Emmy episode analysis: Martin Mull could win first Emmy as part of ‘Veep’ sweep

With a landslide victory predicted for “Veep” at the Emmys, is Comedy Guest Actor contender Martin Mull poised to win with his episode submission “The Eagle?” He played Bob “The Eagle” Bradley on the HBO series, a veteran political strategist brought on by President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to help win a tight election, which does more harm than good. After 40 years in the spotlight, this is Mull’s first ever nomination from the TV academy; could it also be his first win?

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Bob is put in charge of overseeing the Nevada recount, a crucial step in helping Selina win the election. Yet Bob’s increasingly bizarre behavior starts to raise red flags for Amy (Anna Chlumsky), who’s stationed with him in the Silver State. She soon realizes Bob’s suffering from dementia, and tries to warn her boss, but Selina is too busy blaming China for a disastrous tweet she sent. Plus, she trusts this Washington elder, even asking his advice on her current situation during a late-night phone call. Bob’s condition ultimately hinders the recount, and he is sent to the one place he can do the least amount of damage: the Congressional basement.

Can Mull win for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

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Peter MacNicol
’s loss is Mull’s gain. The “Ally McBeal” Emmy champ (Comedy Supporting Actor, 2001) was recognized alongside Mull in this category for his role as Jonah Ryan’s (Timothy Simons) Faustian uncle, yet had his nomination rescinded due to the newly instated rule requiring guest actors to appear in less than 50% of their show’s entire season (he was replaced by Peter Scolari in “Girls”). Two “Veep” contenders may have split the vote, but with MacNicol gone, Mull has a better shot at wresting the prize from Scolari, “Saturday Night Live” hosts Larry David and Tracy Morgan (“Saturday Night Live”) and two past category champs — Bob Newhart (“The Big Bang Theory,” 2013) and Bradley Whitford (“Transparent,” 2015).

Mull is a TV legend, with iconic roles is shows such as “Rosanne,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” and “Fernwood Tonight.” It’s hard to believe this is his first nomination, and should voters get wind of that, it could lead to his first win.

Call it a “Veep”-stakes: the political satire is expected to have a great night at the Emmys, with wins predicted for Comedy Actress (Louis-Dreyfus), Comedy Supporting Actor (Tony Hale), and Comedy Series. If academy members are voting down the ballot, Mull could get carried along in a sweep.

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Do voters realize Mull has never won before? Some may assume he has at least two or three Emmys already, giving them little reason to hand him another.

The Emmys love repeat winners and last year’s champ, Whitford, is back in contention.

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