Emmy Episode Analysis: Will Joanne Froggatt (‘Downton Abbey’) win for shocking storyline?

Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey“) reaped a Best Drama Supporting Actress bid in 2012 but was snubbed last year. This year she contends again with her character of dutiful housemaid Anna Bates having been put through the wringer. Indeed, her Emmy episode submission includes a shocking sexual assault.

Joanne Froggatt embraced ‘responsibility’ of explosive storyline on ‘Downton Abbey’ (Exclusive Video)

SYNOPSIS: In “Episode 4.2,” the family and servants are all anticipating a house party that will welcome Australian opera singer Nellie Melba to Downton. Lord Gillingham comes to town to flirt with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and he brings along his valet Mr. Greene, who becomes infatuated with Anna. At first, Mr. Greene and Anna exchange pleasantries and play games. But later on during Melba’s performance, he violently attacks her in the basement and sexually assaults her.

Anna tells Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) that she’s too embarrassed to reveal the truth of what happened to Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and fears that if were to find out, he would murder Mr. Greene and be hanged for it. Mr. Bates notices Anna’s bruised appearance, but she lies to him and then bids Mr. Greene adieu as he leaves the house.

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Can Froggatt take home her first Emmy for this role for “Episode 4.2”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


At Gold Derby, we often talk about a single impact scene winning Emmys for actors and actresses, and Froggatt has a doozy of a stand-out scene where her character Anna is attacked in the basement during the concert. Froggatt gives the most emotional, raw and heart-breaking performance in this category. There’s no way voters won’t feel empathy for her character.

Throughout the episode, Froggatt gets to show off her wide range of emotions, from happiness and elation at the beginning of the episode, to fear and embarrassment at the end.

Don’t forget, since her co-star Maggie Smith is also nominated here, that means voters will get to see Froggatt in her episode submission as well. Smith’s episode is the two-hour season finale, meaning Froggatt and Smith will both be seen by voters for a total of three hours. If size matters, it’s probably not a smart move to vote against either of these ladies.


Are voters turned off by sexual attack storylines? Episode submissions featuring such scenes rarely win Emmys. Last year, Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel“) lost with a similar episode. And in 2001, Lorraine Bracco (“The Sopranos”) submitted an episode where her character was brutally attacked, but she was bested by co-star Edie Falco.

Even with the emotional impact scene, it’s worth noting that Froggatt is missing from several scenes because of “Downton Abbey’s” story structure of following so many characters in every episode. Of course, this concept didn’t hurt Smith in the past (she won two Emmys for this series), but Smith is an acting legend and Froggatt lacks name recognition.

For nearly a year now, people have been talking about co-nominee Anna Gunn‘s performance in the “Breaking Bad” episode “Ozymandias.” Does Froggatt have enough industry support to take down such an obvious frontrunner?

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Froggatt is currently in third place in our predictions with 16/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we underestimating her? Make your own predictions below.

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