When did NBC become my favorite channel? I’ll admit I was skeptical when the American version of The Office began, but from perhaps the second or third episode when they stopped relying on jokes from the British version so much, it became my favorite show on television bar none. (I’m so much of a fan that I’m MySpace friends with Pam and Angela, and I addictively read their online blogs about the on-set antics). My Thursday night belongs to Comedy Night Done Right, and I look forward all week to Earl, The Office, Scrubs, and 30 Rock.
But Thursdays aren’t the only reason that I love NBC. Tuesday night belongs to my favorite television drama.
That’s right, bellas – I’m a bonafide Law & Order SVU junkie. I’m pretty sure that I first turned to the show as a recovering Oz addict, seeking a Chris Meloni fix. (Seriously, wasn’t he one of the hottest guys on that show, or what?)
But Law and Order SVU sucked me into the storyline like no other Law and Order series has.
I just love the cast – Mariska Hargitay is fearless and real, Meloni is noble yet vulnerable, Ice-T and Richard Belzer can always be counted on for an awesome one-liner and some crucial evidence mysteriously uncovered in the other room. And then there’s Tamara Tunie as Dr. Melinda Warner, the medical examiner with a heart of gold and an eye for detail.
She can usually be found standing next to a flayed corpse, explaining the victim’s apparent cause of death to Detectives Benson and Stabler. Apparently her expertise comes from a lifetime of experience — her mother was a mortician, her father worked as an undertaker, and she was raised in a funeral home.
In earlier episodes Dr. Warner mostly wore her hair straight and scraped back in a professional ponytail or bun, but these days she’s been rocking the curls and her locks are some of the most gorgeous on television.
I’m not a soap opera watcher, so I had no idea that Tamara Tunie does double duty on both SVU and As The World Turns. She’s been nominated twice for the NAACP Image Award as Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series. She is considered one of the most capable actresses in the biz, and according to this 2005 Ebony article,Â she is one of today’s busiest actresses.
On Broadway she has acted opposite Denzel Washington in a production of Julius Ceasar, and shared the stage with Lena Horne to perform in The Lady and Her Music. It appears that her last name isn’t a misnomer – Tamara can carry a tune! She appears on this benefit performance Dreamgirls in Concert CD and holds her own alongside the likes of Heather Headley and Audra McDonald.
I’ve never heard her sing, but apparently I’ve seen her act before — she costarred along Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves in The Devil’s Advocate, made appearances on Sex and the City and 24, and was the narrator of Eve’s Bayou.
She’s been with the cast of Law and Order SVU since 2000, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t leave. There’s no sign of the show being cancelled anytime soon, so here’s hoping we get to see more of Dr. Warner repping for brainy, beautiful, curly-haired chicks every Tuesday night.
Congrats, Tamara! You’re Afrobella of the Week!