Characters Dying For An Emmy: ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Fargo’ & ‘Big Little Lies’

By Greg Evans, Erik Pedersen

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Talk about getting an Emmy nomination the hard way. We’re counting at least four actors who snared noms after their characters went the way of all things flesh this season. Five if you count Einstein. Six if you count a doubly doomed dual role.

The heart-tugger, of course, was Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill, the long-absent dad in NBC’s This Is Us who reunites with son Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) just before dying of stomach cancer. Take a look at one of his deathbed scenes above, and have a tissue handy.

On the creepier end of the spectrum, Shannon Purser’s Barb Holland met a gruesome farewell on Netflix’s Stranger Things after being dragged into the Upside Down’s swimming pool by the Monster. We’ll spare you any photos of her creepy-crawly-ridden corpse and remind you of pleasanter times when her disappearance was still open to wishful thinking. Go to the 1:40 mark of Jimmy Fallon’s Golden Globes cold open:

In the near-Shakespearean tragedy that was FX’s Fargo this season, Ewan McGregor played the dual role of brothers whose lifelong bad blood boils over into manslaughter (or was it murder?). He starred as Emmit Stussy, “the Parking Lot King of Minnesota” who gets in over his head with some really bad dudes, and also played Ray Stussy, a parole officer who breaks bad and whose fool-proof plan gets stuck on the keyword “fool.” One sibling kills the other — accidentally, it seems — and the other checks out in a similarly unpleasant fashion. Like the setting, it’s cold.

On HBO’s limited series Big Little Lies, Alexander Skarsgård played Perry Wright, the abusive husband of Celeste (Nicole Kidman) who takes their rough sex too far and ends up paying for it when her friends witness him attacking her. About all there is to say about how he joined the Choir Invisible is, “Watch your step, Ace.” The premium cabler didn’t post his death scene online, but here is a look at the Wrights before everything went wrong.

And National Geographic’s Genius followed Albert Einstein right up to his hospital demise, so Geoffrey Rush technically makes three, though we all knew how that one ended.

If the trend holds next year, expect to see at least a few actors from Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks grabbing for Emmy’s bloody attention.

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