Iconic Performance: Lost
If you've never seen Lost, I kind of just spoiled a minor part of it for you (something one of Michael Emerson's characters would probably do). Don't worry, I'll spoil it further. In Emerson's first appearance in Season 2 of the legendary ABC show, we're not sure whether he's friend or foe. At that point in Lost, the main characters have been stressing over The Others. The big question is whether this man, giving the name Henry Gale, is one of them (the episode is even called "One of Them").
Giving an acting performance that got him an Emmy, Emerson spends the entire episode convincing everyone — including us — that he's not a bad guy. When he finally reveals that he's the leader of The Others, Emerson spends the next five seasons showing us why he's the master at playing the evil, patient, soft-spoken, conflicted, genius.