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Why David Sola From NCIS: Hawai'i Looks So Familiar

Networks continue to franchise virtually any and every even moderately popular show in their primetime slate. And in the case of CBS, the "NCIS" universe just seems to keep getting bigger. The latest spin-off of the long-running procedural finds a crack team of naval investigators solving cases and bidding hearty "Alohas" in sunny Hawaii. If you've seen an episode of "NCIS: Hawai'i," you know the series makes excellent use of the spectacular Pacific vistas on hand.

The creative team has excelled to date at building intriguing mysteries for the team to investigate. And one of the more exciting storylines came in a Season 1 two-parter. Titled "Spies, Part 1 and Part 2," it was directed by "Star Trek: The Next Generation" legend LeVar Burton and finds the team working on a case involving both the murder of a Navy engineer and the kidnapping of the last person to see the man alive. In running down clues, they cross paths with a New Zealand Intelligence agent named David Sola, who has his own interest in the case.

As things play out, Sola's role in the case only grows. Along the way, the actor delivers what remains one of the series' finest supporting performances. Here's why David Sola from "NCIS: Hawai'i" looks so familiar.

Beulah Koale got his big break on Hawaii Five-0

That actor's name is Beulah Koale. And if you recognized him as David Zola in "NCIS: Hawai'i," it's because the New Zealand native has been making quite a name for himself in Hollywood over the past decade. Koale has long wanted the chance to represent his Samoan roots in Tinseltown, telling Stuff in 2017, "I represent so many people, Pacific Islanders, Polynesian people ... I love that I represent that." As it happens, he's repped New Zealand in The Aloha State pretty regularly already, appearing not just in "NCIS: Hawaii," but also the "Magnum P.I." and "Hawaii Five-0" reboots.

As for the last role, it marked Koale's first significant gig stateside, with the actor making 71 appearances on "Hawaii Five-0" as Junior Reigns. The navy seal turned police officer made his series debut early in the show's eighth season. Halfway through, Koale had become a significant player in the "Hawaii Five-0" ensemble, with his character an integral part of the HPD Task Force team. He would remain so all the way through the series' tenth and final season. Along the way, Koale helped make Junior Reigns a bit of a low-key fan-favorite character. 

Koale played a troubled soldier in Thank You For Your Service

The same year Beulah Koale booked his "Hawaii Five-0" gig, he also secured a different project when he signed up to play troubled U.S. Soldier Tuasolo Aieti. That role came in the 2017 drama "Thank You For Your Service," which follows the travels of three veterans who endure a deadly incursion while deployed in Iraq and struggle mightily to readjust to life back on the home front.

Based on actual events, "Thank You For Your Service" is primarily centered on Miles Teller's character Adam Schumann and his own struggles with PTSD after returning from a 15-month tour of duty. Schumann is also racked with survivor's guilt after a colleague who took his place on what was meant to be a routine patrol dies after the group's Humvee hits an improvised explosive device.

Aieti is driving the vehicle on that patrol, and his experiences that day lead him to a PTSD spiral when he returns home, eventually falling in with a crew of drug runners after not being medically cleared to return to duty in Iraq. One of the film's more harrowing scenes comes when Schumann goes to pull Aieti out of his increasingly dangerous situation. And if you've seen "TYFYS," you know Koale's work in the moment is genuinely astonishing.   

Shadow in the Cloud found Koale battling inhuman foes during WWII

After battling insurgents and inner demons in "Thank You For Your Service," Beulah Koale took on another monstrous foe in the World War II actioner "Shadow in the Cloud." A savvy mix of war movie bluster and winking B-movie charm, "Shadow in the Cloud" was an unexpected action vehicle for Chloë Grace Moretz, who kicks some serious ass throughout as a crafty pilot tasked with transporting top-secret cargo from New Zealand to Somoa.

She does so aboard a U.S. B-17 bomber boasting a colorful all-male crew who question her presence on the mission at every step. They are, of course, right in their paranoia as her cargo complicates the trip in increasingly dangerous ways, as do several enemy planes they encounter along the way. As for Koale, he portrays co-pilot Anton Williams in the film. "Shadow in the Cloud" provided another significant supporting role for the actor, who made the most of his screen time by bringing a deft mix of grounded humanity and larger-than-life gusto. And in any other movie where Moretz isn't chewing the scenery from the opening shot to the last, he probably could've claimed legit scene-stealer status.

Dual ensnared Koale in a rather tricky little romance

Over the past decade, writer and director Riley Stearns has led the Hollywood pack to produce fascinating films that end up on "underrated and overlooked" movie lists. He has, however, done so while working with some of the most sought-after talent in the game, including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jesse Eisenberg, Lance Reddick, Imogen Poots, and Alessandro Nivola, among others.

In 2022, Stearns added "Breaking Bad" icon Aaron Paul and MCU standout Karen Gillan to the list with the dark sci-fi comedy "Dual." The film finds Gillan playing Sarah, a woman who, after learning she has a terminal illness, agrees to be cloned so that her double can carry on her life when she's gone. But when she makes an unexpected recovery, she's forced by law to face her genetic counterpart in a life-or-death duel to see who gets to stick around. 

It's a kooky setup, with Stearn and company using it to frame a compelling and often hilarious study of identity and survival. Koale portrays Sarah's long-distance beau, Peter, in "Dual." Instead of spoiling any of Peter's tale, we'll simply offer that his reaction to Sarah's clone complicates matters in unexpected ways. In case there were any questions, Koale delivers some of the best work of his career here. And yes, he does so in one of 2022's most legit overlooked gems.