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Why Walter From Big Sky Looks So Familiar

Now well into its third season on the air, NBC's crime drama "Big Sky" has gone from being "that other Montana show" to a modest hit in its own right. While "Big Sky" certainly takes a few visual cues from its counterpart "Yellowstone," the two shows don't have much in common as the NBC drama is more of a proper detective series. And this detective tale follows sleuths Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) and Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunberry) as they solve crimes in the picaresque titular region.  

The first two seasons have seen them tracking and busting all manner of devious sorts, and the new season has already seen more of the same. Like every season of "Big Sky," the third has several new characters join in on the action. Among the new faces is the reclusive mountain man known as Walter. Though he's yet to factor too heavily in the narrative, the enigmatic Walter has a vital part to play in what's to come. And yes, there's a safe bet you recognize the actor who plays him. Here's why Walter from the cast of "Big Sky" looks so familiar. 

Nip/Tuck found Seth Gabel a very unstable young man

That actor's name is Seth Gabel, and he's been a regular presence on television for a couple of decades now. But fans of USA Network's early-2000s hit "Nip/Tuck" no doubt remember Gabel from his brief tenure. "Nip/Tuck" was one of the first small screen hits from super-producer Ryan Murphy. And upon its debut on FX in 2003, the show promptly became one of the channel's biggest original productions.

The series is centered on the often sordid lives of plastic surgeons Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) as they navigate their myriad professional and personal challenges. One of the more unsettling storylines from the series comes in Season 2 when Dr. McNamara hires life coach Ava Moore (Famke Janssen) to aid his wife Julia (Joely Richardson). Without getting into much detail, we'll say that Ava is not at all what she seems and proceeds to cause trouble for the McNamara clan.

So too, does her son Adrian, with whom she shares, shall we say, a less-than-healthy relationship. And yes, that was indeed young Gabel playing the fiery and deeply disturbed Adrian Moore. Though he only appeared in five episodes of the show, fans can surely agree Gabel more than left his mark on the series with a performance as nervy and unsettling as it was heartbreaking.

Gabel became a major player in both dimensions on Fringe

Seth Gabel followed that memorable turn on "Nip/Tuck" with equally impressive stints on ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" and Showtime's cult hit "The United States of Tara." In 2010, however, Gabel booked what he initially believed to b a guest spot on another cult hit, only for it to become one of his longest-running and arguably best-loved roles to date (per Collider). Said role began in earnest during the electrifying Season 2 finale of "Fringe," in which Gabel portrayed the alternate universe Fringe Division agent Lincoln Lee. 

Given how things went down in that episode, Gabel had good reason to think his "Fringe" post would be a one-and-done deal. However, the series producers had other ideas, and Lincoln Lee became a regular player in both universes. Like most of his co-stars — save for Joshua Jackson, obviously — Gabel also had the thrill of playing two dramatically different versions of the same character. And like his dual-role-playing cast mates, Gabel knocked both portrayals out of the park.

Salem found Gabel preaching fire and brimstone

Seth Gabel followed his unforgettable "Fringe" tenure with an impressive three-episode run as The Count on the CW's superhero hit "Arrow" in 2013. A year later, he was fronting WGN's 17th Century set supernatural drama "Salem." That series dramatized the infamous Salem witch trials, which found the puritanical Massachusetts town of title turning itself inside out in the late 1600s amid fears that witches had infiltrated their ranks. The ensuing witch hunt led to vengeful finger-pointing and dozens of sham trials and ultimately resulted in the execution of 19 people (per Smithsonian Magazine).

"Salem," naturally, played a little looser with the facts of the case. It was, after all, a serialized television drama. That drama did, however, feature many of the historical figures involved in the actual fervor of the day. One of them was a well-respected, Harvard-educated minister by the name of Cotton Mather who, though he believed in the existence and punishment of witches, was an outspoken opponent of specific evidence some courts used to convict and condemn those suspected (per Brittanica).

Then he was gravely conflicted in his own right; the Mather Gabel plays on "Salem" is a bit more of a fire and brimstone type. And those who've indulged in the series can attest that Gabel's grandstanding speeches in the pulpits and streets of the panic-besieged town were often the best part of the show. 

Genius found Gabel playing both a brilliant Swiss engineer, and a famous French poet

Cotton Mather is far from the last historical figure Seth Gabel has played on screen. He recently portrayed two more on the National Geographic original series "Genius." That biographical anthology delves into the worlds of some of history's greatest minds and talents, exploring Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, and Aretha Franklin so far.

Gabel made his first appearance on "Genius" in Season 1, portraying famed Swiss engineer Michele Besso who, apart from his lasting legacy in his field, was also best pals with Albert Einstein (played by Johnny Flynn and Geoffrey Rush, respectively). "Genius" is, of course, centered on Einstein's many feats, particularly his development of "The Theory of Relativity." However, Gabel's Besso is a regular presence in action, and the actor more than holds his own opposite his esteemed co-stars.

Season 2 of "Genius" followed the torrid and insanely productive life of legendary Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the elder version of whom was played by Antonio Banderas. Unfortunately, Gabel didn't share scenes with Banderas as his character, famed French poet and writer Guillaume Apollinaire. That means Gabel mostly worked with Alex Rich, who played the younger Picasso. Thankfully, the onscreen chemistry between those actors was palpable, to say the least, and resulted in some of the finest work of their respective careers.