There were several incredibly compelling, emotional performances on TV this year. What were the best of the best? Here are my choices for the best TV drama performances of 2015.
15. Eka Darville (Jessica Jones)
Eka Darville’s performance as Malcolm Ducasse brought a sweetness to a very gritty, cynical show. But, this doesn’t mean the full depth of his character’s pain wasn’t explored. He was a rich and heartbreaking character.
14. Grant Gustin (The Flash)
The joy and brightness Grant Gustin brought to The Flash immediately separated it from other superhero shows. He can sell the show’s silliest sequences and bring to life it’s most dramatic moments.
13. Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black)
Lea DeLaria’s Big Boo got more screentime than ever in Orange is the New Black‘s third season and DeLaria was absolutely up to the task. She shined in episodes like “Finger in the Dyke.”
12. Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones)
Trish Walker was much more than a sidekick on Jessica Jones and Rachel Taylor made her just as interesting a character as the show’s lead.
11. Bellamy Young (Scandal)
Bellamy Young’s performance as Mellie Grant has been stunning since Scandal began. This year she kept standing out with incredible scenes like Mellie’s filibustering.
10. Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
It’s no surprise that Bob Odenkirk’s performance is just as strong as it was on Breaking Bad. This prequel show has allowed him to add an earnest core to the character we’ve never seen before.
9. Kerry Washington (Scandal)
Olivia continued to go through hell in Scandal‘s fifth season. Kerry Washington is brilliant in scenes like Olivia finally dumping Fitz in the winter finale.
8. Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
In the middle of a chaotic show, Viola Davis gives a beautifully understated performance as the complicated professor Annalise Keating.
7. Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
Taraji P. Henson’s performance as Cookie Lyon became instantly iconic when Empire premiered this year. The performance is as entertaining and fun as it is nuanced.
6. Rose McIver (iZombie)
In her performance as Liv Moore, Rose McIver has to play a coherent, strong lead while also cycling through shades of other personalities each week.
5. Sherri Saum (The Fosters)
Sherri Saum brings an incredible warmth and heart to her performance as Lena Adams. She brought you only an emotional journey with the character, from her angriest fights to her sweetest moments with her children.
4. Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black)
Uzo Aduba’s Suzanne Warren is a truly unique character. With each season, the character just gets stronger and her performance gets richer.
3. Tate Ellington (Quantico)
Mysterious characters like Simon Asher only work if the audience at least feels like we know them. Tate Ellington’s incredible performance brought the audience along for the ride, through all the ambiguities, twists and false leads.
2. Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
For three seasons, Freddie Highmore has taken an iconic character and made him his own. The sweet innocence he brings to Norman Bates makes it all the more jarring when you see his dark side.
1. Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Vera Farmiga’s performance isn’t slowing down in season three. She continues to astound in what is undoubtedly one of the best TV performances of all time.