By Michael Slezak
September 10, 2007 at 09:32 PM EDT

I’ve pitched her as the new Bionic Woman, as a sub for Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU, and as the leading lady in the TV movie of PopWatch: Comments Section, but apparently Ally Walker knew better all along. The actress, who’s only taken a handful of roles since leaving NBC’s Profiler back in 1999, returned to the airwaves last night as suburban mom Katie in HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me (get Karen Valby’s full TV Watch here) and her performance was downright revelatory. I can’t recall many recent instances of an actress (or actor) saying so much in so few words. From Walker’s luncheon scene opposite Sherry Stringfield — discussing how a mutual pal’s declining sex life led to divorce — to her heartbreaking therapy session opposite the equally effective Jane Alexander, Walker alternately conveyed fear, longing, desire, isolation, embarrassment, and anger all through the most subtle facial expressions. Thank goodness Walker hasn’t followed so many of her contemporaries into the murky waters of cosmetic surgery. After all, there’s far more beauty in the imperfection of human emotion than there is in the blank palette of one too many Botox shots — and Walker’s performance was achingly powerful evidence.

addCredit(“Tell Me You Love Me: Doug Hyun”)