|Harriet Sansom Harris in Law & Order|
I first encountered Harriet Sansom Harris (as Harriet Harris) in X-Files' "Eve." There's a bit of old-fashioned nostalgia bound up in "Eve" for me; it is one of the first X-Files' episodes I ever saw. When I came back to the show a few years ago and started collecting seasons, "Eve" was the episode I remembered (and went looking for).
Harriet Sansom Harris plays multiple parts as multiple Eves: deranged Eve, cunning Eve, and self-less Eve (who is murdered in the course of the episode). She puts on a flawless dramatic performance.
She appears in another dramatic, non-comedy role in Law & Order's "Corporate Veil" playing an expert witness. In a very short scene, she manages to convey a fully-fledged character--defensive, intelligent, and coy--something that every three-sentences/episode actor wants to accomplish (but seldom does).
Until today, I had no idea what a brilliant therapist your brother is.|
He has tunneled his way into the very depths of my psyche.
Niles: Well, let's hope he sent a canary down first.
Harris is not one of those actors who disappears into a role. She has a distinctive face but a still more distinctive voice--a sort of husky meow. Nevertheless, like many great character actors, she does wholly inhabit her current role. Her obvious strengths as a comedienne (possibly one of the best) don't bleed into other roles (unless necessary). At some point in the future, I'm going to write about how it helps for a dramatic actor to have comedic experience, but there's a difference between knowing when to give a line a beat and constantly winking at the camera.
Harris only winks at the camera when she has to--when she has to, she does it with style.