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Why Daniel Tennant From NCIS: Hawai'i Looks So Familiar

The latest spinoff of "NCIS" — "NCIS: Hawai'i" — is currently in full swing over at CBS, with longtime TV personality Vanessa Lachey leading the way as Special Agent Jane Tennant. And if you've been watching regularly since its September debut, you've probably noticed other recognizable faces appearing in the military cop drama, including junior agent Lucy Tara and Tennant's very own ex-husband, Daniel Tennant, who is played by yet another familiar face.

Devoted cinephiles and TV fans will likely notice Anthony Ruivivar immediately upon first watching "NCIS: Hawai'i," with some of his most famous roles and performances coming in big-name movie and television projects from the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and now 2020s. Whether it's on the big screen or small, there's a good chance you've probably gotten a taste of Ruivivar's acting skills a time or two in the past. But just in case some people forgot, here is a collection of the new "NCIS" star's most well-known roles.

Ruivivar had a small role in Starship Troopers

In one of his earliest appearances, Anthony Ruivivar managed to nab a small-but-recognizable role in the cult sci-fi classic "Starship Troopers" as a mobile infantry soldier named Shujumi. The character loses his leg in battle and is then killed by a pack of Warrior Bugs (via Starship Trooper Wiki). Prior to enlisting, Shujumi had been accepted into Harvard University but was unable to attend due to its pricey tuition. So he joined the Federal Service as a way to pay for his education, per Starship Trooper Wiki. 

Speaking to Pop Culture Warrior in 2021, Ruivivar described how working on "Starship Troopers" with legendary Hollywood advisor Captain Dale Dye — who helped out on "Saving Private Ryan" and numerous other war films — helped introduce him to the world of playing military and law enforcement characters, which is something Ruivivar has been immersed in ever since. "I know Starship Troopers was what it was, it was still a space movie, but we...did a Hollywood bootcamp," Ruivivar told Pop Culture Warrior. "We knew how to dissemble and assemble the weapons that we were using, you know, so we had some basic training. And that just kind of kept going on in my career," he explained.  "So, as a result, I feel more comfortable kind of playing that sector rather than the civilian sector."

Ruivivar played paramedic Carlos Nieto in Third Watch

In 1999, just a few years into his television acting career, Anthony Ruivivar took on what many may consider his biggest Hollywood role to date — playing paramedic Carlos Nieto in the NBC rescue drama "Third Watch." Ruivivar wound up appearing in more than 130 episodes for the John Wells and Edward Allen Bernero-created series, which ran from 1999 to 2005. He was featured in every episode except one, per IMDb, with his missing appearance coming in 2011 following the September 11 attacks, which prompted a special tribute episode where the cast and crew interviewed actual NYPD cops and FDNY firefighters (via CNN). 

Ruivivar, 51, spoke to The Oz Network in 2019 about his time on "Third Watch" and how he initially got the gig back in the late '90s. He was joined by a number of "Third Watch" actors during The Oz Network appearance, which was described as a "reunion" by TV Tonight. Ruivivar claimed that he was with "Friends" actor Matthew Perry when he found out that he would be starring in the medical and police procedural. 

"I'm on a frisbee golf course with Matt Perry when [the Friends actors] get the news that they were all getting a million dollars an episode," Ruivivar recalled. "Then later...I get the news that I got Third Watch and [Perry's] like hammered and says, 'Man I'm so jealous for you.' And I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' And he said, 'You get to work with John Wells and Ed Bernero on a real show. I'm just a clown.' And I said, dude you're getting a million dollars an episode, but he was jealous. Super jealous."

Ruivivar portrayed the Indian tribal chief Alex Longshadow in the Cinemax series Banshee

In what can easily be described as Anthony Ruivivar's second biggest TV role to date, the familiar screen star played Indian tribal chief Alex Longshadow in the Cinemax series "Banshee" featuring Antony Starr from "The Boys." As a recurring character, Ruivivar's Longshadow wound up appearing in 17 episodes between 2013 and 2015, with them coming during Seasons 1 to 3. 

