Emmy episode analysis: Pablo Schreiber calls the shots in ‘Orange is the New Black’

pablo schreiber orange is the new black oitnb emmys netflix

After more than a decade of steady TV work, including "The Wire," "Weeds" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," actor Pablo Schreiber earned his first career Emmy nomination this year: Best Drama Guest Actor for playing sadistic prison guard George "Pornstache" Mendez in Netflix's "Orange is the New Black." Will he win on his first try with his episode submission, "40 Oz. of Furlough"?

Will Uzo Aduba ('OITNB') join Ed Asner as only Emmy winners for same role in two genres?

SYNOPSIS: After his suspension is over, Pornstache returns to Litchfield Prison, much to the distress of the inmates. As soon as he bursts through the doors, he writes up several women for dubious infractions ("Interfering with a staff member … that's a shot!"). He later disciplines activist Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn) for attempting to stage a hunger strike. But in the end, it's he who is the voice of reason when fellow guard John Bennett (Matt McGorry) loses his composure and ransacks a prisoner dorm looking for contraband.

Will Schreiber prevail for his reign of terror? Let's consider the pros and cons:

PROS

Schreiber only has three brief scenes in his episode, but he makes the most of them. It's a showy performance with lots of grandstanding, and most of the attention is on him.

Emmy voters aren't shy about rewarding scene-stealing villains in this category: consider Joe Morton in "Scandal" last year and John Lithgow in "Dexter" in 2010.

Schreiber can currently be seen in the HBO political satire "The Brink." That increases his public exposure at a crucial time and lets voters see another side of him as an actor.

CONS

Screentime. His performance clocks in at three minutes total, and he never appears for much more than a minute at a time.

As his nickname might suggest, Pornstache is a broad, often comic character. Will this performance fare well against his weightier dramatic rivals?

His last scene is more a showcase for his co-star McGorry, which may distract voters from Schreiber's performance.

Emmys 2015: Complete List of Episode Submissions

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