Carrie Preston (‘Elsbeth’) is coming for that Emmy bookend

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The Good Wife” introduced Carrie Preston‘s Elsbeth Tascioni back in 2010. She was so popular with fans that she also featured in the spin-off show “The Good Fight.” Now Preston and Elsbeth take center stage in the brand new spin-off “Elsbeth.”

CBS’ hit drama series follows Elsbeth as she carries out work as an unconventional attorney and helps the NYPD catch criminals with her astute observations. Preston was excellent in her guest role in “The Good Wife” (she actually won an Emmy for that performance, but more on that later) but she is even better here as the main course, as critics have noted.

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Ben Travers (Indie Wire) observed: “Preston knows the exact pitch at which to play Elsbeth. Never grating yet always pesky, her unrelenting positivity (and general relentlessness) would undoubtedly get old, fast, in real life. Cops and criminals alike are exhausted by her, but audiences can more easily appreciate her dogged demeanor because a) we know she’s on the right track, and b) she’s played by the affable Preston.”

Daniel Fienberg (The Hollywood Reporter) opined: “The character is a test of patience for everybody around her, but Preston is pretty great at managing a wild-eyed joy that perhaps hints at something diagnosable, without ever over-explaining the condition or circumstances that could shape somebody into an Elsbeth Tascioni… The performance is broad, but thoroughly broad-by-design — and, like the show’s narrative engine, deceptively versatile.”

Manuel Betancourt (The AV Club) explained: “Preston is able to make it clear that Elsbeth is a woman whose mind is swirling a mile a minute even as her patient, dry demeanor may suggest she’s often moving at half-speed. It’s a tightrope to walk, and Preston makes it all look effortless, as she’s done in a long career full of offbeat characters.”

As a result, Preston is in serious contention for an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Actress. Our current predicted nominees in this category are Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”), Imelda Staunton (“The Crown”), Emma Stone (“The Curse”), Anna Sawai (“Shögun”), Carrie Coon (“The Gilded Age”), and Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”). However, Preston is hot on the heels of these actresses and has a serious, serious chance of breaking into this lineup, not least because we already know that Emmy voters adore her as this character.

Preston won the 2013 Emmy for Best Drama Guest Actress for her turn as Elsbeth in “The Good Wife” before she added another nomination in the same category for the same show in 2016. TV academy voters love this character and admire what Preston is able to do in this role. Now that she has taken center stage, it would make perfect sense if Emmy voters flocked to support her once more in this meatier capacity. This wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, either, as plenty of actresses have been nominated in more prominent categories after earning bids in less-prominent categories.

Samira Wiley won this guest category in 2018 before going on to secure two bids for Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2020 and 2021 (she was also nominated in supporting in 2017). Sarah Snook was cited for Best Drama Supporting Actress twice (in 2020 and 2022) before winning Best Drama Actress in 2024 for “Succession.” Emilia Clarke reaped three Best Drama Supporting Actress nominations (in 2013, 2015, and 2016) before being nominated for Best Drama Actress in 2019 for “Game of Thrones.” If voters like the character and performance, they have shown they are more than willing to upgrade the performer in more prominent categories. Preston could follow suit.

The character will also appeal to Emmy voters as they love women who work in law or are part of legal proceedings. This type of role has led to many actresses landing nominations in this category, including Viola Davis (“How To Get Away with Murder”), Glenn Close (“Damages”), Kathy Bates (“Harry’s Law”), Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”), and Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”).

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