At first, Ruivivar was supposed to have a small role in "Banshee," but he was reportedly bumped up to a series regular position before Season 2 (via TVLine). The forgotten crime drama, which is available to stream on HBO Max, is centered around an ex-con — played by Starr — who manages to steal the identity of a sheriff in the town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, after he's killed in a bar fight. Ruivivar's Longshadow is one of the show's many local players and shady personalities in the town. 

Ruivivar played Richard Ramirez in American Horror Story: Hotel

While it wasn't his biggest role to date, playing serial killer Richard Ramirez in Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story: Hotel" helped put Anthony Ruivivar on the map for a lot of TV fans, with his iconic first appearance coming during one of the show's most famous episodes — "Devil's Night" — which aired on October 28, 2015. 

The episode featured the portrayals of numerous real-life killers, including Aileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, the Zodiac Killer, and Gordon Northcott, who were played by Lily Rabe, Seth Gabel, John Caroll Lynch, an unknown actor, and Luke Baybak, respectively (via IMDb). The characters were all resurrected as ghosts for an annual dinner celebration held by Evan Peters' James March within the Hotel Cortez. The ghastly get-together was dubbed "Devil's Night" and wound up being one of the highlights of the entire "AHS: Hotel" season — and series — as a whole. 

Ruivivar played Sheriff Miguel Acosta in MTV's Scream

In terms of episode count, one of Anthony Ruivivar's more extensive runs came on MTV's "Scream" series in 2016. As usual, the Hawaii-born screen star play played another non-civilian in Sheriff Miguel Acosta, who is the father of Gustavo Acosta (Santiago Segura). According to Scream Wiki, Sheriff Acosta was the only recurring character in the series who was credited in every single episode of the second season, except for the Halloween specials. Ruivivar wound up being so good at his job as the "bad cop" — as many viewers described him — that he got tweeted at regularly by people who grew to hate him. 

"It's impressive what a bad cop Sheriff Acosta is in Scream season 2," wrote Twitter user @simonm223. "He actively makes every situation worse," the user said. "Love to see it." 

@_itsmecharlotte tweeted: "Sheriff Acosta in Scream season 2 is such a s**t head. My god."

At the time of his appearance in "Scream" and the years that followed it, Ruivivar took on numerous acting gigs in both film and television, including roles in Netflix's "The Haunting of Hill House" and The CW's "Frequency" series. In 2021, he took on a role in a show that basically put the longtime actor in a situation he had never been in before, with him tapping into a younger audience for one of the only times in his career.

Ruivivar played Chief James Mendez in Disney+ revival of Turner & Hooch

It may have just been for one season, but Anthony Ruivivar's 12-episode run as US marshal chief James Mendez in the Disney+ revival of "Turner & Hooch" is without a doubt the most famous gig he's gotten in recent years, other than "NCIS: Hawai'i." It marked the second time in Ruivivar's career that he teamed up with the Mickey Mouse company, with the first coming in 1994's "White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf." 

"I just had an amazing time working with Disney [on White Fang 2], so to be able to team up with them again with Disney+ was, first and foremost, super exciting," explained Ruivivar in a July 2021 interview with The Man Cave Chronicle podcast. "And then, to be able to kind of carry on the torch of the Turner & Hooch franchise is pretty amazing," he said. "We felt the responsibility to honor the original and kind of update it and do something great with it within what makes it good or what makes it lasting."

In the 2021 version of "Turner & Hooch" — which only lasted for one season — Ruivivar played main character Scott Turner's (Josh Peck) boss and is described as having a "secret soft spot" for his legendary police dog (via The Knockturnal). Ruivivar told The Man Cave Chronicles: "I think it was the perfect mixture of the chief being kind of like this straight-laced, straight man, to the ridiculous dog and fumbling Scott Turner."