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Why Young Mike Franks From NCIS: Origins Looks So Familiar

Who can mentor the guy who himself is the ultimate "NCIS" mentor? Mike Franks (Muse Watson), that's who. The leader of the NCIS Major Response Team not only taught Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) a whole bunch of what he knows about NCIS-ing, but he also keeps turning up on the show as a recurring character from Season 3 to Season 8. 

Mike's active role in Gibbs' past means he was always destined to be one of the key franchise characters in "NCIS: Origins," the "NCIS" prequel series about young Gibbs' (Austin Stowell) first steps in the NCIS land. The only question is: Who portrays the character who has to be able to come across as a believable authority figure to the single most prominent character in the franchise? 

Ben Turner Dixon, who plays young Mike in the original "NCIS," wasn't the original choice to play young Mike. Instead, the role went to Kyle Schmid, who has plenty of experience portraying authority figures who are capable of fieldwork. The "NCIS: Origins" star has already confirmed what to expect from his Mike, and he has what it takes to portray the character's complicated morality.  Here's where Schmid has acquired this experience, and where you may know him from. 

A History of Violence (2005)

Kyle Schmid's first screen roles date back to 1996, but when it comes to his first truly massive project, look no further than David Cronenberg's well-received 2005 study on ruthlessness, "A History of Violence." The movie is the first one in Viggo Mortensen's post-"The Lord of the Rings" string of serious and often cruel fare — his second Cronenberg collaboration, "Eastern Promises," and John Hillcoat's bleak Cormac McCarthy adaptation "The Road" would eventually follow. "A History of Violence" features Mortensen as Tom Stall, a mild-mannered small-town man whose surprising and strangely violent heroics in the face of murderous robbers start attracting unwanted attention and create tension in his increasingly suspicious family. 

The story takes its sweet time to reveal whether Tom is who he appears to be or someone far more dangerous, and as violence takes over his life, it affects his family, too. Schmid plays Bobby, a high school bully who finds out that his favorite target, Tom's son Jack (Ashton Holmes), may just share his old man's hidden capacity for violence. 

While the role is comparatively small and straightforward, a movie of this caliber is not a bad place to be for a young actor to be. It may not be entirely coincidental that Schur's roles started getting more prominent and his projects more high-profile after 2005.  

Copper (2012-2013)

What better way to practice for a major role in a procedural drama than starring in one? BBC America's "Copper" is a period piece police show set in New York's infamous Five Points area in the 1860s — effectively, a procedural in the exact same setting as Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," sans Bill the Butcher

Kyle Schmid plays Robert Morehouse, main character Kevin "Corky" Corcoran's (Tom Weston-Jones) rich friend and former Civil War commander. Robert is a rare good egg among the city's wealthy movers and shakers, and as such, often teams up with Corky and Matthew Freeman (Ato Essandoh) to thwart assorted villainous plots. Apart from his extreme wealth compared to the other main characters and the confidence it brings, one of Robert's central characteristics is the prosthetic leg he has to wear after losing his own in the war. In an interview with Assignment X, Schmid discussed the extreme lengths the show went to in order to make his performance as believable and era-appropriate as possible. 

"I wear three braces," he said. "I wear a knee brace, which tightens up the knee, and then I wear an ankle brace, which tightens up the ankle completely so that it's not pliable, and then I also wear a leather thigh brace. The detail on the show went so deeply that there's leather lacing on the leather thigh brace that I wear above the knee brace that I use to create the limp, that you can see in detail through the cashmere pants I wear, because that's exactly what would have been holding a contraption of that sort, a fake leg, onto my character."

Being Human (2012-2014)

Much of Kyle Schmid's other major early-2010s port of call ran concurrently with "Copper," and allowed the actor to flex in a somewhat darker role. From Season 2 to Season 4, Schmid plays the recurring character Henry Durham in Syfy's "Being Human," the American adaptation of the BBC fantasy drama of the same name. 

"Being Human" focuses on three roommates, Aidan (Sam Witwer), Josh (Sam Huntington), and Sally (Meagan Rath). They also happen to be a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost, which adds a distinct supernatural flavor to the usual drama dynamic and also opens the door for a whole host of horror fantasy plot lines and characters. 

Schmid's Henry starts out as a selfless World War I medic who helps Aidan, who soon repays the favor by turning the dying Henry into a vampire. Henry ends up liking being a vampire a whole lot and transforms into a devious and opportunistic hedonist who goes on to share a long and complicated frenemy relationship with Aidan.  

Six (2017-2018)

Kyle Schmid contunued his string of complex military man roles in "Six," History's fictionalized version of the untold truth of SEAL Team Six — the legendary Naval Special Warfare Development Group unit with a laundry list of achievements that include the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Schmid's role on the two-season show is team member Alex Caulder, one of the central characters.

"Six" is a show that requires a lot more from an actor than just make-believe. In an interview with Lena Lamoray, Schmid revealed just how much work went into portraying these special operatives — and precisely how challenging the training for the show was for the cast. 

"We did a week of SEAL training — kind of a prep course that prepared us for the physical and mental aspect of what we were going to go through," he said. "We did weeks upon weeks of guns and ammunition training. We were using real weapons and running around in full kits with all the real plates and everything that they wear. It really takes the acting out of it — when you are hearing live rounds going off two or three feet from you. The explosions were real 90% of the time."

Kyle Schmid's other roles

Like so many other actors, Kyle Schmid started out fairly small, with a series of minor and guest roles, as well as a recurring role as Jordan Lynch in the AAC Kids show "I Was A Sixth Grade Alien!" However, he started appearing in more and more shows and films, and the year 2005 proved to be something of a watershed moment. Apart from "A History of Violence," he appeared in no less than six other projects that year, including the Vin Diesel comedy "The Pacifier." 

In 2007, Schmid practiced for the "vampires called Henry" mini-niche he'd soon perfect on "Being Human" by playing Henry Fitzroy on the Canadian vampire procedural "Blood Ties." He's also played the recurring role of John Wayne Klinsasser on the David E. Kelley cop drama "Big Sky," as well as starred in several comparatively small-scale movies like 2014's artist thriller "Dark Hearts" and 2015's revenge story "88." 

However, the best way to spot Schmid in the wild may be to simply watch your favorite shows. The actor is something of a guest star maven, and he has appeared in one-episode roles in an impressive number of well-known series. His guest turns include, but are by no means limited to a Season 4 appearance on "CSI: Miami," playing the telepathic villain Sebastian Kane on "Smallville," turning up as Royal Flush Gang member Ace on "Arrow," and dropping by on "The Rookie" as Detective Noah Foster.