TVLine's Performer of the Week: Katie Leclerc

Switched at Birth Season 2 SpoilersA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Katie Leclerc

THE SHOW | Switched at Birth

THE EPISODE | “Ecce Mono”

THE AIRDATE | July 8, 2013

Playing the sweet, nice character can be a thankless task. So while Katie Leclerc has been consistently good as the ABC Family drama’s Daphne, it took this past Monday’s “What If” episode — in which she played a completely different version of her character — to make us really appreciate just how much the actress puts into her good girl act.

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Without Regina in her life, raised from the age of 3 by the Kennishes, Daphne became a vapid mean girl interested in all things expensive, cute and popular — especially clothes and boys. Leclerc brought the personality makeover to life with such sharpness and spunk that it made us sit up and take notice. (Her resemblance to Mean Girls‘ Rachel McAdams didn’t hurt, either.) Whether Daphne was skirting her parents’ rules by exploiting their weak spots with easy, manipulative charm or flippantly insulting her “sister” Bay (Vanessa Marano) (all using her real voice — makes the work that goes into maintaining Daphne’s accent each week all the more remarkable, doesn’t it?), Leclerc was a study in the art of bitchiness.

Then things took a turn when Bay to suggested to Daphne that she could use a visit to a shrink. “You could figure out why you’re so empty,” she said.

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That’s when Leclerc’s performance went from fun to something deeper and truly impressive. Daphne tried to fill her hollowness with a random hook-up, but a boy would not take away the ache. Crying in her closet while clutching a stuffed animal the morning after, Leclerc transformed her mean girl into someone broken, vulnerable and sympathetic.

As Bay began to dig for the truth about her biological mother Regina, and tried to bring her sis into it, Leclerc maintained a certain level of detachment, giving Daphne’s journey of self-realization an unexpected level of complexity. Even as the two girls looked upon their mother’s grave, Daphne’s expression was confused and unmoved, almost as if she wasn’t aware of all that she’d lost with Regina’s passing. It wasn’t until the episode’s end that she finally realized what was missing in her life and made a simple request, imbued with hope and sadness by Leclerc, to Regina’s mother: “I want to know more.”

MistressesHONORABLE MENTIONS | It’s easy to dismiss ABC’s Mistresses as a lightweight summer soap, but that doesn’t diminish in any way the terrific work turned in by Jes Macallan in “Payback.” In the episode’s final, heartbreaking scene, Macallan’s party girl crumbled as she learned Savi had kept from her the news of her pregnancy — and her extramarital affair — while dishing said dirt with their pals. When the sisterly tiff opened the door for Savi to pass judgment on Joss’ promiscuous lifestyle and declare they were nothing alike, Macallan delivered Joss’ choked-up retort — “You’re my sister and I would never hurt you. Never. I would never do what you just did to me.” — with such a palpable ache that it was hard not to reach for the Kleenex.

General Hospital‘s Kirsten Storms delivered a major punch to the gut when her beloved character Maxie was both treated to and haunted by a surprise “reunion” with her late sister Georgie. Through sobs of joy and sorrow, Maxie was forced to face some unpleasant truths about her recent questionable actions (she’s currently carrying her own child, but passing it off as the unborn baby of her best friend), and appeared to come out the other end of the otherworldly visit better for it. Storms turned in a performance that evoked sympathy for her selfish alter ego, no easy feat indeed.

What performance knocked your socks off this week? Sound off below!

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. GS says:

    Katie did a fantastic job! I wanted to slap her throughout the show…lol. She really brought a lot of range to the character. It was a great episode! Loved the end!

  2. Mayra says:

    Well deserved! She did a great job this week.
    And her voice! *—

  3. George says:

    Kind of funny seeing Kristen Storms on here this week (although it’s totally deserved) after the whole twitter fiasco this week

    • Meg says:

      I follow her on twitter, but I’ve been sick all week so not really keeping up on my feed. What happened?

