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Why Milos Kirchoff From The Blacklist Looks So Familiar

With nearly a decade's worth of episodes under its crisp black fedora, NBC's breathless crime drama "The Blacklist" has been on the air longer than its creators might've anticipated. There are, naturally, those who think the series is already well past its prime (per Good Housekeeping) even as it gears up for an unexpected 10th season. Some even believe "The Blacklist" has jumped the shark since the show's shocking Season 8 finale. 

Still, "The Blacklist" soldiers on, with Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) continuing to dole out deeds both dubious and often quite noble to the dismay of his FBI partners and his long list of criminal cohorts. That has been the way of "The Blacklist" since the series' early days. While the cast of baddies who enter and exit Red's orbit from one week to the next remains as colorful as ever, longtime fans might argue many of the new big bads pale in comparison to some of the originals.

That includes the early villain Milos Kirchoff (aka "Berlin"), who wreaked havoc over the gang through much of the show's second season before Red finally got the better of him. Before that exit, many fans of "The Blacklist" were undoubtedly sure they'd seen the actor who played Kirchoff before, even if they couldn't quite place where. Here's why he looks so familiar.

Peter Stormare was the baddest of the many bad guys in Fargo

That actor's name is Peter Stormare. He originally hails from Sweden, but he's become one of Hollywood's great character actors over the past three decades. As it was, Stormare earned one of his first U.S. screen credits with a minor role opposite Robin Williams and Robert De Niro in the biographical drama "Awakenings." But it's safe to assume most American moviegoers took notice of the actor a few years later when Joel and Ethan Coen cast him in their Oscar-winning crime drama "Fargo."

Released in 1996, "Fargo" is based on the story of a mild-mannered but debt-ridden midwesterner Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), who hires a pair of nefarious characters to fake kidnap his wife Jean (Kristin Rudrüd) in hopes of netting a hefty ransom from her wealthy father, Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell). Only things go about as far from the plan as possible, and the fake kidnapping soon turns very real and deadly for everyone involved.

As one might expect, matters spiral spectacularly (and occasionally hilariously) out of control from there because they so often do in a Coen Bros. flick. Peter Stormare's turn as Gaear Grimsrud, the chain-smoking psychopath opposite Steve Buscemi's relentlessly chatty wanna-be tough guy Carl Showalter, is one of the film's legit highlights. And there's likely not a film lover alive who will ever forget how things went down between those two.

Stormare played the baddest bad guy of all in Constantine

As it happens, Peter Stormare was so brilliant playing a bad guy in "Fargo" he got himself a bit typecast as a criminal sort in Hollywood circles. As Stormare himself admitted in an interview on The Late Late Show with James Corden, he more or less leaned giddily into a career of playing villains, oddball Europeans, or some combination of both. And thanks to that profile-raising role in "Fargo," he was doing so in big-time productions like "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Armageddon," and "Minority Report."

The actor scored one of his most prominent villainous roles in 2005, however, when he signed on to play Satan himself in the big screen adaptation of DC Comics' "Constantine." That film found the great Keanu Reeves stepping into the title role of John Constantine, a condemned occultist who makes a deal with the archangel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) to extend his life in exchange for sending Earth-bound demons back to Hell. That all goes down much to the chagrin of Stormare's Lucifer Morningstar, who's locked in an eternal war with God for the soul of mankind.

Stormare admittedly doesn't have much screen time in "Constantine," but he more than makes the most of every moment, reportedly improvising many of his lines (per The AV Club) as the snarling ruler of Hell. In and of itself, that fact proves that typecasting isn't always a bad thing.        

American Gods found Stormare playing a mad, hammer-wielding god

One might think portraying the King of Hell would serve as the cherry on top of Peter Stormare's career in villainy, but the actor has continued to break bad on screens big and small in the years since. In 2017, he landed one of his juiciest, or bloodiest, roles when he signed on to play a bloodthirsty old Eastern European deity in Starz's "American Gods."

That series was, of course, based on the beloved fantasy novel from Neil Gaiman, which explored a world in which the old gods once worshipped, but now forgotten by humanity, eke out largely menial existences in the real world, with each seemingly waiting in vain to throw down against the new gods. And yes, Stormare's Czernobog is one of those displaced, battle-hungry old gods. If you've seen the show, you know the hammer-wielding brute he portrays is also among the fiercest of the old timers to appear in the series. 

That's in no small part thanks to the show-stopping work Stormare delivers in the role, with the actor barely containing the character's boiling bloodlust as he waxes poetic about the fine art of giving his enemies a good death. Stormare brought the same piss-and-vinegar fervor to every one of his seven appearances as Czernobog on "American Gods." And it was virtually impossible to look away from the screen.