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Why Arkady Kolcheck From NCIS: Los Angeles Looks So Familiar

Long-running law enforcement procedurals have been a staple of primetime TV for decades. While they're known for suspense and gritty drama, there's one key factor that's usually lacking from "Law & Order," "One Chicago," "Criminal Minds," and similar TV franchises ... hilarious comedy relief and exaggerated Russian accents. From its very first season broadcast on CBS in 2009, the first spin-off of the "NCIS" television monolith "NCIS: Los Angeles" has sought to correct this discrepancy with Arkady Kolcheck. Arkady is a former KGB agent and ally to the Sunshine State's NCIS division as of Season 1, Episode 7, titled "Pushback." He's also the father of Anna Kolcheck (Bar Paly), the eventual love interest of primary protagonist Grisha "G." Callen (Chris O'Donnell). Arkady typically only shows up once or twice per season, but his sporadic appearances have been a sort of inconstant constant through the show's ongoing 14 season run. 

Arkady is played by Vyto Ruginis, and though he was easily confused with Rutger Hauer during his younger days, it seems fairly certain that they are not the same person considering Hauer sadly passed away in 2019. Does Ruginis strike you as familiar? Here's where you may have seen him in action before.

He watched Brad Pitt talk about baseball stats in Moneyball

Sometimes it feels like film 2011's "Moneyball" hardly ever gets a mention nowadays, which feels downright inexplicable when you look at the names involved: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, with Aaron Sorkin co-writing the screenplay and "Capote" director Bennett Miller at the helm. Pitt's Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane somehow manages to deliver more pep talks to rooms full of downtrodden men in this movie than Tyler Durden does in "Fight Club." Regardless of your opinion on Pitt's speechifying, "Moneyball" was indisputably an awards season favorite in its heyday.

While adapting the persona of A's talent scout Chris Pittaro, Vyto Ruginis listened and reacted while Pitt and Hill's assistant general manager Peter Brand explained to him and a table full of other A's staffers why changing their recruitment strategy would help win more games. But that's not to undersell Ruginis' contributions to the film, or the real Pittaro's role in the real Oakland A's, for that matter. The one-time infielder for the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins entered the Professional Scouts Hall of Fame in 2012.

Paul Walker messed with his business in The Fast & The Furious

When we think of the "Fast & Furious" franchise, the first names that come to mind include major movie stars like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham. We don't usually associate the 11-installments-and-counting car chase movie series with Vyto Ruginis, but we could if we wanted to, and maybe we should start. In the first movie from 2001, Ruginis plays Harry, who runs "The Racer's Edge," an automotive parts and accessories store. He's also an FBI informant who helps provide LAPD detective Brian O'Conner (Walker) a plausible cover story for his ostensibly secret investigation into street racing-related crime. 

Paul Walker tragically died in 2013, but years earlier, Ruginis was one of his "Fast & Furious" scene partners. Harry finds himself caught between trying to fulfill his obligations to law enforcement agencies without alienating local celebrity street racer Dominic Toretto and would prefer O'Conner conduct his investigation with a little more subtlety and a little less bravado. This seemingly reasonable request is ignored.

He's in an episode of basically every TV show

Vyto Ruginis probably doesn't qualify as a star by most folks' metrics, but nobody can say he isn't a successful actor, because he's been on basically every TV show. You can observe his sprawling IMDb resume if you don't believe us.

We should stress the "basically" part of that last sentence, because there are plenty of exceptions that prove the rule; he's not in anything that came out before he started his on-screen career in 1985. But starting from the late '80s up until the present, he's made mostly single-episode appearances in piles of popular primetime programs, including "The West Wing" "Boston Legal" Showtime's "Shameless," "ER," "House," "CSI: Miami," the non-Miami iteration of "CSI," "The X-Files," "Ally McBeal" "NYPD Blue" "Nash Bridges," "Murder, She Wrote," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and we could go on. He's been four totally separate characters in "Law & Order," and Buffyverse fans might recognize him as the Wolfram & Hart client Angel kicks out of the window of a tall building in the first episode of his eponymous series.

It's fair to say the Wolverhampton-born actor has been predominantly a TV presence throughout his career, but let's not undersell his film resume. In addition to "Moneyball" and "The Fast & the Furious," he did a couple of 1996 movies with John Travolta — "Broken Arrow" and "Phenomenon" — and he's in 1997's "The Devil's Advocate" with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.