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Why Detective Gordon Katsumoto From Magnum P.I. Looks So Familiar

"Magnum P.I." may be private eye Thomas Magnum's series to lead, but that doesn't mean that Detective Gordon Katsumoto can't steal the show whenever he pops up. While some longtime "Magnum P.I." fans can't stand the reboot series, the shifting rivals-to-allies dynamic between Katsumoto and Magnum (Jay Hernandez) is one of the more entertaining ways that the Hawaii-based crime drama has expanded upon its original counterpart. Katsumoto only made a select few minor appearances back in that iteration, whereas he's much more of a charming, sympathetic, and three-dimensional character here.

While Katsumoto was portrayed by prolific actor Clyde Kusatsu in the original "Magnum P.I." series, Tim Kang took over the role for the 2018 reboot. Kang has certainly made the role his own, helping Katsumoto become a key part of the core foundation for "Magnum P.I.," but some viewers may not be able to shake the feeling that they've seen the character's new face somewhere else before. As it happens, "Magnum P.I." is just one out of many notable projects from Kang's illustrious acting career across both TV and film.

The Sopranos (2002)

Ever heard of a little TV show called "The Sopranos?" Surprisingly, Tim Kang's very first notable TV credit was for this crime-drama juggernaut starring James Gandolfini as the larger-than-life New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano.

Kang guest starred for just one single installment of "The Sopranos," specifically Season 4, Episode 9. Titled "Whoever Did This," the episode starts off with the elderly Junior (Dominic Chianese) getting hospitalized after taking a nasty fall. The old man is rushed to the hospital, and the professional who gets put in charge of him is one Dr. Harrison Wong, played by none other than Kang himself. There's very few actors out there that could claim to have spoken to Tony Soprano in their very first TV credit, but Kang did just that. It would prove to be a fitting start to the actor's career, as he would go on to have intriguing appearances across a wide variety of genres and shows.

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Tim Kang's next big credit was on the silver screen, as the actor had a small appearance in the classic romance movie "Two Weeks Notice" starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. While it may not be considered one of the best romantic comedies of all time, there's still some fun to be had with it. Bullock portrays Lucy, a smart, no-nonsense attorney who finds herself working as an assistant for Grant's character, the narcissistic billionaire George. A flourishing romance ensues, as tends to happen in these flicks.

There's a sequence during the movie that comes after Lucy puts in her two weeks' notice (ha!) working for George. The lawyer attempts to find work at several other firms, but George repeatedly pulls strings to keep them from hiring her in the hope that she'll come back to work for him. If you look past the creepy power dynamic undertones at play here, you can see that Kang makes a very brief appearance. The actor portrays Paul, a representative for one of the firms that turns Lucy away due to George's weird scheme.

Two Law & Order shows (2003/2005)

Tim Kang holds the strange distinction of being a guest actor who appeared in the "Law & Order" universe more than once. With 1,000s of episodes spread across numerous shows, it's only natural that some actors would coincidentally recur in the massive police-slash-court procedural franchise, and that's exactly what happened to Kang in the 2000s. Between a single turn each in spin-offs "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," Kang ended up playing two completely separate doppelgänger characters in the shared continuity. 

Kang's first appearance came in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" as a guest star for Season 2, Episode 18, titled "Legion." In this episode, which centers upon the investigation of a father-son murder case, the actor appeared as a character known only as Murakami. Just two years later, fans would see Kang again in "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," Season 1, Episode 5, titled "Baby Boom." Here, the actor portrays a doctor named Liam Kelly. Could Murakami and Liam be related? Perhaps, but don't expect the series to be addressing this plot oddity anytime soon.

Monk (2007)

Jumping from crime classic to crime classic, Tim Kang got embroiled in some murder mystery shenanigans with an appearance on one of the best episodes of "Monk." The actor guest stars in Season 6, Episode 9 of the beloved detective comedy, titled "Mr. Monk Is Up All Night."

In the episode, Kang appears as William Lee, a supposed undercover policeman. When Adrian Monk's (Tony Shalhoub) insomnia causes him to venture out into the night, he witnesses Lee's apparent murder during a drug dealing bust. Of course, as so often occurs with the cases in "Monk," all is not how it initially appears. Upon further investigation, the police consultant soon discovers that Lee isn't an officer at all. In reality, the apparent crime was a staged ruse to get the drug buyer to pay hush money for witnessing a murder. Unfortunately, the buyer learns of the deception too, and he takes Lee out, for real this time.

