Tag Archives: Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Titus Welliver

15 Jul

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

It’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these, but I was raised out of my stupor by a true TV that-guy, the wonderfully-named Titus Welliver.  I had been discussing Welliver with a friend recently, and then, upon watching the first episode of The Good Wife, saw that he popped up again.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Inspiration?  Certainly.  Let’s pay the good Mr. Welliver the respect he deserves with a true Ivanek tribute.

Welliver, born in 1961, made his first TV appearance in 1990 with a role in TV movie The Lost Capone and in an episode of Matlock.  He then appeared in episodes of L.A. Law, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Commish, and Tales from the Crypt, along with TV movies An American Story and One Woman’s Courage.  Welliver then guest starred in X-Files episode “Darkness Falls,” as an ecoterrorist who, along with loggers, tries to avoid a killer swarm of green insects which escaped when an extremely old tree was cut down.  Welliver is dead by the end of the episode.  He appeared in episodes of New York Undercover, Kindred: The Embraced, and High Incident, as well as HBO TV movie Blind Justice, before appearing in three episodes of Murder One.  He followed this with episodes of Nash Bridges, Spy Game, The Practice, and TV movies Rough Riders and The Day Lincoln Was Shot.  In 1995, he was introduced to Steven Bochco with a recurring role in eight episodes of NYPD Blue as Dr. Mondzac.

Bochco would give him his first shot at a starring role in 1997.  He played Officer Jack Lowery in the one season of Bochco cop show Brooklyn South, which had the distinction of airing the first TV-M rated episode ever.  His character, as Wikipedia describes, was, “a tough street cop coping with personal demons which included his selfish and nagging wife, Yvonne, who died early in the season,” After the show was cancelled, Welliver finished out the decade appearing in episodes of Total Recall: The Series (doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry), Star Trek: Voyager, and Touched by an Angel, as well as in TV movie Mind Prey.

He got a couple of quick starring chances early in the next decade, as a regular on eight episode Ed O’Neill starrer Big Apple, and as second season character in what I-can’t-believe-lasted-two seasons-since-I-don’t-remember-it-at-all dramedy That’s Life, which starred Paul Sorvino, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Dillon and Debi Mazar.  Before his next big role, he appeared in episodes of UC: Undercover, Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Twilight Zone, Hack, and in mini-series Blonde about Marilyn Monroe, as Joe DiMaggio.  He picked up his next major role in 2004 in David Milch’s Deadwood.  His role is not extremely major, but he plays Silas Adams, one of villainous Al Swearengen’s primary and smartest henchmen.  He appears in the majority of the episodes of the show.  He has a rivalry with fellow henchman Dan Dority, but saves Dan’s life from a Chinese man with a knife at the end of the second season, allowing them to reconsider their relationship.

The mid-2000s were a nomadic period for Welliver.  He appeared in episodes of Law & Order, Numb3rs, Kidnapped, Jericho, NCIS, Shark, Life, Prison Break, Monk, Raising the Bar, Kings, and Supernatural and TV movies Danny Fricke and True Blue.  He next played a small but crucial role in Lost as The Man in Black, one of the primary antagonists of the series.  Although Welliver only appeared in three episodes as the character, the role was a major one.  I’m not even going to try to explain the entire Lost Man in Black mythology because it makes no sense and I don’t understand it, but apparently he’s the representation of evil who needs to be kept on the island and he’s also the smoke monster and he also can appear as dead people like John Locke.  Jack kills him at the end after Desmond makes him mortal by pulling some plug in the heart of the island.  Sure, why not.

Welliver was the primary antagonist of the third season of motorcycle gang show Sons of Anarchy.  He played IRA kingpin gone rogue Jimmy O’Phelan.  He’s originally in charge of selling guns to the Sons, and has a complicated history with them, having kicked SAMCRO member Chibs out of the IRA and stolen his wife and daughter.  It turns out that he’s trying to screw over SAMCRO and the rest of the Real IRA.

In 2009, he also began his other major recurring role as new Cook County State’s Attorney in The Good Wife after titular good wife Julianna Margulies’ husband was forced to resign.  He appeared in 16 episodes in the first two seasons.  He’s still looking for a new longer-term home, but since those two shows, he’s appeared in The Closer, Law & Order: LA, Suits, TV movies Awakening and Good Morning, Killer, an episode of Grimm, and in the pilot episode and two others of Fox’s Touch.

Welliver’s TV work is diverse and prolific, and we induct him today into the Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Enrico Colantoni

21 Dec

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

For one reason or another, Canadians seem to be regulars in this section and Colantoni is another.  Born in Toronto in 1963, his first two roles were in 1987 in single episodes of Canadian series Night Heat and Friday the 13th.  After that, there was a seven year gap before he worked again.  In 1994, he appeared in an episode of Law & Order, an episode of New York Undercover, and two episodes of NYPD Blue.  He then got a break as a main cast member of two season NBC sitcom Hope and Gloria.  Hope and Gloria are two Pittsburgh friends played by Jessica Lundy and Cynthia Stevenson who work as TV talk show producer and a hairdresser respectively.  Alan Thicke and Taylor Negron also co-star.  Colantoni plays Gloria’s ex-husband Louis.

