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Why Darwin From Succession Looks So Familiar

Contains spoilers for "Succession" Season 4 Episode 8 — "America Decides"

"Succession" is a series full of yes men — lackeys and underlings who kowtow to the big cheese in matters of business, boar on the floor, or even a presidential election.

"America Decides" is a greatest hits of past election night horrors, with a dash of 2016's foray into the abyss and 2000's electoral fiasco. While politics has lingered in the background throughout "Succession," Season 4 Episode 8 confirms just how much sway the Roy family and their TV network have over national politics. The episode ends on a chilling note, with president-elect Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk) dropping dog whistles about "purity" into his election night spiel. At least Connor's having a good time. "It just makes an election so much more interesting when you're in it," he quips.

If there's one character who exhibits any hint of a moral compass, it's newcomer Darwin, an ATN higher-up who's concerned with the media organization's national standing (apparently Darwin doesn't draw the line at chyrons like "Gender Fluid Illegals May Be Entering The Country Twice"). Darwin is the closest the episode comes to a conscience, until he isn't. Roman's (Kieran Culkin) powers of persuasion, plus some ill-placed wasabi, tilt Darwin towards calling Wisconsin for Mencken, even though uncounted votes in Milwaukee have been burnt to a crisp.

Adam Godley, who plays Darwin, is a familiar on-screen presence. Here's where you may have seen Godley before.

Adam Godley has an affinity for family films

Adam Godley began performing at the age of 9, and he basically hasn't stopped since. Since that debut gig on BBC Radio, the British actor has emerged as a star in the theater world, having received two Tony Award nominations. He's also known for his on-screen performances.

Godley made his film debut in 2002 with "And Now...Ladies and Gentlemen," and he also has a brief yet memorable appearance in "Love Actually" as a teacher in the climactic Christmas pageant. That scene seems to have sparked an affinity towards other family-friendly fare, and Godley spent much of the aughts appearing in family movies.

In 2004, he appeared in the Jackie Chan-led adaptation of "Around the World in 80 Days." His role in 2005's "Nanny McPhee" reunited him with his "Love Actually" co-stars Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, and Thomas Sangster. That same year, Godley starred in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" as Mr. Teavee, the nebbishy father to video game-obsessed Mike (Jordan Fry). It wouldn't be Godley's only role in a Roald Dahl adaptation; he appeared in 2016's "The BFG."

Godley played Walt's old business partner in Breaking Bad

Throughout his career, Adam Godley has made countless single-episode appearances in American and British television. It doesn't take long, however, for the actor to leave his mark. Between 2008 and 2013, Godley appeared in three episodes of "Breaking Bad," but his character casted a long shadow. Godley plays Elliott Schwartz, Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) former business partner at Gray Matter Technologies. Walt sold his shares for $5000, and Elliott and his wife Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) went on to make billions.

Godley first appears as Schwartz in Season 1. He invites Walt to return to the company, touting the excellent health care, indicating that he knows about his old friend's cancer diagnosis. Creator Vince Gilligan cited the exchange as one of his favorite moments in the series. "Instead of taking this life preserver that's been thrown to him, Walt decides to go back to cooking crystal meth," Gilligan told Empire in 2013. "He was a creature of such pride and such damaged ego that he would rather be his own man and endanger his family's life than take a handout like that ...That's when he broke bad."

He had recurring roles in Suits and Lodge 49

Adam Godley plays another powerful man in "Suits." For five episodes in 2013, he appeared as Nigel Nesbitt, a lawyer and senior partner at Darby International. Nigel serves as Louis Litt's (Rick Hoffman) British counterpart and enemy, and the pair engage in several office games of cat and mouse, as when Nigel steals Louis' beloved bran bars. Nigel and Louis' cartoonish rivalry comes to a head when they battle for custody of Nigel's kitty.

More television roles followed, and Godley secured major parts in "Powers" and the Swedish series "Fallet." His role in "Lodge 49" was perhaps his most surreal undertaking. Loosely based on Thomas Pynchon's novel "The Crying of Lot 49," "Lodge 49" aired from 2018 to 2019 on AMC. The series follows Dud (Wyatt Russell), an easygoing ex-surfer who stumbles upon a fraternal brotherhood in Southern California. The lodge turns out to be a network, and for ten episodes, Godley plays Jocelyn Pugh, an emissary of the London chapter who decamps to California.

Godley is the Russian Archbishop in The Great

Hulu's period satire "The Great" has always been more interested in mining humor from history than ensuring that said history is accurate. Look no further than the Archbishop of Russia, played by Adam Godley, for proof. Was his real nickname Archie? Probably not, but that hasn't stopped creator Tony McNamara from exercising some creative liberties. Archie is the de facto villain to Catherine (Elle Fanning), who's attempting to modernize Russia, much to the traditionalist Archie's chagrin.

Godley is a true professional on set, and according to Fanning, he's the hardest to make break character. "He's totally in on the joke, but he will always stay in it," Fanning told Vulture in November 2021. "He's the sweetest man in the world. But he doesn't laugh as much."

Godley has mastered his actorly poker face, no doubt thanks to years of stage experience. The real challenge, he said in an interview with Playbill, was going through hair and makeup. "[It's] more facial hair than I've ever encountered," he said. "I had a slight allergy to the glue at one point, which became an issue," he recalled. "Once I had the thing on ... I couldn't eat anything solid ... I had to eat everything through a straw."

Catch Godley in "The Great" Season 3, now streaming on Hulu.