TVLine's Performer of the Week: Olivia Colman

Broadchurch finaleA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars


THE SHOW | Broadchurch

THE EPISODE | “Episode 8”

THE AIRDATE | Sept. 25, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Whodunit? It’s more like howdshedothat?!

Colman has delivered a consistently stellar performance as DS Miller throughout Broadchurch‘s first seven episodes. But nothing could prepare us for the tour-de-force she unleashed in this week’s gripping, gut-wrenching finale of the BBA America drama.

When DI Hardy (an also-stellar David Tennant) started lightly grilling Miller about her whereabouts the night 11-year-old Danny Latimer was murdered, her initial confusion (was she a suspect?) gave way to frustration (“Don’t call me Ellie,” she barked at her partner) and then paralyzing fear when the line of questioning turned to her husband, Joe.

“OK, no more questions,” she demanded. “You tell me what’s going on.”

And then Hardy did just that. He informed her that her beloved partner in life was behind the death of Danny. Miller’s initial reaction was one of angry denial, and Colman nailed every beat of it.

“No… what the f—?” she protested, her eyes welling up with tears. “No he didn’t. He didn’t.”

Once Hardy informed her that Joe was already in custody, Miller literally became paralyzed by the horror of it all, before collapsing to the ground, gasping for air and vomiting into her hands. Colman bravely, fearlessly threw her whole body into the performance. She did so again later when Miller confronted her husband. His non-denial when she pressed him about his guilt was all the confirmation she needed. She charged at him, fists — and feet — flying. Her guttural screams could’ve awakened the dead. Her performance definitely pierced our hearts.

HONORABLE MENTION | Trophy Wife‘s Malin Akerman for being the charming, sexy, funny heart of her new family comedy. From the first moments of the pilot, Akerman winningly played Kate as a gorgeous, goofy, generally good-hearted underdog with excellent comedic chops (has anyone in recent memory played funny-drunk so flawlessly?). In an ensemble that includes talented vets Bradley Whitford and Marcia Gay Harden, Akerman more than holds her own.