      • ash says:

        KS got in a little bit of a twitter war with the actress (JL) that played Maxie while she was off sick.
        JL is on Days now and comments innocently that she thinks he Days character could kick Maxie’s ass… Seriously she was just commenting on two characters she’s played. Anyway it didn’t go over well with KS fans then KS got involved and it got a little “less than nice”I’ll say. KS didn’t come across well and quickly deleted the tweets .

        • beth says:

          I’m pretty sure KS left all of her tweets up. She replied addressing the “character” situation as well. I saw JL deleted a lot of things she said though. The whole thing seemed so stupid. JL should’ve left the “ass kicking” comment out of it from the beginning….IMHO.

  4. Ann says:

    Wow. I didn’t know Katie spoke without an accent. I always thought she spoke the way that she spoke because she is really partially deaf…I didn’t know she was faking it this whole time!

    • Meg says:

      Katie has Meniere’s Disease, which can cause hearing loss, but she wasn’t diagnosed until age 20.

      • Mel31602 says:

        Thats the same illness that the love interest last season had, right (the one who dated Bay but kissed Daphne)? I too had no idea she spoke without an accent in real life so I was wondering how she played non-deaf Daphne until I read this story.

        • Winter says:

          Yes it’s the same inner ear disorder that Noah had. Katie has a deaf Aunt so she knew how to sign before she started to loss her hearing but producers want her to affect a deaf accent for the part. She does a great job.

  5. ryan says:

    Is this a joke Jennifer carpenter was amazing again this week and you pass her for a nobody lol

    • Lauren says:

      Jen has been great but I bet she’s going to blow the doors off the place later this season, and they know it.

  6. cuius says:

    Two words – Taylor Schilling

  7. Ram510 says:

    That was hands down THE BEST episode of Switched at Birth thus far!
    Mistresses is proving to be more than just a lightweight summer show and should get more recognition

  8. jerrired says:

    Well deserved for Kattie Leclerc. I was stunned by how good her performance was, and it was a great way to see how good she is as Daphne. That whole episode was amazing in general, but Katie really shined in it.

  9. jenferner8 says:

    Did you even SEE last episode of Falling Skies? I really think Drew Roy should have at least gotten a mention. The one character on the show who up until now may have been one of the most boring finally knocks it so far out of the park it was like Orphan Black meets Herman’s Head gone wild.

  10. didi says:

    She’s great. The only thing I don’t like about her portrayal this season is she has made Daphne harder to understand. You can’t go backwards.

  11. Lex says:

    Yess, go Kirsten!! She rocked it yesterday. Her scenes with Lindze had me crying. Bring back Georgie, GH!

  12. Maggie says:

    Whoo hoo go Kirsten Storms. Maxie is my favorite character on GH.

  13. Maggie says:

    Finally, GH is giving Kirsten the material she deserves. She’s amazing.

  14. Ashley says:

    I know a lot of people look over the show because of its name and premise, but I’m sorely disappointed that there’s nothing for Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf this week. As a fan of Switched At Birth and Kirsten Storms’, I have to say Dylan blew them all out of the water when he tried to stop his best friend from committing suicide gruesomely with gasoline and a road flare, then stepped up to be taken with him. It was an amazingly acted scene. I found Switched At Birth to actually be boring this week. I felt next to nothing with Leclerc’s scenes.

    • Kate'shomesick says:

      Yeah, Dylan O’Brien reall has it. He is going to be a great character actor. He is very natural. I’m looking forward to see him taking the next steps.

  15. Hodan says:

    Yes! Both Katie and Kirsten were great this week.

  16. I am “over the moon” to see my girl, Kirsten Storms being recognized for her exceptional talent. She is and has been one of my favorite daytime actresses since she first took over the role of Maxie Jones on GH.

  17. Juan says:

    one of the best episodes of switched for sure, and everyone brought their A game

  18. Lipstick Socialism says:

    So happy to see all the ladies mentioned here. Katie Leclerc was lovely, and I’m always happy for some soap love—-Kristen Storms manages to give Maxie the right balance of bitchy and vulnerable.