It's an entertaining episode in its own right, but those who recognize Kang from his other work may get a little added burst of enjoyment from his role. The episode also happens to feature actor Donal Logue from "Gotham" stardom in an uncredited cameo as a con man named Gulley, because why not?

The Office (2007)

Tim Kang also made a brief appearance in one of the most legendary sitcoms of all time: "The Office." And yes, we're talking about the American version featuring Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and his eclectic band of paper company employees. The mockumentary-styled comedy features plenty of notable cameos throughout its run, including a certain guest character that has many "The Office" fans scratching their heads, but Kang's appearance is especially amusing.

Kang's single credit comes in Season 4, Episode 5, titled "Local Ad." He portrays a man named Koh, one of the two advertising consultants that have been hired by Dunder Mifflin to make an ad for the company. The professional is the unfortunate recipient of Michael's ire when the office boss learns that his Scranton branch will barely be featured at all in Koh's version of the ad. Michael proceeds to make his own ad for the company, but Dunder Mifflin still goes ahead with Koh's version when all is said and done.

While there's not much else to Kang's character on "The Office," it's worth noting that his name is actually a reference to a member of the show's creative team, Ryan Koh, as the Season 4 DVD commentary confirmed (via Dunderpedia). Koh wrote several episodes of the series, as well as the web miniseries "The Office: Kevin's Loan."

Rambo (2008)

Moving back from TV into movies, Tim Kang also has a major role in the Sylvester Stallone-led action flick "Rambo," though not the version that might first spring to your mind. The "Magnum P.I." star is part of the main cast for the fourth installment, "Rambo," which released in 2008 and followed the mega-confusing trend of giving film sequels the exact same name as the original ("The Thing," anyone?). The movie sees its titular hero getting pulled from retirement and forced back into his old gun-blazing ways after a group of missionaries are captured by a corrupt Burmese official.

Kang plays En-Joo, one out of a team of five mercenaries that accompany Rambo in his mission to save the hostages. His surprisingly jovial attitude brings a small piece of levity to the proceedings for a good portion of the movie, but he unfortunately doesn't make it out of the final battle alive. We hardly knew you, En-Joo.

The Mentalist (2008)

Tim Kang's first credit as a member of the main cast for a major TV show arrived with his longtime role in the CBS police drama "The Mentalist." The show focuses upon Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), a phony psychic gifted with extreme intelligence. After his family is murdered by a notorious serial killer, Jane becomes a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation to hunt down the evildoer and get his revenge.

Across all seven seasons of "The Mentalist," Tim Kang stars as Special Agent Kimball Cho, a member of Teresa Lisbon's (Robin Tunney) team and one of Jane's co-workers at the CBI. With experience from being an ex-soldier, Cho usually has a reserved and quiet demeanor in contrast to his peers. That doesn't stop him from getting his work done, however, as he works each and every case with impressive efficiency. As the series progresses, Cho opens up little-by-little, eventually welcoming his teammates as beloved friends.

Criminal Minds (2015)

In a complete 180 degree shift from his role in law enforcement in "The Mentalist," Tim Kang's next credit of note sees him on the wrong side of the law in yet another wildly popular CBS procedural series: "Criminal Minds."

Kang guest stars in a single episode of "Criminal Minds," appearing in Season 11, Episode 2, titled "The Witness." The actor portrays Charlie Senarak, a salesman who turns out to be a murderer...but actually isn't the true culprit of the episode. After confronting and accidentally killing the man his wife has been having an affair with, Senarak gets framed for a terrorist attack by the murder victim's half-brother. Between Senarak's own efforts and the prowess of the Behavioral Analysis Unit team, the true villain is brought to justice and the crisis is brought to an end. Of course, Senarak still killed someone, so he doesn't get off scot-free either. So it goes.

The Vampire Diaries (2015)

There was no shortage of vampire-related TV shows and movies during the late 2000s and early 2010s, spurred in large part by the craze surrounding the "Twilight" books and movies. Among the most popular of the bunch was The CW's "The Vampire Diaries," following a human named Elena (Nina Dobrev) who falls into a love triangle with two vampire brothers. Those who have seen the series may recall that Tim Kang portrayed the vampire-witch hybrid Oscar in several episodes throughout its run.

