Okay, enough teasing of the result, here are the actual tallies. In sixth place, with no votes, is Jon Hamm from Mad Men. In a tie for fourth place with one vote (6%) each are Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad and James Spader from Boston Legal. In a tie for second place with five votes (28%) are Michael C. Hall for the lead role in Dexter and Hugh Laurie for the title role in House. But the winner, with six votes (33%) is Gabriel Byrne for In Treatment.
When I wrote the introduction to the original solicitation of votes I wrote "In my mind there are five great performances here (I'll give you three guesses which one I think doesn't belong; first two don't count)." The one was James Spader. I honestly don't think that his part on Boston Legal is anywhere near as strong as any of the other parts. Bryan Cranston has a truly meaty role as the dying high school teacher who turns to making Crystal Meth as a way of providing a nest egg for his family. Hugh Laurie is masterful as House. He is not, as my brother describes the character, "a doctor with a God complex," but rather a character whose brash exterior masks his internal self-doubts. I'm not sure what can be said about Michael C. Hall's performance as Dexter except to describe it as riveting. I don't kno what to say about Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment simply because I've never seen it, however Byrne has a long standing reputation as one of the best actors around. In fact, for me the only surprise in this one is that Jon Hamm, who plays the repressed ad agency executive Don Draper in Mad Men didn't get a vote. His portrayal of someone seeking a way to ameliorate the quiet desperation of his life is riveting.
New poll up in a few minutes.