19 Praiseworthy Performances from 2015

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Sometimes you catch an episode of television that you want to watch again and again because an individual's performance is simply brilliant.

The actors found below did something special in the episodes, and for the reasons noted, they've made our list for 2015.

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

1. Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates - Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 6, "Norma Louise"

Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates - Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 6, "Norma Louise"
Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates in Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 6. Having to play a character with so many contradictions and emotions has to be exhausting, but Vera Farmiga pulls it off with ease episode after episode. It’s hard to believe she could get any better, but in “Norma Louise” she takes it to a stunning level of brilliance as a woman who’s given everything she has and realizes that no matter what, she has to give more. Every thing she feels, we feel. Vera’s performance is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

2. Liev Schrieber as Ray Donovan - Ray Donovan Season 3 Episode 12, "Excuscito"

Liev Schrieber as Ray Donovan - Ray Donovan Season 3 Episode 12, "Excuscito"
Liev Schrieber as Ray Donovan on Ray Donovan Season 3 Episode 12, "Excuscito." For the first time in 36 years Ray goes to confession, with a priest who knows some of his worst and most heineous secrets, as well as his greatest vulnerabilities, and he just breaks. He lets of so much rage and sorrow and pain, all while being shot and bleeding half to death. Schrieber brings forth so much emotion as the well-lapsed Catholic hoping to right his wrongs and forgiveness seems easy at that point.

3. Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant - Scandal Season 5 Episode 9, "Baby it's Cold Outside"

Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant - Scandal Season 5 Episode 9, "Baby it's Cold Outside"
Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant on Scandal Season 5 Episode 9. Mellie has always been one of Scandal's most interesting characters, but she's been particularly strong this season In "Baby It's Cold Outside," she stood up for what she believed – literally – for one of her most powerful performances.

Her epic filibuster had nothing to do with Fitz or Olivia or anything like that; it was all about protecting the rights of women. It didn't matter that it was Christmas Eve, that she was wearing heels, or that she really had to pee. She did what she had to do, and it worked. It was inspiring and incredibly well done.

4. Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons - Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 5, "4,722 Hours"

Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons - Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 5, "4,722 Hours"
Elizabeth Henstridge easily pulled in her best performance of the series on Agents of Shield Season 3 Episode 5. Almost the entire episode focused on her character Jemma Simmons stranded on a planet and forced to find a way to survive. Henstridge did an excellent job showing Simmons' loneliness and utter despair along with her desperation to survive and find a way back home.

Watching her hold onto her optimism and hope for so long and then seeing the realization hit her when she loses it was absolutely heartbreaking. Henstridge's performance was so captivating that it was easy to forget the rest of the regular characters weren't around.

5. Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder - Justified Season 6 Episode 13, “The Promise”

Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder - Justified Season 6 Episode 13, “The Promise”
Joelle Carter - (Ava Crowder - Justified) If the final season of Justified had one true star, it was Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder. Finally out of prison, Ava was caught between her fiance Boyd Crowder and being Raylan Gibbons criminal informant. If Boyd caught on, she could end up dead, and if she failed as a C.I., she’d be thrown back in prison and most likely killed.

But leave it to Ava to play both sides and ditch both men in favor of her own future. It was a high wire balancing act leading up to Justified Season 6 Episode 13, “The Promise” that left us guessing until the very end. Through it all, Carter showed us Ava’s combined determination and vulnerability in an amazing performance that won’t soon be forgotten.

6. John Noble as Morland Holmes - Elementary Season 4 Episode 6, "The Cost of Doing Business"

John Noble as Morland Holmes - Elementary Season 4 Episode 6, "The Cost of Doing Business"
John Noble as Morland Holmes in Elementary. Sherlock repeatedly refers to his father as evil, making deals with the devil, performing black magic, and other colorful descriptions, but John Noble's performance makes it all too easy to set such things aside as poetic exaggerations.

That is, up until the end of Elementary Season 4 Episode 6, when Morland cold-bloodedly threatens the life of a would-be blackmailer, and suddenly it's all to easy to see why people are just so scared of this man. Noble is absolutely brilliant in the role, and he absolutely elevates every scene in which he appears.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Elementary, Doctor Who, You're the Worst, Blindspot, NCIS, Once Upon a Time, Scorpion, Scandal, The Leftovers, Ray Donovan, Gotham, Bates Motel, The Flash
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