Performer of the Week: Guillermo Diaz

Scandal Guillermo Diaz Performer of the WeekA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Guillermo Diaz

THE SHOW | Scandal

THE EPISODE | ”Seven Fifty-Two”

THE AIRDATE | April 25, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | For a show that metes out backstory on its gladiators so frugally, Scandal this Thursday shed an immense amount of light on its darkest character — and in turn shone a spotlight on the incredible work of Guillermo Diaz.

Picking up the aftermath of the former CIA spook being abducted and tied up in a none-too-big crate, Huck was introduced in the here and now as a shell-shocked warrior, a strong and able man crippled by trauma, only uttering the number “752” over and over again.

Throughout the hour, Diaz toggled between vastly different iterations of Olivia Pope’s most enigmatic associate. As Huck-the-PFC surprising his lady with an early return home from a tour of duty, he was almost unrecognizable. He broadcasted a smile we have never, ever seen before, and a spring in his step replaced the slouched shoulders and hands in pockets we’ve come to expect.

That Huck quickly devolved into a more somber version, as he was pulled into a pitch-black line of employ: killing. Diaz communicated the ghastly nature of the work and Huck’s discomfort with it until an unnerving sequence in which, with a baby on the way and marriage under his belt, he brought a zeal and cleverness to his craft.

Then there was Huck the homeless veteran, a fallen man forced to forget everyone he loved, leaving him lost in life. That wounded warrior would be one day be given purpose anew by Olivia. And it was ultimately Olivia’s words, her story of how he saved her more than she ever saved him, that drew him out of his near-cataonic state there in the corner of the OPA office, where he realized that the family he suspected he had only imagined in fact was forgotten but very real.

Diaz’s work, in every of these scenes and varied arcs, made us appreciate and lament all that Huck had lost as much as he did.

HONORABLE MENTION | Throughout all of Smash‘s up and downs, Megan Hilty has been a consistent bright spot. In last Saturday’s installment, though, the actress’s light shone brighter than ever. In the opening night performance of the fictional Broadway musical Bombshell, Hilty’s Ivy Lynn delivered the closing number “Don’t Forget Me” with such off-the-charts horsepower and genuine emotion, we were ready to camp out at the TKTS booth and score tickets. And just as compelling, her character buried the hatchet with arch rival Karen, showing her trademark mix of cattiness and vulnerability in the process. When the curtain finally goes down on NBC’s troubled musical drama, it’ll be Hilty that we miss most of all.