In 1997, he got one of his two biggest roles to date, as photographer Elliot DiMauro on NBC seven season sitcom Just Shoot Me!  DiMauro frequently dates models and finds out that fellow main character Nina was once the driver in a hit and run that ended an engagement of his.  He has a brother played by David Cross.  He dated main character Maya for some time, and the two were briefly engaged.  While Just Shoot Me aired, he appeared in the late ‘90s with TV movies Cloned and The Member of the Wedding and in an episode of Life’s Work.

He began the next decade with episodes of 3rd Rock From the Sun and The Outer Limits and by playing Elia Kazan in TV movie James Dean.  He was in TV movie Expert Witness, the pilot episode of Whoopi and had a voice role in two episodes of Justice League.  He was in episodes of Stargate SG-1, Century City, Monk, and in two of Kim Possible.

In 2004, he got the second of his two biggest roles.  He starred in all three seasons of Veronica Mars, as Keith Mars, protective father, former sheriff and private investigator.  Keith was one of only two characters, along with Veronica, to appear in every episode of the show.  Keith’s suspicions that Lily Kane’s father was responsible for her murder led to him being recalled from his sheriff position and to his daughter be exiled from her circle of friends.  He runs for sheriff twice in the show, early in the second season, when he loses, and at the end of the third season, for which the outcome is never learned.  Keith briefly dated a married client, portrayed by his former Just Shoot Me! co-star Laura San Giacomo.

After Veronica Mars, he appeared in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Numb3rs, and Brothers & Sisters.  He was in Canadian miniseries ZOS: Zone of Separation, about the enforcement of a UN ceasefire in a southeastern Europe town.  He has appeared for four seasons in Canadian police drama Flashpoint, which airs in the US on Ion, as Sergeant Greg Parker.  He is the leader of the Strategic Response Unit, which is his life, and his specialty is as a crisis negotiator.

He guest starred in Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas’ second series Party Down.  He was in an episode of Bones, and portrayed J. Edgar Hoover in the miniseries The Kennedys with Greg Kinnear and Kaite Holmes.  Most recently, he appeared in two episodes of Person of Interest, and it seems likely he’ll appear in more as killer evil crime boss Elias.  He has many members of the NYPD in his pocket and initially hid, pretending to be a high school teacher in Brooklyn.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Julie Bowen

14 Dec

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

This week’s honoree Julie Bowen has made a living in television for more than fifteen years, with her first spot in an episode of soap opera Loving in 1992.  She followed that up with appearances in Lifestories: Families in Crisis, Class of ’96, and Acapulco H.E.A.T., and TV movies Runaway Daughters and Where Are My Children? over the next two years.  Bowen next co-starred in the seven episode James Brolin action-adventure series Extreme.  Extreme followed ABC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XXIX in 1995, and the series flopped so badly that there was a four year hiatus before another network was willing to launch a show after the Super Bowl, with Family Guy in 1999.  She appeared on episodes of Party of Five and Strange Luck before getting her next main cast role.  This was on the extremely short-lived WB series Three, which had a Mod Squad like premise of three criminals being used for their special abilities to help out some sort of secret agency.  Three is so forgotten that it’s wikipedia page incorrectly writes Bowen’s name as “Julie Bowman” and imdb oddly claims she was only in two episodes.  I remember the show well, however, because I knew two of the only people on the planet who watched the show and my friend and I would constantly make fun of them for it in ways we thought were never-endingly hilarious (How many people watched the show?  Three.  What was the IQ of the writers?  Three.  What was the production budget?  Three dollars.  You get the idea.  This could go on for a lot longer than you might imagine).

That same year Bowen showed up in nine episodes of ER as Roxanne Please, an insurance salesman, who is initially a patient, and later girlfriend of Dr. John Carter, played by Noah Wyle.  In 1999, she starred in TV movie The Last Man on the Planet Earth.  The premise of the movie was that a biological weapon which targets only men is unleashed, killing most of the men in the world.  Realizing the world is better off without them, women outlaw all men.  Years later, Bowen portrays a young scientist who uses her knowledge of genetics to create a man with his tendency for violence removed, ostensibly to have sex with.  She is discovered, and soon both her and her created man are on the run from the government.  He dies at the end, but not before they have sex, and Bowen is pregnant with a son.

Her next jobs were in two episodes of Lifetime series Oh Baby and in one of Dawson’s Creek.  She got her next starring role in quirky four season dramady Ed, which starred Tom Cavanagh as a New York lawyer who went back to his hometown in Ohio after being fired and purchased a bowling alley.  He comes back and attempts to win over his old high school crush, Carol Vessey, played by Bowen, who has become an English teacher.  After four seasons of back and forth, they finally get married in the final episode of the series.

