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Why Zava From Ted Lasso Looks So Familiar

No character has delivered quite the curve in "Ted Lasso" like Zava (Maximillian Osinski). Modeled after other legendary footballers of similar brilliance and ego, the mononymous star player dazzled on the field and brought Richmond AFC close to the top of the table in the Premier League, only to bail midseason as soon as the squad started to struggle. In between, he's puzzled his teammates with a combination of prima donna behavior and enigmatic locker room quips, ruffled the feathers of teammate Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), prompted Thierry Zoreaux (Moe Jeudy-Lamour) to change his name to Van Damme, and informed Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) that Nigerian cuisine will one day heavily feature avocados. 

Mysteriously eccentric behavior aside, Zava plays a crucial thematic role in Season 3 of "Ted Lasso." "I think he was brought on as this foil, to show the team that they can't lean on one individual," Osinski told Vulture. "They have to work together."

His decision to suddenly retire from football, and without even informing his coach Ted (Jason Sudeikis) to boot, has thrown a wrench into Richmond's already hiccupping gears. We have a feeling that this is not the last we've heard from Zava, especially considering how heavily he was schmoozing with Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), owner of Richmond's sworn enemy West Ham United. But there's a very good chance that you've seen Zava's face before, as Maximillian Osinski has managed to build a solid career over the past decade or so.

Maximillian Osinski played Agent Davis in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Living as they do in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the characters in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." have witnessed and participated in all manner of phenomena, be it superpowered, extraterrestrial, or just plain old weird. And though the series primarily focuses on a key team of agents like Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), S.H.I.E.L.D. is, of course, a much bigger organization, with other agents coming and going through events. 

One of those agents is James Davis, played by Maximillian Osinski. Davis first shows up in Season 1, Episode 9, aiding Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) in investigating a mysterious company that is trying to develop interdimensional travel. He isn't seen again for a few seasons and is later revealed to have left S.H.I.E.L.D. Though, to be fair, a lot happened to the organization during that time — most notably its infiltration by HYDRA — that probably made it less than safe for him to be around.

Davis returns in Season 4 of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and to an organization far more tightly knit under Coulson's leadership. During the next several seasons, he shows himself to be a capable, loyal, and humble agent. He is killed in the final season after being possessed by the malevolent entity Izel. In all, Osinski appeared in 27 episodes of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

He played lookout Derek Evans in The Last Ship

The whole premise of TNT's "The Last Ship" is that a virus has wiped out about 80 percent of the global population. Not exactly the most uplifting starting point — particularly in a post-Covid world — but then again, very few apocalyptic TV series could be described as cheery. What's more, it means there are much fewer faces to get lost in a much smaller global crowd. What's more, the show zoomed in on a crew of just 218 aboard a single U.S. Navy ship at sea, the U.S.S. Nathan James, now saddled with the job of finding a cure. 

Even among that small crew, Maximillian Osinski's lookout Derek Evans wasn't seen more than a handful of times and in only three episodes, but he was most certainly there. Normally, he was only seen when he saw something that needed to be relayed to the captain or another commanding officer on the ship's bridge, with him being the ship's lookout and all. He's not a prominently featured face, but a face nonetheless. 

"The Last Ship" was, interestingly enough, one of two times that Osinski would work with his now-wife, Australian-Nepalese actor Dichen Lachman, who also appeared in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as the Inhuman Jiaying. She appeared in a handful of episodes in "The Last Ship" as Australian helicopter pilot Jesse, including in two of the episodes that included Osinski.

He played Dennis in The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Maximillian Osinski has also made himself part of the quickly expanding universe of AMC's "The Walking Dead." He appeared in the second and final season of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" in the role of Dennis Graham, husband of fan-favorite Jennifer "Huck" Mallick (Annet Mahendru). Though "World Beyond" mostly looks at the post-zombie apocalypse through the eyes of the teenage characters nicknamed the Endlings, Dennis is a grown adult. Like most adults in this bleak and violent world, he is also haunted by his past, grasping for redemption. 

"I asked myself, 'Why didn't he fall to the side and become a shell of himself?'" Osinski told Pop Culturalist. "With a character like Dennis, it's about trying to figure out what a person does or how they function while dealing with issues of their past." A former soldier of the Civic Republic Military, he is, despite the authoritarian character of the C.R.M., a decent man who made a grave mistake during his time with the military — one that cost lives. Silas (Hal Cumpston) calls him one of the few good people who have been part of the C.R.M. He and Huck are increasingly disturbed by the Civic Republic's violence against whole cities of innocent living people. The two even join the Endlings to stop the C.R.M.'s intended gas attack on Portland. After Huck dies in the explosion that destroys the gas, a mortally wounded Dennis convinces Silas to shoot him so that the latter can come off as a hero to the Civic Republic and continue to undermine it.