Best TV acting ever

I’ve been saying for years that my favourite ever performance in a continuing series on TV is Andre Braugher as Frank Pembleton in Homicide: Life On The Streets. I hadn’t seen it in ages, then I recently learnt that the Hallmark channel is showing reruns.

In the episode I just saw, Frank is convinced a cop has killed a young black guy. His colleagues bring in the dead man’s best friend. While the guy is being questioned, Frank tells Lieutenant Giardello (his much admired boss, played by Yaphet Kotto, another powerhouse actor) that this man didn’t do it. G tells Frank that he had better decide whose side he is on. Frank loses his temper and announces that he’ll give him this guy if they want him.

He walks into the interrogation room and takes over. We get to watch Frank playing a role and convincing this kid who has watched his best friend get shot by a cop to sign a confession stating that he killed him. We can see that Frank is acting throughout, but we can also see it convincing his quarry. It’s an astounding, bravura performance, and as good a five minutes of television drama as I can remember seeing in my entire life.