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Linus Roache

Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC

All hail Linus Roache's continued brilliance

Linus Roache is a genius. From King Ecbert in Vikings to Michael Cutter on Law & Order all the way back to the title role in RFK, he’s on a whole other level.

It’s very rare that there’s an actor who not only is an elite talent but who also contributes something new to the acting world as a whole. Roache isn’t just a brilliant performer; he’s an innovator. You can pick any role off of his resume, and you’ll find yourself thinking I can’t believe he did that. Followed immediately by, How does this guy only have one Golden Globe nomination?

For those of you who have yet to make his acquaintance, allow me to introduce you to an actor that you should be talking about.

I’ve rhapsodized in columns past about how perfect Roache was in Law & Order. It’s been eight years since he was introduced as Executive ADA Michael Cutter (as pictured above), and yet his performance still has as much draw as it did back then. The reason why is simple: Roache went all out.

Not only did he not color within the lines of the Law  & Order DA pattern, he wasn’t even on the page. You could see in every scene of each of his 63 episodes what a live wire he was. He decided to push the envelope, and that just happened to be what that character and that series needed.

But that’s what Roache does. He always finds a way to take a role someplace no one else would dare to go. He’s currently in his third season as King Ecbert on Vikings, and if you didn’t know, it’d be impossible to tell that this is the same guy from Law & Order.

The amount of passion he brought to Cutter has been turned into a ruthlessness and darkness that Ecbert lives in. He doesn’t have an off switch; he’s downright scary — and yet impossible to look away from as you’re ensnared by the strength of his personality. Unlike some other TV leaders, Ecbert is believable as King because of the force of Roache. Would you want to cross this?

Let’s go back even further. In 2002, Roache was tasked with portraying Robert F. Kennedy in the TV movie RFK. It was no small order to portray a member of one of America’s most well-known and revered families, especially during the crucial period between the death of his brother and his own assassination.

Roache stepped into RFK’s persona and nailed it, earning himself that Golden Globe nom. He lost to Albert Finney for The Gathering Storm — ironic because Roache had a costarring role in that movie — but the point was made.

His performance was one that captured Kennedy’s sense of public idealism yet also his private self-doubt. Through his willingness to dig in, we didn’t just see a famous last name; we met a man who just so happened to be Robert Kennedy.

That was 14 years ago, and Roache has continued to strike out in new directions and refine his craft with every new role he takes. Even when he’s in spots where it wouldn’t seem like he’d be able to do much different (remember his few scenes as Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins? Or his episode of The Blacklist?), he comes up with something that makes his character distinct.

It doesn’t matter what the job is — good guy or bad guy, modern-day lawyer or historical ruler, drama or comedy, TV or film — Roache is a wild card. And not only that, but he’s an intelligent kind of unpredictable. Even as he’s taking these chances, it’s apparent in the way he attacks them that he’s thought about it and completely committed to the path he’s chosen. He’s taking a risk because that’s what he wants to do and he never pulls the trigger halfway.

If there’s such a thing as shows that make us excited about TV, Roache is an actor who makes us excited about acting. It’s enthralling simply to watch him work, to see the choices that he makes and be inspired by them and challenged by seeing characters in ways we don’t expect. He has a tremendous screen presence that holds attention whenever he shows up, and has coupled that with a truly creative, seemingly fearless approach to his craft.

That’s why there should be more people talking about Linus Roache. He is definitely one of a kind. When Vikings resumes its fourth season this fall, he’ll do something else we never saw coming — and he’ll do it again the role after that and the role after that. And all of those roles will continue to stand the test of time, because there just isn’t another actor like him.

Linus Roache is a genius, and not only is he on a whole other level, he created the level. The rest of us are just going to have to go along for the ride.

Vikings returns later this year to History.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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