She voiced DC superhero Arisia in two episodes of the Justice League cartoon.  She was in four episodes of one season John Stamos comedy Jake in Progress.  She appeared in five episodes over the series run of Lost as Jack’s ex-wife Sarah.  After she was in a car crash, Jack performed surgery on her and helped her miraculous recovery along, falling in love with her at the same time.  Eventually she cheats on him and they break up, in a number of tedious flashback sequences overemphasizing Jack’s need to help others even when they don’t want it.

Bowen was a series regular in Boston Legal seasons 2 and 3 as Denise Bauer.  Bauer is an up-and-coming young lawyer who is divorced by her husband, who demands alimony payments.  She wants desperately to make partner, but is unable to do so.  Eventually in season three she becomes pregnant by fellow employee Brad Chase.  Bowen appears in eight episodes of season four of Weeds as cheese shop owner Lisa Ferris.  She has a relationship with Silas, and the two of them grow and sell marijuana out of her shop.

She was in an episode of Monk and one of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated before getting her current role, which will likely be her biggest, if it isn’t already.  She stars as Claire Dunphy in ABC comedy hit Modern Family.  Claire is the wife of Phil, the daughter of Jay, and the mother of Haley, Alex and Luke.  Claire is a perfectionist and gets irritated with her husband and children frequently, but loves them and gives parenting advice to her brother.  Bowen won an Emmy award for her portrayal.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Alan Dale

7 Dec

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Alan Dale didn’t get his start in American television until well into the ‘90s, but he has spent the last decade making a living as an older powerful rich white guy, much in the Malcolm McDowell mode.

Born in New Zealand, Dale got his start in Australian soap The Young Doctors as Dr. John Forrest, a role he played for almost four years, from 1979 to 1983.  He then graduated to the granddaddy of Australian soap operas, Neighbours, which has been the breeding ground for popular Aussies from Kylie Minogue to Natalie Imbruglia to Guy Pearce.  He played the role of Jim Robinson for eight years, from the inception of the role in 1985 until 1993, when failed contract negotiations resulted in him being off the show and his character being killed off on screen.  Jim was the powerful and wealthy (watch the theme develop) family patriarch who loves cars and his children.  He’s still best known for his Neighbours work down under and in the UK.

He then plied his trade in Australia for a couple more years, guest spotting in Janus, Frontline, and Blue Heelers and in a couple of American shows which filmed in Australia such as Time Trax and Space: Above and Beyond.  He also recurred in Aussie police show State Coroner.

United States television finally took an interest in him in the late ‘90s.  He was first in Muriel Hemingway TV movie First Daughter.  Once the new millennium hit, the roles came fast and furious.  He recurred in four episodes of ER as South African Al Patterson, which was his first big American break.  He was then in episodes of The Lone Gunmen and Philly and three of The X-Files as “Toothpick Man.”  His character was a high-ranking FBI agent who was a super soldier and also a judge in Mulder’s military trial.  He was in an episode of American Dreams and then two of The Practice, two of JAG, and two of The West Wing as Mitch Bryce, the Secretary of Commerce in the Bartlett administration.  He was in a CSI:Miami, TV movie Rent Control, and a Crossing Jordan.

He appeared in eight episodes of 24 as Vice President James Prescott.  In the second season, Prescott believed the president should authorize an attack on a Middle Eastern nation he thought responsible for a failed nuclear strike in Los Angeles.  Prescott and Mike Novick conspired to get the 25th amendment invoked to take Presidnet Palmer out of power, and Prescott takes control, only to give it up when he learns the evidence about the failed nuclear strike was fabricated.  He took power again when the President was injured in an assassination attempt.

Next, he was a main cast member in The O.C.  He played Caleb Nichol during the first and second seasons.  Nichol was a wealthy and powerful businessman who owned real estate company The Newport Group.  He was known for unethical business practices and treated his daughter Kristen harshly even though he appeared to have genuine affection for her.  He married Julie Cooper, discovered an illegitimate daughter and eventually died of a heart attack.  Later he was found to have been bankrupt.

He appeared in seven episodes of NCIS as NCIS director Tom Morrow, reprising his role from JAG.  He left within the show to become Deputy Director of Homeland Security.  He was in three episodes of E-Ring.  He was a main cast member of Ugly Betty for the first two seasons.  He portrayed Bradford Meade, the rich and powerful publishing titan behind the fashion magazine at which Betty works, MODE.  He puts his son in charge of the magazine after the previous editor died, and hires Betty.  Apparently Ugly Betty is a far far more insane show than I had realized, and I can’t even begin to sum out Bradford’s role in just two seasons except that he learned that at least two people he thought were dead were alive, including his son who was now his daughter, and he was seduced, using his foot fetish, into only marrying someone who wanted him for control of the magazine.  He died of a heart attack eventually (reading about his character, I’ve read more about Ugly Betty than I have in my life and I want to repeat that I can’t believe how insane it is).

