Danielle Moné Truitt
Sgt. Ayanna Bell, Law & Order: Organized Crime
Confession time, here’s what I got: When it was announced that Chris Meloni was returning to the Law & Order multiverse I wasn’t really excited. I was just getting used to the fact that SVU was the only branch left on the tree (although the OG will be back on the air starting early 2022). Then I watched an episode and saw Truitt, and I knew I’d be watching every week. Goodness.
Dr. Lyn Malvo, New Amsterdam
Watching Turner build her resumé over the years has been a pleasure. The former attorney is now an in-demand actress, going from guest actor to series regular and now to recurring character on one of NBC’s biggest series. And while her character on New Amsterdam may be complicated (to say the least), her performance has made her an integral part of the series.
Tonya Edwards, Swagger
When watching Swagger, you may come for O’Shea or the basketball, but you’ll definitely stay for Jackson. There are many times that the casting of a main character’s spouse calls for them to be the wet blanket (or moral compass) of the relationship. That’s not this series, and it’s definitely not Jackson. She is very much the equal of her coaching spouse, and gives a performance that is nuanced and real.
Ida Watkins, Love Life
Fun fact: There’s nothing Johnson can do to mask her New Orleans accent. Just know that while watching Love Life and seeing her character, who’s from the midwest and resides in New York. However, the cadence can be overlooked due to her honest and hilarious portrayal of Ida, a well-constructed character that shoots straight (well, not straight but you know what I mean) and steals every scene in which she appears.
Watching Issa Rae be the straight person to her girlfriend counterparts is one of the most underrated parts of Insecure, allowing them to shine while sharing the spotlight with her. However, watching her be the straight person to the hilarious Taylor is another level of brilliance. And even though she plays second-in-command to Rae’s character, she is always the first thing you notice during any scene in which she appears, delivering lines and commanding attention.
I could write 23,000 words about why and how much I love Shandai (and one day I just might). She is clearly the brightest of all of the bright lights on Amazon Prime’s Harlem, displaying a charm and comedic timing that can’t ever be taught. It’s effortless and easy, like her afro and her smile. It’s a presence that is sorely missed when each episode ends. Yes, I might have a crush, but I definitely have an appreciation for everything Shandai brings to the table.