s bad news for his already crowded love life!)

HONORABLE MENTION | Love has Sherri Saum Fostersalways been the driving force behind The Fosters‘ Lena, whether doting on her unborn daughter or supporting her five (mostly) teenage children. In “Mother,” Sherri Saum used that same love to fuel Lena’s fierce desire to prevent a premature birth — even at the possible cost of her life. Later she let Lena’s defenses fade, tearfully telling her mother that she craved a biological child because she feared that her adopted children might reject her love some day. Finally, Saum drew on that love as Lena put her family’s needs over her wants, breaking her heart… and ours.

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30 Comments
  1. Lambsilencer says:

    Yes, I can get behind that. Serinda Swan was terrific in this episode. The second season of “Graceland” is very dark. But I think it’s vastly better than the first.

    • Velocisexual says:

      I think vastly better is a bit exaggarated. Season 1 was really strong as well, I think the big difference is Season 2 puts the main focus on different characters and the main storyline is darker and more depressing. Which maybe hits a nerve with us viewers that Season 1 didn’t.

      • Lambsilencer says:

        Yes, in retrospect, you’re right, “Vastly” is a bit a strong word. Season 1 was good, yes, but season 2 is still an improvement. :)

      • M3rc Nate says:

        I agree. In some ways its better, but in other ways its worse. The ways in which its worse is exactly what you mentioned, on which characters they are putting focus. I think putting any focus on Jakes is a HUGE mistake. Does anyone like him? Is he interesting at all? Or is he a a**hole jerk who needs to be fired by his agency for being a drunk and horrible agent? lol. Id also how they have changed Briggs and Charlie is for the worse. Briggs is just a background character being riddled with guilt and Charlie is neurotically being riddled with guilt and is acting out on it very annoyingly.

        The ways its better? Im enjoying the Mike story line, i love Paige’s story line except i think she is VERY wrong about helping the girls vs the greater good. She is in way too deep and doesnt have perspective and is too emotionally involved with the plight of the girls. Its 10 girls vs a entire cartel they could bring down…which would stop all those drugs, and shut down the pipeline for the future 1,000’s of girls that will be brought into sex slavery. Johnny’s story line is awesome im loving it. And the overall plot (cartel, buses etc) is a good one.

        But i think the show is better because everything around it is worse. Suits has crashed and burned IMO, having its worst season by a LONG shot, same for Falling Skies which has totally gone to the dumps and is just a big pile of crap. Royal Pains has become “meh” to me, its not that the show quality has dropped persay but im burnt out on it and its just piling up on my DVR. Covert Affairs isnt as exciting as it was for the same reason, kinda burnt out but its still good (Granted some shows are great or have gotten better; Defiance)

        • Angeldove says:

          Totally agree with you on loving Johnny’s storyline. The rest of the show, I am not loving. What the hell have they done to Charlie! She used to be cool, smart, strong AND have a purpose. Now, she’s wildin’ out on Mike for everything and the FIRST inkling of her doing anything interesting this season consists of her robbing a bar! Paige… I don’t even know what to say about Paige. Basically, they’ve turned both lead female characters from strong, interesting, capable agents into annoying, one dimensional, harpies. I thought I would like the Mike/Paige pairing, I don’t. Briggs/Charlie, not a good look for Charlie and expected SO much more. Jakes, who cares? The second season of Graceland has been completely forgettable, which is too bad because the first season made me a fan.

  2. Bwhit says:

    Good choice this week! Serinda was amazing and I love that she brought this idea to the writers and how they have molded it into the plot. That scene with Aaron Tveit in the truck also was heart wrenching. Graceland is a wonderful show and one of USA’s best.

  3. maureen says:

    Serinda did a stunning job in this episode! You could feel her pain and wondering what would happen next! Loved the scene where she is given the ballerina! So moving!

  4. TooGood says:

    I have to day that Sherri Saum in THE FOSTERS should not be honorable mention. She was the performance of the week if not the performance of the year. She is by far one of the best actors currently on TV, along with her tv wife Teri Polo. This show needs more attention. The storyline was much more groundbreaking than Graceland and much more delicate. Come on TVLine.

    • Velocisexual says:

      Seriously? I mean, I’m actually a fan of The Fosters and I thought it was a good (and sad) episode, but it didn’t even get close to this weeks Graceland episode and specifically Serinda Swan’s performance. She put more emotional punch in just her body language than the entire cast of The Fosters could ever manage.