He was in episodes of British shows Torchwood and Midnight Man and six of Aussie show Sea Patrol.  In Lost, he played the important recurring role of Charles Widmore as a wealthy and powerful businessman who was a former Other and was Penny’s father.  He is Ben Linus’s key rival, and was leader of the Others before him.  Eventually exiled from the island, he desperately wants back and eventually finds the island and sends a team to investigate and take it back.  Ben shoots and kills him after he gives information to the Man in Black.  Yeah, I don’t really understand the last season of Lost either.

He appeared in Flight of the Conchords as the Australian ambassador (ironically, as Dale is a kiwi) and mocks Murray continuously.  In five episodes of Entourage, Dale plays Warner Bros. studio head John Ellis.  Ellis offers Ari Gold the job of studio head once, which he turns down but recommends Dana Gordon for, and later offers Ari the job of succeeding him when he retires.  He was in single episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Important Things with Demetri Martin, Burn Notice and Californication.  He was three episodes of Undercovers.  He appeared in two of The Killing as mayoral candidate aide Gwen Eaton’s (previous Ivanek honoree Kristin Lehman) father Senator Eaton.  Most recently he appeared in a Person of Interest and as King George in an episode of Once Upon a Time.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Julie Benz

30 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Not yet 40, Benz has already compiled an impressive career on television.  Her first role was in brief two season show Hi Honey, I’m Home! in 1991, whose first season aired during ABC’s TGIF block, and which had a concept far more interesting than most failed sitcoms.  The sitcom was about a family composed of fifties TV archetypal sitcom characters rescued from cancelled shows, who are now living in the real world.  Benz played popular daughter character Babs Nielsen and was the only actor from the show to experience any significant later success.  Next, Benz guest starred in a Married with Children episode as a girl who strangely wanted to lose her virginity to Bud.  In the mid-90s she participated in a number of television movies, including Hearts Adrift, Crosstown Traffic, Empire, The Barefoot Executive (as “Sexy Woman”), Veronica’s Video, and A Walton Easter.  She appeared in episodes of Hang Time, High Tide, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, Diagnosis Murder, The Single Guy, Sliders, The Big Easy, and Fame L.A.

She had a recurring role in the short-lived Ask Harriet, about a male sports journalist who pretends to be a woman in order to write an advice column (previously mentioned in the Willie Garson column). Around this time, in 1997, she also got one of her biggest roles as Darla, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Vampire Darla was intended to be a single episode character, but her role was expanded greatly.  Darla was one of the primary antagonists of the first season, as the main henchman to The Master, and died in the seventh episode, when it was revealed that she had a long-term relationship as partner in crime and lover as well as maker of Angel.  She rose from the dead in the last episode of the first season of Angel Season 1 as a human as part of evil law firm Wolfram and Hart’s plan to turn Angel evil again.  The plan didn’t work, but they turn Darla back into a vampire, and she and Angel fight before she eventually becomes pregnant with Angel’s baby, and kills herself, leaving the baby alive.  Over the course of her role as Darla, she appeared in TV movies Good Guys/Bad Guys, Satan’s School for Girls (another sign TV movies have the best names), and The Long Shot and in episodes of The King of Queens, Conrad Bloom, Glory Days and She Spies and in TV miniseries Taken.

Benz was a recurring character in the first season of Roswell as FBI agent Kathleen Topolski and she was a main cast member in one season CBS show Payne, starring John Larroquette and based on Fawlty Towers, moved to California.  She continued her TV work in the mid-00s, with TV movies Lackawanna Blues, Locusts: The 8th Plague, Circle of Friends, Held Hostage, and Uncorked.  She was in episodes of NCIS, Oliver Beene, Supernatural, CSI:Miami, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Law & Order:  In 2006, she got her biggest role to date as Rita Bennett in Dexter.


Rita is serial killer killer Dexter Morgan’s boyfriend at the beginning of Dexter.  He feels damaged and thinks she is a good match for his psychological baggage because she suffered serious emotional trauma from sexual and physical abuse from her ex-husband Paul.  Paul returns and attempts to reassert his place in her life but Dexter frames him and has him sent back to prison.  Eventually the relationship between Dexter and Rita becomes more serious as she is able to get over some of her issues, and they get married and have a child, Harrison.  Shockingly, in the fourth season finale, Rita is murdered by the trinity killer.


