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Why The Assassin From Enola Holmes Looks So Familiar

With just how many actors have played Sherlock Holmes since the sleuth's inception in 1887, there's not a person in this world who, if asked if they recognized the character, would hesitate. "Yeah, the detective," they'd say. Not a detective — the detective. And that's not a slip of the tongue, or some kind of mistake: Holmes is, simply put, the most famous detective who never lived. Stories centered around him will continue to be told for the foreseeable future and beyond, as a result, so it's nice when writers shake things up a bit. The newest film in Holmes history, Enola Holmes does just that, with a premise that, instead of focusing on Sherlock, tells the story of his sister Enola.

The star-studded cast includes Superman actor Henry Cavill as the original Holmes, and Stranger Things veteran Millie Bobby Brown as Enola. Alongside them are lesser known actor like Burn Gorman, who plays the hired assassin Linthorn — and while you might not know Gorman's name, you've seen him in a few places before.

Gorman betrayed the Night's Watch on Game of Thrones

Over the course of eight seasons filled with (mostly) hour-long episodes, hundreds of characters left their mark on Game of Thrones. Big players like Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) transcend the show, but not every character needs as much screen time to leave an impact of their own. Burn Gorman's Karl Tanner is one such character.

A member of the Night's Watch, Tanner is one of many who journeys north of the Wall as part of the Great Ranging, an expedition meant to unveil a number of mysteries involving the wildlings and the wights. Things don't go well, however, and in the Night Watch's retreat, Craster's Keep is a haven of food and rest — or, at least, it's supposed to be. Tensions rise high enough that Tanner stages a mutiny that results in the death of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo). Gorman imbues the traitor with a sinister air, making things like drinking out of a skull seem disturbingly natural.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) eventually returns to bring the mutineers to justice, but Tanner won't go down quietly. He's deadly with a pair of daggers, employing a crude but brutally effective fighting style Snow hasn't encountered before. Tanner quickly overwhelms the young hero, and only a surprise stab in the back by one of Craster's former wives saves Snow — though Snow does land the killing blow. Without this introduction to non-honorable fighting techniques, Snow would've died many times afterwards. Honoring Gorman's lack of honor in the role means rooting for Snow.

Gorman mathematically analyzed his foes in Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim pays homage to the many kaiju films that came before it, checking off all the boxes for everything fans of such stories could want: nightmarish monsters of initially unknown origin, building-sized mechas called Jaegers to combat them, and a general sense of campiness. The movie performed better internationally than it did in the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo, but that's no fault of the actors and actresses who bring the story to life.

Gorman is one of those actors, playing Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, a man who lives by the numbers — literally. Having written the code for the first Jaeger models, he is nothing less than a mathematical genius. Devoting his life to equations doesn't make him much of a people person, though, which is painfully evident in both the way he dresses and the twitchy, impatient manner with which Gorman plays him.

No one tests his patience more than Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day), a scientist working with him on a twofold mission: dig up the kaijus' weakness, and understand the nature of the inter-universal breach they came from. Gottlieb is a stickler for solving these mysteries numerically, whereas Geiszler's enthusiasm for kaiju leads him to employ more direct research methods. Their introverted-extroverted dynamic livens up scenes packed with exposition and lore, both actors playing off the diametrically opposed energy of the other. Of course, only by working in tandem can they succeed, and their reconciliation proves fruitful indeed, leading to the kaijus' defeat.

Gorman played a doctor in a Doctor Who spinoff

If the Doctor Who franchise is famous for anything (and it's famous for a lot of things), it's just how long it's been running and how expansive it's become as a result. The sci-fi epic has been killing it since 1963, branching out to encompass basically every form of media imaginable, from cartoons to radio dramas. Among its most significant divergences is Torchwood, a spin-off TV series focused around Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a character who first appears in the 2005 iteration of Doctor Who. 

Leading a team of alien hunters, Harkness brings on medical officer Owen Harper, played by Gorman, after the latter's girlfriend is killed by an alien parasite that latched onto her brain. As Harper, Gorman played quite a different doctor than he does as Gottlieb: womanizing whenever he gets the chance, cracking jokes, and letting his anger get the best of him. That sort of personality is a magnet for trouble, but the team wouldn't have been the same without him. Indeed, Harper certainly made his mark, despite only being on two of the show's four seasons, and Torchwood still stands as some of Gorman's best work to date. The actor's stint as the free-spirited doctor earned him nominations for best actor at the SyFy Portal Genre Awards and the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.

Karl Tanner, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, and Owen Harper are just the tip of Gorman's iceberg, though, as they reveal an impressive range beneath the waves. Who knows where we'll see him next, after Enola Holmes?