Andre Braugher previously won Emmys as Best Drama Actor for “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1998 and Best Movie/Miniseries Actor for “Thief” in 2006. This year, he is a strong contender for Best Comedy Supporting Actor for the freshman season of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” For his role as Captain Ray Holt, this Emmy favorite ranks third, behind 2011 champ Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) and last year’s winner Tony Hale (“Veep”).
Which episode should Braugher submit to complete his miniseries-drama-comedy trifecta? Let’s help him out by taking a closer look at three options.
“Pilot” (Episode 1)
Synopsis: Holt’s no-nonsense attitude clashes with that of childish star detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg).
Standout scene: Holt reveals toward the end of the pilot that he is gay. The explanation that follows contains pathos and even prompts Peralta to say, “Sorry, I feel like a jackass.” Braugher’s measured demeanor also contrasts with more flamboyant gay characters on television and feels like something new.
Analysis: It became clear over the course of the season that Holt was just a supporting character in ‘The Jake Peralta Show,’ but the pilot and early promotional materials suggested a series built on the dynamic between Peralta and Holt, so this performance feels substantial. Later episodes also portrayed Holt in a more comedic fashion, but the characterization of Holt in the pilot allows Braugher to hit many of the same notes from his past dramatic performances to which Emmy voters responded.
“Full Boyle” (Episode 17)
Synopsis: In a subplot, Holt is opposed when seeking re-election as president of a gay black police officer association that he founded 25 years earlier.
Standout scene: Giving a speech before the group, Holt announces that he is conceding the race. Emmy voters love speeches and this one comes complete with a deadpan joke and Braugher’s commanding voice.
Analysis: “Full Boyle” presents a more comedic Holt than the pilot, as he is the source of a few gags, but Braugher is also menacing in his quest to take down his competition. However, with just five minutes of screen time, Braugher risks being overshadowed by fellow supporting actor Joe Lo Truglio, who plays the Charles Boyle character from the episode’s title. And Braugher’s character is so isolated that he interacts with one just one other series regular in his storyline.
“Charges and Specs” (Episode 22)
Synopsis: Jake enlists Holt to gather evidence on a case that the commissioner has shut down which turns out to be part of a conspiracy.
Standout scene: When a judge does not want to sign off on a warrant, Holt decides to “charm” her and is surprisingly effective. Eric Stonestreet won this very Emmy two years ago as a gay character pretending to be straight.
Analysis: Holt is in nine minutes of the season finale and plays off of Jake in most of them, putting him truly in a supporting role, which worked for Hale last year. As in the pilot, Braugher is directly involved in the main plot of the episode and gets to interact with just about everyone in the main cast. Unlike the pilot, Braugher has an established rapport with his fellow actors. Although he sternly scolds Jake early in the episode, Holt is generally more of a playful presence by this point in the season and even has a dance scene, so this is a comedic performance with dramatic range.
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