      • Bwhit says:

        Thank you! I watch both and agree that Serinda was fantastic. Sherri was great but everything about that Graceland episode pretty much came from Serinda’s crusade against human trafficking and that is what made her a cut above the rest!

  5. fanoffosters says:

    Sherri Saum’s performance as a mom in crisis was beyond words. This was by far the best thing seen on TV in a very long time. Any parent or child watching this moving dialog would be moved to tears. I know I was as both a mom and daughter. Kudos to Ms. Saum…her performance was Emmy worthy!

  6. I watched this episode on three different occasions and everytime I cried like a little baby. The love that you feel from Sherri Saum is breathtaking and beautiful. She has landed herself on the top of my favorites list because of The Fosters.

  7. I watched this episode on three different occasions and everytime I cried like a little baby. The love that you feel from Sherri Saum is breathtaking and beautiful. She has landed herself on the top of my favorites list because of The Fosters.

  8. Dani A. says:

    Sherri Saum was the Performer of the Week in my opinion in the best episode of The Fosters so far. She was so moving and hit every emotion perfectly. Amazing, amazing work by her and fantastic performances also by Lorraine Toussaint and Teri Polo in the same episode.

  9. fanoffosters says:

    Sherri Saum’s performance as a mom in crisis was beyond words. This was by far the best thing seen on TV in a very long time. Any parent or child watching this moving dialog would be moved to tears. I know I was as both a mom and daughter. Kudos to Ms. Saum…her performance was Emmy worthy!

  10. Susan says:

    The beautifully and sensitively written ep by Joanna Johnson @joannajohnson31 and exemplary performance of Sherri Saum @sherrisaum1 certainly broke my heart. It affected me for days and in my opinion qualifies for an Emmy nod to Sherri aka Lena.
    Always and forever a huge @TheFosterABCF fan.
    Frankie RIP baby girl !

  11. shall b foster fan says:

    Foster Family’s – Sherri Saum’s performance as a mom in crisis was beyond words. This was by far the best thing seen on TV in a very long time. Any parent or child tuning in for this dialog had to have been moved to tears. I know I was as both a mom and daughter. Kudos to Ms. Saum! Her acting is Emmy worthy!

  12. ScorpionGlow says:

    Yes, she was excellent. It was a really upsetting episode to watch though.

  13. MariPino says:

    Sherri Saum fué fantastic in thah episode the best!!! Absolutamente la mejor de las actuaciones.

  14. Velocisexual says:

    The only worthy choice in my opinion. Am I the only one who while watching kinda wished she would break Mike’s nose during that scene in the car? Cause I’m fully on Paige’s side in the dilemma they were facing (plus Mike has kinda been a douchebag this season).

    • Hank Voight says:

      I know Mike has become arrogant cuz he went to DC he walks around like he plays pro tennis and treats everyone else like dirt. Hes endangered Johnny and now he breaks his promise to Paige because his precious ‘bus bust’ is more important to him.

    • Maddy says:

      Mike’s been a total d-bag this season. Being in charge has gone straight to his head.

  15. Sara says:

    While I admittedly do not watch any of the three shows with actors being honored this week, I would have loved to have seen Anthony Stewart Head get some love for the last 15 minutes or so of this week’s Dominion. His character’s confrontation with his son was so intense, not to mention the way the episode ended for his character! I rewatched those moments at least 5 times.

    Really, several actors had some really awesome character moments, especially Roxanne McKee’s Claire and the actress playing her eight-ball mother, Amy Bailey.

    But Anthony Stewart Head just completely blew me away this week.

  16. NotBri says:

    Chris Gorham is so consistently good in Covert Affairs. He’s one of my favorite actors on TV right now. Thanks for giving him some love!

  17. Steven says:

    Sherri Saum was amazing in this week’s episode. And while I don’t watch Covert Affairs Christopher Gorham is a great actor. He was terrific in Popular.

  18. CBWBDK1 says:

    Perfect choice!! She was incredible!

  19. Carol says:

    Sherri Suam’s role on episode 6 was so heart rendering. God it was so moving. Exquisite, loving, selfless. All the qualities of a good mother.

  20. Joey Padron says:

    Serinda did great on this week’s Graceland episode. Glad she got to tell this story on show.

  21. TraciTV says:

    So far I preferred season 1 of Graceland. The dirty fed living in the house who murders an fbi agent and is a huge drug supplier was the draw for me. Also the main criminal Bello from season 1 was much more interesting than the gay weird cartel guy. One thing that has always bugged me about the show is the actor playing Johnny is terrible. A little better in season 2 but he’s not a very good actor IMHO

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