Performer of the Week: Ruth Negga

Performer of the Week: Ruth Negga
Performer of the Week: Ruth Negga


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THE SHOW | Apple TV+’s Presumed Innocent

THE EPISODE | “Bases Loaded” (June 12, 2024)

THE PERFORMANCE | We didn’t get to spend a huge amount of time with Bonnie Bedelia’s Barbara Sabich in the 1990 film based on Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, but the first two episodes of Apple TV+’s series adaptation make clear that Rusty’s wife, as played by Negga, will often and effectively engage with the drama unfolding around her.

In Episode 1 specifically, it fell on Negga to reveal to the audience — namely, anyone unfamiliar with either Turow’s novel or the film — that Rusty, who thus far had been diligently investigating the murder of Carolyn Polhemus, was once romantically involved with his ill-fated colleague.

“I can’t do the memorial,” Barbara informed Rusty, speaking so softly but with such weight about the limits of her devotion.

Later, after Barbara observed the gusto with which Rusty spoke of his boss Raymond and the murder case on TV, Negga had us feeling every painful wince as Barbara said/pleaded to her husband, “Please don’t tell me you’re personally handling Carolyn‘s case….” But, alas, he is.

Barbara followed Rusty into the bathroom. Here, Negga folded her arms, tilted her head down and, under Anne Sewitsky’s direction, stayed “small” in the background as Barbara reminded her cheating husband (and illuminated for us), “Our marriage barely survived this. I barely survived this. I know you, Rusty. You will disappear into this case… and you will go silent. And that’ll break me.”

Before Episode 1 was over — and just before all the shoes started dropping for about-to-be-blindsided Rusty! — Barbara consoled him over Raymond’s loss in the primary, which portends Rusty’s demotion as chief deputy prosecutor. Rusty thanked her for sticking by him, and what followed was a lovely monologue in which Negga told us so much about who Barbara is, who she isn’t, and what is of the utmost importance to her at this defining moment in their lives.

“I’m not tragically dependent. I could’ve left” after learning of the affair, she stated. “And I still could. The reason I haven’t is we have a family, and I’m desperate for anything to preserve that.

“Oh — and I love you,” she added, with Negga injecting just the right amount of genuine tenderness. “There’s that.”

“I will fight — you and I will fight — to save what we have, because we have got a lot,” she said in closing.


“You need to stop loving her,” Barbara asked/demanded of her man. “You need to stop… loving her.”

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…



OK, so we really thought Evil’s Andy was going to kill one of his own children while under the thrall of Leland’s hellish suggestion. And the fact that we bought into that terrifying possibility is, in large part, thanks to Patrick Brammall’s excellent performance in this week’s episode. Andy’s struggle as he fought the directive to murder his daughter was mostly internal; it was on Brammall to make the audience understand his deep torment. He succeeded: We defy you to watch that scene where the syringe gets closer to its target and not hold your breath in horror as Brammall battles mightily, face tense and body rigid, to stop Andy from doing his diabolical duty. The only moment better and more affecting came later, when Andy confessed that he needs to leave his family so he doesn’t hurt them, Brammall’s voice flat, hurt and full of tears. Gorgeous, gutting work all the way around. — Kimberly Roots

HONORABLE MENTION: Christian Convery

HONORABLE MENTION: Christian Convery
HONORABLE MENTION: Christian Convery

For three seasons, Christian Convery‘s Gus has been Sweet Tooth’s beating heart and the series finale was no exception. As the hybrid child faced an army of baddies at the infamous cave, Gus never lost hope that he could save the world. With wide, expressive eyes and a shaky voice, Convery conveyed absolute terror when Helen Zhang revealed plans to eradicate all hybrids, and after Big Man was stabbed, the actor’s screams felt so real it destroyed us. If things weren’t emotional enough, Pubba stopped by for one last (albeit, posthumous) slice of wisdom, setting him up for a monologue about grief and life that showcased just how far his death-defying adventure had really taken him. Thanks to Convery’s confident turn, we realized how much Gus had grown and loved him even more for it. — Nick Caruso

Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!

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