In 2010, Benz had a recurring role in five episodes of Desperate Housewives.  She plays Robin Gallagher, a former stripper, who wants to be a teacher.  She initially stays with Susan and Mike but moves in with Dana Delany’s Katherine Mayfair.  Later, it is revealed that she is a lesbian, and she and Mayfair begin an affair, eventually leaving Wisteria Lane together.  In 2010, she starred in ABC’s No Ordinary Family, about a family who gains super powers after being involved in a plane crash.  Benz, married to Michael Chiklis, is the mother of the family and gains the power of super speed.  Though heavily promoted, the series was cancelled after one season.  She was in an episode of Royal Pains in 2011 and can now be seen as a main cast member in CBS’s A Gifted Man, starring Patrick Wilson. Wilson is a talented but selfish surgeon who now interacts with the ghost of his ex-wife.  Benz plays his sister, a single mother who has trouble taking care of her unruly teenage son.  She’ll also be appearing in TNT TV movie Ricochet this fall based on a novel by Sandra Brown.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Geoff Pierson

23 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Today we spotlight Geoff Pierson, who got his start in the 1980s, watched his career progress in the ’90s and who has been active as ever in the ’00s.

Pierson’s first role was in 1980 TV movie The Mating Season.  He then appeared in eight episodes of Texas, a daytime soap which existed only in the early 80s and 15 episodes of soap opera Ryan’s Hope as Frank Ryan, a district attorney.  He was just dipping his toe into the television waters in the 1980s, which he finished out with appearances in The Equalizer, Search for Tomorrow, Married with Children, Kate & Allie and Days of Our Lives, and in TV movies Necessary Parties and Mutts.

The ‘90s began with more bit roles, including one episode stints in Alien Nation, Against the Law, Another World, The Adventures of Pete & Pete and New York Undercover.  He was in two very early Law & Order episodes, two of Party of Five, and in TV movie Murder in Black and White as “Father with Boat.”  The rest of the ‘90s were taken up by his two biggest roles.  In 1994, he began a recurring role in Brett Butler’s Grace Under Fire, appearing in 30 episodes over the course of the show’s five season run as Grace’s ex-husband Jimmy.  Jimmy was alternately a trouble-maker alcoholic and a clean romantic intent on winning Grace back, and while that didn’t happen he managed to befriend Grace and deal amicably with their kids.  A year after Grace Under Fire began, Pierson began starring in WB’s Unhappily Ever After, a show about a dysfunctional family which lasted for five seasons.  Originally intended to showcase the mother, portrayed by Stephanie Hodge, within a few episodes the show was changed to focus on Pierson’s father character, Jack Malloy, who was a schizophrenic alcoholic depressive who frequently interacted with a talking rabbit, Mr. Floppy (voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait) who only he could see.  The talking rabbit was one of the only two things I knew about Unhappily Ever After, along with Nikki Cox, who played daughter Tiffany and became the breakout character who took the lead along with Pierson.  The other kids were played by Kevin Connolly, who went on to play Eric in Entourage, and Justin Berfield who later played Reese in Malcolm in the Middle.

After Unhappily Ever After ended, he appeared in episodes of Cosby, The Divison, Becker, three of Nash Bridges, two of Popular, and one of Friends.  He was in two of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and then appeared as a regular in the short-lived That ‘80s Show as R.T. Howard, the father of two of the other main characters, who owned “Videx” a small company which sells personal fitness equipment.  His son is portrayed by Glenn Howerton, now best known as Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  The show lasted 13 episodes.  After its failure, he was in episodes of The District, Touched by an Angel, The O’Keefe’s, and The Drew Carey Show.  In three episodes of The West Wing, he played Senate Minority Leader Wendell Tripplehorn, who briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination before withdrawing.  He appeared in Comedy Central original movie Windy City Heat and TV movie Deal and episodes of Monk, NYPD Blue, and Eyes.

He was in 18 episodes of 24 as President John Keeler.  In Season 3, he is approached to help blackmail President Palmer so that he would have an easy road to the presidency, and after Palmer withdraws, he is president at the start of Season 4.  His reign is short-lived as Air Force One is fired at while he is on it, killing many of the passengers,  He survives but is in critical condition, and Vice President Charles Logan takes over his duties.  It is never revealed if he died or was just too injured to serve again.  Next, he was in episodes of Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Numb3rs, and Medium.  He was in two episodes of Veronica Mars as Stewart Manning, Meg Manning’s father who was abusing Meg’s younger sister Grace.  He was in TV movies The Poseidon Adventure, The Valley of Light, and Sweet Nothing in My Ear.  He was in three episodes of Rodney, two of Life and one of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as a prison warden.

Around this time, he began his recurring role in Dexter as Deputy Chief Tom Matthews, showing up in 25 episodes.  Matthews is an officer who was best friends with Dexter’s father Harry Morgan and buried the fact that Harry’s death was a suicide.  He constantly battles with Maria LaGuerta, fighting over credit and blame, haranguing her over her affair with Angel, and being blackmailed by her to be promoted to captain in the most recent season.  Pierson has over the course of Dexter also appeared in episodes of The Mentalist, Better Off Ted, Fringe, In Plain Sight, Glory Daze and Castle.  He appeared in two episodes of Rules of Engagement as David Spade’s character’s wealthy father and so far in three episodes of Boardwalk Empire as Senator Walter Edge, based on a real life senator from New Jersey.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Michael Hyatt

9 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

For this category, Hyatt has a relatively short career, with her first appearance not being until 1998, but with over 35 titles in the thirteen yeas since then, she’s certainly a worthy entrant and one who will continue to build her resume.  We also have another cast member in The Wire, which is always a treat.

