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Why Carlo Rey From CSI: Vegas Looks So Familiar

Carlo Rey was one of the most brutal murderers to appear on "CSI: Vegas." In the Season 2 episode "Burned," Rey was upset after his landlord's careless management of the property poisoned him along with his wife and son. To exact his revenge, he murders the landlord's son in front of him. He then burns him alive, a particularly grizzly crime that the character pulled off with the help of his own son, with the two of them disguised in a sasquatch costume. In the end, the CSI unit manages to figure out who it was who killed the father and son, but Rey only has five months left to live, meaning he'll likely never see the inside of a prison cell.

If Rey looks familiar in this episode, that's because he's played by veteran character actor Robert Picardo — and there are plenty of places where you might have seen him before.

He was Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years

In 1988, Robert Picardo took up the role of Coach Cutlip on the original version of the nostalgic dramedy "The Wonder Years." Cutlip's first appearance comes in the pilot, where the coach is depicted as a pompous blowhard with a serious inferiority complex. Picardo made 15 appearances as Cutlip over the first four seasons before his final appearance in the show's Season 4 finale "Graduation." In an interview with Trek Movie, Picardo said that he often played "the guy you love to hate," which he says goes back to his first loathsome character on "The Wonder Years."

In the second episode of the show, Coach Cutlip tries to teach the boys' sex education class, with pretty hilarious results — his diagrams are less than accurate. It's an episode that's still remembered fondly, as evidenced by a 2018 thread in the r/badwomensanatomy subreddit where several Redditors continued to make jokes about Cutlip's poor conception of the female anatomy. Redditor u/yildizli_gece called his drawing of the female reproductive system "some sort of chalk drawing of a boxy alien with what looks like a primitive cow's head drawing on its shirt," while u/QueenHela joked, "I didn't know the only organ I have is the uterus." Another Redditor with a now-deleted account just took the time to point out that "Robert Picardo is such an underrated actor."

He starred as Dr. Dick Richards in China Beach

Also in 1988, Robert Picardo played the role of Dr. Dick Richards on the Vietnam War-based medical drama "China Beach," starring alongside the likes of Dana Delany and Ricki Lake. The show lasted for four seasons and Picardo appeared in all 62 episodes. In an interview with Time Life in 2013 for the long-overdue DVD release of "China Beach," Picardo talked a little bit about the show and how it depicted the Vietnam War. He called the series "one of the great anti-war television shows."

He went on to talk about how "China Beach" was able to "heal the wounds" of the Vietnam War, which was so divisive in America at the time. Picardo also stated that one of the overall morals of the show was not to blame individual soldiers for the policy decisions of those higher up in the chain of command. Unfortunately, at the time of this article's publication, there is no streaming service that currently carries "China Beach," meaning that another generation is missing out on this groundbreaking and wonderfully acted series.

He played The Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager

In what is perhaps Robert Picardo's most notable and recognizable role, he played the Emergency Medical Hologram on all seven seasons of "Star Trek: Voyager." In the pilot episode of the show, entitled "Caretaker," the USS Voyager is transported across the galaxy and the crew find themselves so far from home it would take them 70 years at full speed to return. Facing a long mission, and with their chief medical officer now dead, the crew is forced to rely on the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram program, also known simply as The Doctor.

In 2020, Picardo's co-star Jeri Ryan returned to her role of Seven of Nine from "Star Trek: Voyager" for "Star Trek: Picard." Given that The Doctor and Seven were so close on "Voyager," it led to many asking if The Doctor would show up in "Picard." When Picardo was asked about returning to the character in a 2020 interview with Trek Movie, the actor said: "Needless to say, it would be great fun to play the character again. I'm sure The Doctor would be as shocked and impressed with the now fully human Seven as I was!" The possibility still remains that The Doctor will show up somewhere in one of the new "Star Trek" shows on Paramount+.

He portrayed Richard Woolsey in all three Stargate shows

In 2004, starting with the second installment of the two-part episode "Heroes," Robert Picardo began portraying the character of Richard Woolsey on "Stargate SG-1." Woolsey comes in at first as an oversight agent from the National Intelligence Department who is against the Stargate program. Over time, he gradually changes his mind about the program, and in Season 5 of "Stargate: Atlantis" — the final season of the show — Woolsey takes over as the new commander of the Atlantis operation after Colonel Samantha Carter is relieved of duty. The actor also made an appearance in the short-lived third series in the franchise, "Stargate: Universe," meaning he's appeared in all of the shows in the franchise as the same character.

In the previously mentioned interview with Trek Movie, Picardo opened up about switching from The Doctor on "Voyager" to Woolsey on "Stargate." The actor talked about how previous leaders of the expeditions on "Stargate" were led first by a civilian scientist and secondly by a military leader, so when Woolsey came in to take over with no experience in the sciences or the military, he created a lot of conflict. "He was really great in a conference room, but you put him in a real situation and he just wasn't cut out for it," he said. "There is a funny moment in 'The Scourge' when Woolsey is hightailing it from these insect creatures and he outruns everybody else to save his ass. I think there is a certain inherent fun with taking a bureaucrat and putting him in a real situation."

He was Ithamar Conkey on Dickinson

In Apple TV+'s heavily stylized biography series "Dickinson" (about the life of Emily Dickinson, played by Hailee Steinfeld), Picardo plays a recurring character named Ithamar Conkey, a good friend of Emily's father Edward. In the Season 3 premiere, he proposes to Emily only to be rejected without hesitation, causing Conkey to say he's given up hope of ever getting married. This inspires Emily to write a poem that shares its name with the episode's title ("'Hope' is the thing with feathers"), an actual poem of hers that would later become one of her most famous works.

According to the Emily Dickenson Electronic Archives, there was a real man named Ithamar Francis Conkey. Also known as Frank Conkey, he was both a close friend and political rival of Edward Dickinson. From 1856 until he died, he served as the District Attorney of Northwestern Massachusetts. Conkey was a "republican" Whig and Edward Dickenson was a "straight" Whig, and Edward and Emily worried about Conkey influencing Emily's brother Austin with his political leanings.

In a 2021 tweet, Picardo praised the show. "Have enjoyed being part of the wildly original #Dickinson on @AppleTVPlus," he said. "It is bingeworthy!" The actor isn't alone in this opinion — "Dickenson" was widely praised by critics, earning an impressive 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.