Claws TNT Season 1 Carrie Preston Polly

Performer of the Week: Carrie Preston

THE PERFORMER | Carrie Preston

THE SHOW | Claws

THE EPISODE | “Bats–t” (July 9, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE Picking a favorite member of Claws‘ terrific ensemble of actresses is like picking a favorite shade of nail polish. (They’re all so good!) But this week, it was Preston’s turn to shine and sparkle, as Polly dropped the sweet-as-sugar act and got downright scary on us.

Normally, Polly’s all smiles and sunshine, but that ankle monitor of hers reminds us she’s not as squeaky-clean as she seems. Preston happily delved into Polly’s dark side as the ex-con ambushed Virginia in her home, butcher knife in hand, demanding to know the truth about Roller’s demise. (To be fair, Polly also used that knife to make vanilla frosting for her cupcakes: “It’s organic!”) Later, Preston got to show off her physical-comedy skills as Polly hilariously went into cat-burglar mode, sneaking into the lavish home of Desna’s evil foster parents to plant evidence. And Preston even shook her groove thang during the nail-salon ladies’ magnificent “Lady Marmalade” dance number — which, in true Claws fashion, was intercut with a grisly double murder.

Preston has been a relatively under-the-radar TV MVP for years now — can we get an amen, The Good Wife fans? — and Claws is letting her explore every dimension of her incredible range, from mama-bear ferocious to ridiculously goofy. (Sometimes in the same scene, even!) And the best news of all: TNT just renewed the show for a Season 2, so we can all look forward to a second helping of Preston’s deliciously complex performance.

HONORABLE MENTION Broadchurch| Broadchurch‘s Julie Hesmondhalgh has us rapt with her portrayal of Trish Winterman, whose rape investigation thus far has stymied Hardy and Miller, but what stood out this week was her interactions with other characters. Trish continued to break our heart when opening up to Beth not about her pain, but the guilt she feels for having tainted the memory of BFF Cath’s party (“They’d been organizing it for so long”). On top of that, she even asked how Beth has coped with her own tragedy. Later, Hesmondhalgh made us privy to the questions in Trish’s head, as she flat-out asked Cath how many of the men at her party were “capable” of such an act, before questioning her unfamiliarity with the attacker. “Now I’m thinking, could it [be someone I know]? I’m not so sure.” Answers can’t undo the crime committed, but Hesmondhalgh’s performance makes us want some peace for Trish.

HONORABLE MENTION | In Season 3 of Fear the Walking Dead, Madison’s children have been taken aback to realize just how ruthless she can be. But not even their new awareness of her by-any-means-necessary m.o. could have prepared them for the “Children of Wrath” monologue in which she revealed that, as a youngster, she’d grown tired of covering up her alcoholic father’s abuse of her mom, so after finishing her cereal one morning, she’d murdered him. A long time coming, the confession explained everything about the character and was played beautifully by Kim Dickens, with the trademark impassiveness that weighs on Maddie like the suit of armor that it is. In fact, so wholly resigned to her role did the actress make her alter ego seem that, when she said she’d kill again to protect her kids, neither they nor we doubted it for a second.

Which performance knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in 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. Simon says:

    I would have included Matt Lillard in Twin Peaks. But I do love that you had Julie Hesmondhalgh, she’s been terrific on Coronation Street for 15 years.

    • Ricky23 says:

      I had to do a double take when I saw Julie at first in Broadchurch before I realized that its Haley. She was terrific in Corrie and is heartbreaking in Broadchurch now. Really great season this year. Going to miss the show when it finishes.

      • MMD says:

        Julie really breaks your heart this season and you just know that is how so many women who have been sexually assaulted truly feel. Her feelings just ring true.
        Broadchurch is one of a few shows that really delivers and the final season twists back to the first. I was so sorry to say goodbye to that community of people, especially Olivia Coleman and David Tennant. My most fervent wish is to wake up one day and talk like David Tennant, only in a female voice.

  2. Sandra says:

    I would definitely not mention Kim Dickens in a Performer of the Week article. You call her performance “trademark impassiveness” but that is not a good thing.
    Yes, she can play her character passive but Dickens doesn’t show any facial expressions at all, never a difference in her line delivery, never a difference in her body language. Even if you play a character “passive” you don’t act like that. Even a passive character has different facial expressions and vocal intonation. They’re perhaps not as expressive as with other characters but they still have to be there, just more subtle.
    Her speech seemed like she just learned it by heart, recited it without thinking about it much and that’s it.

    There have been much more memorable and much better performances in season 3 of FTWD you chose to not acknowledge. It’s actually a slap into the face of the other FTWD actors that you nominated Kim Dickens (who just shows us one face for every situation) over all other, much better performances.

    • Matt says:

      I think Kim Dickens performance was dignified, quiet yet spoke volumes. It showed a character that has been through so much especially at a young age. It explained so much in one scene. It brought her character to the next level, in my opinion. I kind of want to go back to watch earlier episodes as it explains so much about the character’s past.

    • Nathan says:

      This isn’t the Oscars Emmys or golden globes it’s ok.

  3. Wes says:

    Chelsea Clark deserves a damn Emmy for her work as Esme on Degrassi: Next Class S4.

  4. ChrisGa says:

    Totally agree regarding Carrie Preston; she walked away with that episode(no mean feat when you share so many scenes with scene-stealer extraordinaire Niecy Nash). Thrilled that Claws will be back for another season.

  5. ragnar51 says:

    Absolutely an Amen, never saw the Good wife but she was great in The Good Fight!! I see Claws already has a second season but I’m hopeful she will be back in TGF

  6. The Beach says:

    The wonderful Carrie Preston will always be the fabulous, hilarious Arlene in True Blood to me.

  7. Cate says:

    I love Kim Dickens but Madison has been a bit of an enigma at times. FTWD had a pretty strong season for me, and Madison’s rise to manipulator and protector has been a big part of that. I like her subtle but powerful performance too.

    Julie Hesmondhalgh is phenomenal in Broadchurch

    Love love love Carrie Preston but only made it through 5 mins of the first episode of Claws before realising it wasn’t for me!

    I’d put in a word for Melanie Scrofano on Wynonna Earp and also Evelyne Brochu on Orphan Black

  8. Alec says:

    I knew she’d win this week. She was really good. Niecy Nash and Judy Reyes are awesome too.

  9. arial2 says:

    Glad to see Julie Hesmondhaigh recognized for her great work in Broadchurch. (and thanks to the writers for the fine dialogue)

  10. luvprue1 says:

    I love Carried Preston

  11. luvprue2 says:

    I love Carrie Preston on True Blood, and I think she is great on claws.

  12. Phil says:

    Great choice! I can easily pick a favorite for this awesome show… they are all great, but Polly has been my favorite since day one! This week’s episode sealed the deal for me!