Her first role was in a Dharma and Greg episode in 1998, and her next was in an episode of Oz in 1999 in which she played inmate Hamid Khan’s wife, who suffers when Khan is put in a coma in the Oz boxing tournament by Cyrus O’Reilly (why they allow a boxing tourney in Oz I never understand).  She was in the pilot of Wonderland, an episode of Ally McBeal, and then in six episodes of The West Wing.  She portrayed Angela Blake, who had previously worked for Leo McGarry when he was Secretary of Labor and in Season 5 was hired to be Director of Legislative Affairs.  She played the wife of a man who drove himself to the funeral home to die there in Six Feet Under and appeared in episodes of Joan of Arcadia, Huff and 24.  She was in four separate episodes of Law & Order, each time as a different character, including as a defense attorney in season 15’s License to Kill.  She was in a two part episode of E-Ring and in a second season Veronica Mars episode where she plays a women’s studies professor.

Around this time period, she engaged in her biggest role to date as the villainous Brianna Barksdale in The Wire. Brianna is sister to Barksdale organization head Avon Barksdale, and mother to D’Angelo Barksdale.


Brianna plays a key role in the first season when she convinces D’Angelo, who had all but agreed to cooperate with the police in exchange for a plea bargain, to stand strong for the family and renege on his potential deal.  She makes her argument personal and promises D’Angelo, who now must take a long prison sentence, that he will be taken care of.  This begins the course of events which lead to D’Angelo’s death.  She is suspicious when McNulty tells her that D’Angelo was murdered rather than committed suicide, but eventually comes to believe it, and never gets on with Avon the same way again.


She was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and two of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  She was in ones of ER and Shark, and two of Smith, and three of Drive.  She starred in Spike TV’s one season The Kill Point, about a group of Marines who come home from abroad and execute a bank heist.  Hyatt plays the head of the SWAT team determined to save the hostages who are being held as the heist progresses.  She was then in episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Criminal Minds and Bones.  She was in TV movies Operating Instructions and a pilot which did not get picked up known only as Untitled Wyoming Project.  She appeared in two episodes of Brothers & Sisters and single episodes of Glee, Southland, Harry’s Law, Mad Love and House of Payne.  She most recently appeared in an extremely brief role in the first episode of this season of Dexter, as an admissions director for a pre-school, which gave me the inspiration to honor her here.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: James Rebhorn

2 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Known for playing WASP-y characters and authority figures, James Rebhorn is a character actor legend.  He’s spent thirty years acting in over 100 films and television shows, remarkably getting more busy as he’s gotten older.  Many words could be spilled on his fine film work, but we’ll concentration here on his television roles.

Rebhorn’s first role came in an episode of television show The Doctors in 1977.  He didn’t work for a couple of years, with his next role coming in an episode of Texasin 1981 and then in TV movies Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Libby (seriously a movie?) and Sessions.  He appeared in an episode of Guiding Light, as “Man on Phone” in TV movie “He’s Fired, She’s Hired” (I swear TV movies have the best names) and in ABC Weekend Special episode, “The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn.”  When TV mini-series ruled the world in the mid-80s, he appeared in small roles in Jeffrey Archer adaptation Kane and Abel and North and South.  He appeared in an episode of soap Search for Tomorrow and two episodes of Kate & Allie, Spenser: For Hire and The Equalizer.  He also appeared in TV movies Rockabye, A Deadly Business, and Kojak: The Price of Justice.  He finished the 1980s with roles in the Our Town episode of Great Performances, a role in ABC Afterschool Special “A Town’s Revenge” and in Kojak: Ariana (as a different character than in the previous Kojak).

He started the next decade with constant TV movie work as well with roles in kids classic Sarah, Plain and Tall, Plymouth, Dead or Alive: The Race for Gus Farace (Tony Danza played mobster Farace) and Kojak: Fatal Flaw (same role as in Kojak: Ariana).  He was in three episodes of Wiseguy, one Against the Law, and one I’ll Fly Away and yet more TV movies including Deadly Matrimony, J.F.K.: Reckless Youth, and Mistrial.  He was in episodes of The Adventures of Pete & Pete and The Wright Verdicts and TV miniseries The Buccaneers.  In the late 1990s, he worked in an episode of New York Undercover and in TV movie A Bright Shining Lie and in an episode of astronaut miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  He also had the notable role of playing the district attorney in the final episode of Seinfeld who prosecutes the four main characters for violating their duty to rescue by watching a fat man get carjacked.  Rebhorn calls as witnesses to the stand various characters who Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer offended over the course of the show.

