Steve Harris Steve Harris

Cheers to Friday Night Lights for putting a spotlight on Steve Harris.

The Emmy-nominated actor has been largely invisible on the small screen since wrapping his run as lawyer Eugene Young on The Practice in 2004. He's quietly reemerged on the superlative fourth season of FNL as Vernon Merriweather, an ex-high school football star who runs a local BBQ joint in Dillon, Tex.

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Harris has delivered achingly subtle work as Vernon's slowly warmed up to Coach Eric Taylor (Emmy nominee — yay! — Kyle Chandler), taken the troubled young QB Vince Howard (the remarkable Michael B. Jordan) under his wing and made peace with his estranged teen daughter, Jess (Jurnee Smollett, a face to watch). FNL's ensemble is so stellar — Madison Burge was also fantastic as a pregnant teen in last week's abortion-themed episode, "I Can't"—that Harris could easily be overlooked. But when an actor can convey such strength with so few words, attention must be paid.

Are you happy Friday Night Lights put Steve Harris back in the primetime game?

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