Michael Emerson traded in his role of a creepy know-it-all on “Lost” island for the role of a creepy know-it-all on Manhattan island. But will Emmy voters follow the popular actor to his well-received new CBS procedural “Person of Interest“? At first glance, things don’t look very good.
It’s no secret that of all the genres on television, crime procedurals receive the least amount of awards love. In fact, other than a pair of leading ladies — Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer“) and Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) — it has been over a decade since a whodunnit series prevailed in any of the lead or supporting acting categories at the Emmys. Emerson would be contending in the Drama Supporting Actor race, and the last time a crime show performer prevailed here was in 1998, when Gordon Clapp won for “NYPD Blue.”
Emerson is a two-time Emmy winner, so it’s clear Emmy voters are a fan. However, both of these trophies came for playing duplicitous villains, and on “Person of Interest” Emerson portrays Harold Finch, a sympathetic computer programmer who tries to stop crimes before they happen. In other words, he’s finally playing a good guy! It’s still a mystery whether the Emmys will accept Emerson in this new positive light.
His first Emmy win came for portraying a serial killer on “The Practice” (2001) in the Drama Guest Actor race. Emerson was virtually unknown when he played William Hinks, and his triumph over much more well-known actors — James Cromwell (“ER”), Patrick Dempsey (“Once and Again”), Rene Auberjonois (“The Practice”) and Oliver Platt (“The West Wing”) — was a huge vote of confidence from the television academy.
Eight years later, he took to the stage again after winning the Drama Supporting Actor race for “Lost” (2009). Accepting the award for the episode “Dead is Dead,” Emerson declared that playing the villainous character Benjamin Linus was the role of his lifetime.
Below, watch the clip of Emerson claiming his 2009 Emmy for “Lost.”
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