As the ‘00s began, Rebhorn appeared in two episodes of Now & Again, two episodes of The Practice, in one episode of UC: Undercover and in TV movie Amy & Isabelle.  He was in six episodes of Third Watch, two of David Morse led Hack and in TV miniseries Reversible Errors based on a Scott Turow novel and also starring William H. Macy and Tom Selleck.  He was a main cast member in 2006’s controversial The Book of Daniel, in which Daniel, played by Aidan Quinn is a Reverend who is addicted to painkillers and sees hallucinations of Jesus.  Rebhorn plays Daniel’s father.  He appeared in Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Candles on Bay Street starring Alicia Silverstone, in an episode of the short-lived The Knights of Prosperity, and in Larry McMurtry novel adaptation miniseries Comanche Moon on CBS.  He was a recurring character in Law & Order most notable for playing defense attorney Charles Garnett in five episodes.  He also played a serial killer in second season episode “Vengeance” and a doctor who participated in a botched lethal injection in season 18 episode “Executioner.”

He was in one Canterbury’s Law, two Boston Legals, and one Royal Pains.  He portrayed Dr. Kaplan in two episodes of 30 Rock, a dentist at whose office Tiny Fey meets British Wesley played by Michael Sheen.  Rebhorn co-starred in one-season Comedy Central series Big Lake with Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell.  He currently has a recurring role in USA’s White Collar as Reese Hughes, Peter and Neal’s boss in the FBI’s White Collar division.  He also appeared in the most recent episode of Homeland as Claire Daines character Carrie Mathison’s father.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Willie Garson

26 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Willie Garson is a TV veteran’s veteran, having worked in the medium regularly for a quarter century.  Garson’s acting career began with appearances in 1986 TV movie The Deliberate Stranger and with guest spots that year in Family Ties, Cheers and You Again?  Over the next year, he appeared in TV movie The Leftovers, an episode of American Playhouse, an episode of My Two Dads, and in two episodes as two different characters in Newhart.  In 1989, he was busy, making appearances in Make a Living, Coach, Peter Gunn, and Chicken Soup.  Around this time, he also appeared in seven episodes of Mr. Belvedere as Carl who was the oldest son, Kevin’s, best friend.

He began the ‘90s with spots on Booker and thirtysomething and as well as Twin Peaks before appearing in three episodes of Quantum Leap, two as Lee Harvey Oswald, as Sam Beckett tries to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Over the next couple of years, he showed up in Moon Over Miami, L.A. Law, Flying Blind, A League of Their Own (the short-lived TV series based on the movie), Renegade and TV movies Daybreak, Black Sheep and Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice.  He appeared in two episodes of show-I-have-never-heard-of Pig Sty, before appearing in MadTV as Lee Harvey Oswald again and in episodes of Partners, Mad About You and Touched by an Angel and TV movie The Barefoot Executive.  Around this time, Garson appeared in the first of his two X-Files episodes.  He was a medical orderly in third season episode The Walk.

He continued the circuit the next year with episodes of VR.5, Caroline in the City, two of The Practice as D.A. Frank Shea, and two of Melrose Place.  He got his first main cast role in absolutely ridiculous one season comedy on Fox Ask Harriet that got five episodes before getting pulled.  I’m curious to read more about this, but in very short the show featured a sexist sports journalist who dresses in drag to get work as an advice columnist after being fired from his sports job.  Garson played a security guard in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and two different characters in two episodes of Ally McBeal.  He was in one Conrad Bloom and three Party of Fives.

He was in seven episodes of NYPD Blue as Henry Coffield, a loser and relative of Jimmy Smits’ Bobby Simone’s dead wife, and superintendent of the building that Simone inherits.  He was in a Friends, The One With the Girl Who Hits Joey, a Just Shoot Me, and an Early Edition and a Star Trek: Voyager.  He appeared in four episodes of Boy Meets World, including one as the minister who married Topanga and Cory.

He got his biggest role to date in 1998 as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City.  Carrie’s best friend outside of the other three women on the show, Blatch is the only one other than the four main characters to occasionally receive his own storylines.  He is a gay talent agent who has known Carrie for many years and in the second Sex and the City movie gets married.

While he was working on Sex and the City, he was still busy elsewhere.  He appeared in his second X-Files episode, The Goldberg Variation, this time as Henry Weems.  Weems is a man who is exceptionally lucky, several times evading mobsters through bizarre acts of chance, and having been the only person to survive an airline crash that killed twenty.  He is trying to use his luck to treat a sick boy in his apartment building.  He also showed up in episodes of City of Angels (again, TV series based on movie), something called Hollywood Off-Ramp, two of Level 9, and ones of Spin City and Going to California.  He continued in two episodes of Special Unit 2, two appearances in TV miniseries Taken, single episodes of Greetings from Tuscon, All About the Andersons, TV movie Harry’s Girl, and an appearance in the minorly infamous furries episode of CSI.

