Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Hal Wyler From The Diplomat Looks So Familiar

If you ever wondered how stressful the job of properly dealing with a potential international crisis affects a marriage, then you may want to check out "The Diplomat," a new series that was just recently dropped on Netflix. This scenario plays out on-screen as the show focuses on Kate Wyler (Keri Russell), who has taken on the role of US ambassador to the United Kingdom, then suddenly finds that her new position is anything but simple. And even with this series only being available to stream for a short time, "The Diplomat," is already pulling in great reviews from both critics and viewers at home.

For Russell's character, Kate, you'd think the tension of stepping into this new gig just as an unprovoked attack occurs on a British aircraft carrier would be tough enough, but the fact that her husband continues to inject himself into her business takes it to a new level of difficulty. Her husband, Hal, used to hold an ambassador position and in his tenure, caught on to how to play the right political game fairly quickly. But now the tables have turned as Hal is forced to work in his wife's shadow, eventually pushing Kate to alter the way she handles the job, which she considers pretty much ceremonial. 

For viewers at home, the actor who plays Hal, Rufus Sewell, may look familiar to you and that's because you've likely seen him at some point in his more than 30-year career.

He lost his memory and reality in Dark City

After popping up in lesser-known TV and movie productions throughout the 90s, Rufus Sewell landed one of his first leading roles in the film-noir-stylized science fiction feature, "Dark City." The movie takes place in a mysterious urban setting that feels like no real location on Earth. Sewell plays John Murdoch, a man who wakes up with no memory of not only his surroundings, but of who he is himself. Before he knows it, Murdoch finds himself being chased by an otherworldly group called The Strangers, who are working in tandem with the police. This authoritative force is led by inspector Frank Bumstead (William Hurt), who has accused Murdoch of murdering several prostitutes.

Murdoch finds that he does have someone looking out for him, as he is guided through his evasion by the strange Dr. Daniel Schreber, brilliantly portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland. The story takes continuous unsettling turns, including the revelation that these "one-minded" strangers are actually aliens who use human dead bodies as vessels. They have selfish intentions, as they are trying to save their own race by studying and experimenting on these unsuspecting humans. 

This all leads to the eventual revelation that this "Dark City" is an isolated holding cell, floating in space, for captured humans. Murdoch eventually exposes the big secret and brings his fellow people to sunlight for the very first time.

He stepped in the way of a fake knight

Rufus Sewell again graced the big screen in the 2001 adventure comedy film, "A Knight's Tale." The movie follows a fairly formulaic plotline, focusing on a peasant named William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), who sees an opportunity to portray himself as a highly-skilled Knight in order to compete in a popular local jousting tournament. Of course, William soon gets sidetracked, as he finds himself falling in love with the noble Lady Joselyn (Shannyn Sossamon). With a cookie-cutter story like this, there needs to be an antagonist standing in the way, and that comes from Sewell's Count Adhemar.

Not only does Sewell's Count Adhemar become the main obstacle in William's quest to win the jousting tournament, but he also makes it clear that he wants to steal Joselyn's heart. The combative back-and-forth between the two characters eventually leads to a climatic winner-takes-all battle. Sewell's character is the kind you love to hate, especially when he cheats during the final tournament clash, seemingly rendering William unable to win. However, like most tales of this nature, William digs deep and cleverly defeats his rival, not only winning the tournament, but also his love, Joselyn, in the process.

He played Abraham Lincoln's vampire foe

There were surely a few heads that did a double-take when they first saw the movie poster for the 2012 film "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." Well, their minds weren't playing tricks on them, as the story was adapted from a novel of the same name, written by Seth Grahame-Smith. Both the book and film feature a fictionalized version of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker), who holds the secret identity of a Vampire Hunter. Lincoln has been recruited by Henry Sturgis (Dominic Cooper), who helps point out the hidden bloodsuckers that need destroying. Once again, Rufus Sewell wears the shoes of a villain, depicting the character Adam, the leader of the vampires.

It's usually an actor's job to pull from a character's past history to help develop the role they are playing. For Sewell, he had plenty to work off of, as his character's backstory spans multiple centuries. Adding to the fact that he's a murderous vampire, he also represents the antagonist for President Lincoln's real-world agenda, as Adam also helped enslave Africans to be shipped to American plantations. Sewell's character meets his end, as Lincoln knocks him onto train tracks with a solid silver-wrapped punch to the chest. The entire train then collapses onto Adam, ending his reign of undead mayhem.

He contributed to the fictional fall of democracy

Today, Rufus Sewell might be most recognized from Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle," which is one of those stories that gives viewers a glimpse into a fictionalized world that could've been real if history didn't play out as it did. The series takes place in a reality where both Japan and Nazi Germany triumphed in World War II, eventually leading to this modern-day society. The show was based on a 1962 book series of the same name, written by Philip K. Dick. The TV series spanned four seasons and starred Alexa Davalos as the character Juliana Crain, a woman who suddenly has the tools to take down the totalitarian governments that now rule.

Sewell plays the high-ranking Nazi official, John Smith, who uses any type of brutal tactic to eliminate his adversaries. The character has risen up the ranks after the Americans surrendered to Germany at the end of the war. He became popular in his faction by thwarting an attempt on Adolf Hitler's life, essentially helping the dictator usher in this new authoritarian reality. 

Despite his seemingly unbreakable dedication to the Reich, Sewell's character continuously shows signs of not being completely loyal. At the end of the series, John cannot only handle the upcoming plans for another possible genocide, but also is overly affected by his role in this new world order. This leads to the character taking his own life.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.