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The fairer sex were a tour de force at the recent 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. Debashine Thangevelo looks at TV favourite Kerry Washington, who, although she lost out on the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series honours for her role in M-Net’s The Fixer, made history as the first African-American to bag a nomination in 18 years. Meanwhile, Nurse Jackie’s Merritt Wever beat several comedy heavyweights to win her Emmy. While both shows end next week, fans will be glad to hear they will be making a comeback.
WHEN The Fixer (titled Scandal in the US) debuted on our screens, I was far from an ardent fan of Kerry Washington – apart from loving her über-stylish wardrobe, that is.
I felt she lacked that je nais se quoi in her role as Olivia Pope, spin doctor extraordinaire as well as the US president’s off-again, on-again mistress. In fact, I even suggested she should take notes from Gina Torres (Jessica Pearson in Suits).
But she has stupefied me in season two. Let’s just say the emotional vulnerability witnessed in season one, which was initially viewed as not only a chink in her armour, but a flaw in her performance, has (in season two, on M-Net) becomes the catalyst in elevating her character to an unmistakable power-wielding echelon.
Interestingly, the Emmy judges felt the same way and it was manifested in her bagging a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Scandal. Although she lost to Claire Danes (Carrie Mathison in Homeland), she was saluted for being the first African-American actress to end the 18-year drought in that category.
The popularity of the politically tinged thriller drama – which has made Washington the fixation of the paparazzi in recent times, more so with her performance in Django Unchained – continues to surge, with a third season being given the green light.
Next week is the nail-biting finale to the current season, with Cyrus at the epicentre of a White House scandal, which doesn’t bode well for Fitz’s re-election campaign. In a shocking twist, Olivia finds the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, when her life becomes fodder for the mudslinging media.
Meanwhile, several largely forgettable movie roles later, it was Nurse Jackie that put 33-year-old Merritt Wever on the map.
That she pipped Mayim Bialik (Dr Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen (Claire Dunphy, Modern Family), Anna Chlumsky (Amy Brookheimer, Veep), Jane Krakowski (Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester, Glee) and Sofia Vergara (Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Modern Family) was a big feather in her cap and saw her floating on cloud nine on the night. Now an Emmy award-winning actress, her value has increased substantially.
In the series, she plays Jackie Peyton’s best friend, Zoey Barkow, whose exuberant personality has been the perfect foil to Peyton’s addictive personality.
The talking point of season four is Peyton’s sobering status. In the finale next Tuesday, Peyton goes over Dr Cruz’s head to get the ER under control, resulting in her dismissal from All Saints for insubordination. But indispensable, she certainly is, which viewers will discover in the climax.
Wever’s character has become more of a take-charge Dr Miranda Bailey-type in the series, which has been extended for a sixth season. I guess we should brace ourselves for a sassier Barkow in the forthcoming seasons. You go, girl!
• The Fixer (a double bill) airs on Monday at 8.30pm and the final episode of Nurse Jackie airs on Tuesday at 10.05pm.