While actor Wing Liu held the part for the character's introduction in Season 6, the actor left "The Vampire Diaries" and Kang took over in Season 7. Oscar is originally loyal to his fellow Heretics, but Kang's turn in Season 7 sees things get far more complicated for the character. Seeking the freedom to live his own quiet life, Oscar falls off the grid. Of course, things can never stay peaceful for these supernatural characters long, and Oscar winds up getting killed by his fellow Heretic Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore). To top it off, he seemingly gets revived shortly thereafter, only for the characters to learn that a different spirit is just possessing his corpse. It's a shame, too — Oscar seems really nice when he doesn't have to sate his bloodlust.

American Horror Story (2017)

Jumping from one horror show to another, Tim Kang has a credit on Ryan Murphy's ever-popular anthology series "American Horror Story." More specifically, the actor plays a minor role in "Cult," an "American Horror Story" season that has divided many fans. "Cult" centers upon the rise of a villainous political figure Kai (Evan Peters) in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and it derives much of its horror from reflecting real-world events and scenarios.

Kang appears in the premiere episode of "Cult" as Councilman Tom Chang. He's one of the officials in attendance when Kai pops over to a city council meeting to vehemently oppose a progressive policy and give a creepy little speech about using fear as a method of control. Chang is, unsurprisingly, not amused, rejecting Kai's propositions. Unfortunately, that's all it takes for him to have a target painted on his back. At the end of the episode, a bunch of insidious individuals wearing clown masks show up at his home, brutally murdering both him and his wife. Oh, and 10-year-old Oz (Cooper Dodson) witnesses the entire thing, because of course he does.

Lethal Weapon (2018)

Things got gritty for Tim Kang when he appeared on a 2018 episode of Fox's "Lethal Weapon." Similar to Kang's "Magnum P.I.," this TV series version of "Lethal Weapon" is an adaptation of the classic 1987 buddy cop action flick of the same name. But while Kang serves to carry out justice as Detective Katsumoto, this crime drama sees the actor in a role that his "Magnum P.I." character probably wouldn't approve of.

Kang makes his only appearance on "Lethal Weapon" in Season 2, Episode 12, titled "Diggin' Up Dirt," where he plays a private investigator named Mike Serrano. As the show's lead duo, Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), probes into a murder case involving the cartel, their search leads them to Serrano. The private eye plays coy, but he does let Riggs know that the officer's wife Miranda (Floriana Lima) was a client of his before her untimely demise. Beyond that intriguing snippet, it's pretty clear that Serrano isn't telling the truth about his involvement. Sure enough, the corrupt P.I. later attempts to kill Riggs by hanging him when he uncovers Serrano's true nature. However, Murtaugh's intervenes just in the nick of time, as buddy cops tend to do for their partners.

Cloak & Dagger (2018)

Back in 2018, Tim Kang made his grand debut into the one mega-franchise to rule them all: the Marvel Cinematic Universe...kind of. The actor recurred in the Freeform series "Cloak & Dagger," one of Marvel Television's last MCU efforts before Marvel Studios began releasing series on Disney+. While "Hawkeye" confirms that the Netflix Marvel series are canon, at least partially, there's still an enduring debate around whether some of the other earlier MCU shows are still considered canon. Considering that no definitive answer has been given either way and "Cloak & Dagger" was originally intended to share continuity with the films, we're calling it an MCU property here.

"Cloak & Dagger" follows Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) after they become the titular superhero duo due to an energy explosion on a remote oil rig. But though the central pair are gifted powers, the other people caught in the blast are far less fortunate. Kang's character, Ivan Hess, is a worker on the rig. While he manages to survive the destruction, he falls into a coma for eight years, during which he's forced to relive the events of that fateful day on a "Groundhog Day"-style loop. It takes the efforts of both Cloak and Dagger to enter his mind and finally free him from his inner torment.

A bunch of other roles too

While this overview covers many of Kang's most notable credits, the actor's filmography extends far beyond what's been mentioned thus far. He's also appeared on cult classic TV shows like the 1999 procedural series "Third Watch," 2006's supernatural drama "Ghost Whisperer," 2017's quickly-canceled "Chicago Justice" from the "One Chicago" franchise, and the 2018 CBS political drama "Madam Secretary." As for movies, he's also had minor roles in the creepy 2004 thriller "The Forgotten," as well as Disney's 2018 adaptation of "A Wrinkle in Time."

Suffice to say, Kang has had an impressive career, appearing in all sorts of unique properties. While viewers may love him as Detective Katsumoto in "Magnum P.I.," it's likely only a matter of time before he introduces himself to yet another new audience on yet another procedural series. Or, maybe it'll be a sitcom. A superhero flick, perhaps? Frankly, it's anyone's guess.