Emmy Episode Analysis: Paul Giamatti may bring Emmy to ‘Downton Abbey’ with ‘The London Season’

Emmy-winner Paul Giamatti (2008 Movie/Mini Actor, “John Adams”) returns as a nominee three years after his last bid (Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for “Too Big to Fail“). This time, he contends for Drama Guest Actor for “Downton Abbey” (PBS), portraying Harold Levinson, brother of Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern).

Emmy experts Robert Bianco (USA Today), Lynette Rice (People) split on winners

SYNOPSIS: In “The London Season,” Harold and his Mother Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) attend Rose’s (Lily James) coming out party after she is presented at Buckingham Palace. Harold makes his dislike of the occasion known but soon begins to warm up to it. Rose’s friend Madeleine Allsopp (Poppy Drayton) is told by her father to pursue Harold because he is very rich. Harold confesses to her that he primarily prefers the company of girls he doesn’t have to commit to, only commit to buy jewelry for. Madeleine urges Harold to think better of himself, and he begins to fall for her; they promise to keep in contact by letter. By episode’s end, Harold has changed his mind about London and himself.

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So will Giamatti bulk up “Downton’s” Emmys haul? Let’s analyze the pros and cons:


Harold is almost like an Emmy voter: visiting an unfamiliar place with preconceived notions and waiting to be wowed to change his opinion. Sort of like the Emmy voting process.

Giamatti’s episode is an extended 90-minute special that gives him a great amount of screen time and an unrushed story arc.

Harold could have been a dull character, but Giamatti is able to bring out qualities we relate to and makes him more than just a sidekick to his Mother.


Downton Abbey” hasn’t had much luck in the acting races outside of Dame Maggie Smith.

The role of Harold isn’t very showy for a dramatic category.

Even with his substantial screen time, there are still large portions of the 90-minute episode where he does not appear.

Giamatti, also a previous Oscar-nominee (“Cinderella Man,” 2005), currently sits fifth in our combined predictions with 50/1 odds. Do you think he can get “Abbey” its first Emmy for a male actor? Make your predictions below.

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