He was in a Yes, Dear, a The Division, a Monk, a Wild Card and a Las Vegas.  He appeared in three episodes of Stargate: SGI as Marin Lloyd, a human from a non-Earth planet who desserted from his planet’s military when they were losing a war against another species.  He felt guilty about it, but was drugged by his fellow survivors so that he wouldn’t make trouble.  Eventually he helped start a campy TV show based on the Stargate program called Wormhole X-Treme!

He got another shot as a main cast member in HBO’s one season John from Cincinnati from Deadwood creator David Milch as Meyer Dickstein a lawyer and surf fan.  He had a cameo in David Alan Grier Comedy Central program Chocolate News as well as in a Wizards of Waverly Place, a Pushing Daisies and a Medium.

This all led to his biggest role to date, co-starring inUSA’s very successful White Collar as Mozzie.  Mozzie is main character Neal Caffrey’s best friend and long-time associate, and helps the team in weekly cons and with his contacts in the criminal world, for information.  He is a conspiracy theorist and calls FBI Agent Peter Burke “Suit” and his wife “Mrs. Suit.”  White Collar has been renewed for a fourth season.

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Kristin Lehman

19 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Like Kari Matchett, who we profiled earlier, Kristin Lehman is a Canadian actress who grew up on some of the same Canadian TV shows before breaking into the American scene.  Her TV career began with an episode of Michael Chiklis series The Commish in 1995.  She appeared in four episodes of Canadian vampire drama Forever Knight next, and in single episodes of Canadian crime drama Due South and Canadian series F/X: The Series, based on the ‘80s movie of the same name.  She then showed up in six episodes of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, a sequel to ‘70s show Kung Fu, both starring David Carradine.

She acted in two separate episodes of The Outer Limits, and would go on to do two more later, and then in one episode of Canadian science fiction series PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (we’re leaning a lot about Canadian TV today – isn’t it cute that they have their own shows?).  After one Earth: Final Conflict and one Once A Thief, she moved onto American TV with a guest spot in fifth season X-Files episode “Kill Switch.”  In the episode, Lehman portrayed Esther Nain, a hacker with the alias of Invisigoth.  She works with Mulder and Scully to help stop an evil Artificial Intelligence which uses electronic devices everywhere to destroy its targets.  Lehman’s character is killed at the end, possibly helping to take out the evil AI in the process.

Lehman next co-starred in Canadian horror series Poltergeist: The Legaacy.  She appeared in two seasons.  She then co-starred in short-lived series Strange World, airing on ABC and created by Heroes creator Tim Kring and X-Files producer Howard Gordon about a military investigation into science and technology gone wrong.  She appeared in four Felicitys and co-starred in the extremely short-lived NBC series Go Fish starring Kieran Culkin as a high school student; Lehman played an English teacher.  She was in one UC: Undercover before getting a major recurring role on Judging Amy.  She was in 20 episodes as Dr. Lily Reddicker, a no-nonsense hospital chief of staff who takes a chance hiring Amy’s cousin.  She appeared in TV movie Verdict in Blood and an episode of the new Twilight Zone before getting another chance to star in TVTDOTN favorite Century City.  She played Lee May Bristol, a lawyer who was also part of a special project to allow certain genetically engineered humans, of which she was one, out into society.  She was in two episodes of Andromeda and one episode each of UPN Taye Diggs show Kevin Hill and Canadian comedy Puppets Who Kill.

She next co-starred in the nine episodes of one season ESPN original series Tilt, about the world of high-stakes poker playing.  She plays a woman known as “Miami” whose real name is Ellen and who is one of many in the show trying to take down big-time poker player and criminal Don “The Matador” Everest played by Michael Madsen.  The same year she played Francesca in G-Spot, a Canadian comedy series which aired on E! in the states.  She next co-starred in one season Fox drama Killer Instinct as Detective Danielle Carter, partner to Johnny Messner’s Detective Jack Hale who worked together to solve unusual crimes in San Francisco.  She was also in four TV movies around this time, Playing House, Burnt Toast, Damages and Rapid Fire, and then appeared in two Prison Break episodes in 2006.

She co-starred again in the short-lived Nathan Fillion Fox series Drive as Corina Wiles, partner to Fillion’s Alex Tully.  She appeared in Lifetime miniseries The Gathering with Peter Fonda, Peter Gallagher and Jamie Lynn Sigler.  She then took a couple of years off before showing up in one episode of Human Target and in her current role, co-starring in The Killing as Gwen Eaton, who is a close campaign advisor for Seattle mayoral candidate Darren Richmond and is sleeping with him at the same time leading to tension over the course of the campaign and the season.  She’ll be back in the role next season, though who knows if anyone will be watching after the last few episodes of The Killing’s first season.