Adam Scott in 'Severance'

‘Severance’ Proves Yet Again That Adam Scott Is One of Our Best Actors

Let me start by saying I am biased, mainly because I have a cat named after one of his characters (Benjamin “Benji” Wyatt the cat is the love of my life), but Severance proved to audiences everywhere what we already knew: Adam Scott is one of the best actors out there, not just in his television roles but in everything he does.

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The TV veteran has been around for decades, appearing in shows like Boy Meets World (as Griff Hawkins) back in 1995, and continuing with roles in Veronica Mars and beyond, before ending up as our television husband in one role or another. I say “one role or another” because Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation is not the only romantic lead that Scott has played that fans have fallen for. We love Henry Pollard from Party Down, or even Ed in Big Little Lies, and with each new role, we’re shown just how varied Scott’s performances can be for these characters.

And Mark Scout from Apple TV+’s Severance is both a marriage of all those characters and something completely new and different for Scott—which makes sense if you’ve watched the series. It follows Mark through his work at Lumon, a company that employs the “Severance” program to split their employees’ memories in two: one set for work (with no memory of the outside world), and one for home.

Mark’s “innie”—the version of him that only knows his life on the job—is a character that feels like all of Adam Scott’s previous roles mashed together. A man dedicated to his job who can be a bit of an asshole from time to time but who also cares about his employees? That could be any of the roles we’ve seen thus far. But then, Mark’s “outie”—his original self, who has no idea what he does at work—is a change for Scott as an actor, and for us as fans of his work.

Mark’s growth in Severance

Mark’s outside life is one filled with sadness. He is missing his wife after her death, he’s alone, and he’s trying to justify the work that he does with Lumon. And Scott plays this profound sadness in a way that isn’t funny, like the sadness that his previous characters like Henry and Ben exhibit. Mark’s upset with his life and his loneliness is so rooted in why his character is even “severed” at Lumon that it is heartbreaking to watch.

And again, it is unlike any of Scott’s previous characters. I’ve always known he was a great actor; he’s one of my favorites, but watching him in Severance is like watching someone I always knew could do it finally find a place where others saw him in the same light. And I’m not alone. There are plenty of us out there who love Adam Scott, but we all do probably feel a little smug.

One of the moments in this show that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the series comes in the last few moments of the season. So, let’s talk about the finale.

**Spoilers for the finale of Severance lie ahead.**

Adam Scott going into work in Severance
(Apple TV+)

I haven’t stopped thinking about Mark finding out about his wife being alive. It’s revealed to the audience before Mark knows, and the weight of knowing while he doesn’t weighs heavily on the audience, but seeing Mark’s “innie” (who broke into his outside life thanks to the help of Dylan, played by Zach Cherry) rush to try to tell his sister that his wife is alive? That pain in his voice and the fight to make it in time? That, for me, was Adam Scott’s Emmy moment.

What this show did was just give me more proof to show everyone that Adam Scott is the best. He’s always bringing us characters we want to know more about, whether it’s Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation, Derek in Step Brothers, or now Mark in Severance. We are invested in his work and these men he’s bringing to life, and now I can’t wait for season 2 (and hopefully for Adam Scott to get the award recognition he deserves for this season).

(image: Apple TV+)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.