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Why Capt. John Williams From Panic Looks So Familiar

"Panic" is a brand new Amazon series that puts a deadly spin on a familiar coming of age tale. It's set in the town of Carp, Texas, an out of the way hamlet where every year, the graduating class of high school seniors has to participate in a series of challenges. If they win, they get big cash prizes. But if they lose, they pay with their lives. So, it's kind of like "The Hunger Games" meets "The Running Man," with a dash of "Saved by the Bell."

If you're enjoying "Panic," you might be wondering why you recognize the actor who plays Captain John Williams, the head of Carp's police department. His name is Todd Williams, and he's a regular fixture on primetime dramas: Williams often plays police officers, or law enforcement officials in general, so Captain Williams isn't much of a stretch — even aside from the fact that they share a surname. But Todd Williams has been working steadily as an actor since 2001, and he's even played some people who don't carry a badge.

Here's where you may know him from.

Todd Williams' first role as a series regular role was on ESPN's Tilt

In the early 2000s, ESPN made a brief foray into sports-themed scripted programming. "Tilt" was a nine-episode miniseries about Texas Hold 'Em poker, which was growing in popularity at the time. In Hold 'Em, being "on tilt" means letting your emotions get in the way of your judgment. The series was about a group of poker players who have all been wronged by a murderous professional gambler and gangster named Don "The Matador" Everest (Michael Madsen) and work together to bring him down.

Williams played Clark Marcellin, a flashy young poker pro who joined the revenge plot with the goal of eliminating The Matador from competition. Eventually, Marcellin informed on The Matador to the FBI, which helped bring him down. 

ESPN ditched its plans for original programming in 2007 (per The Hollywood Reporter), but Todd Williams went on to bigger and better things.

Todd Williams was an antagonistic homicide detective on In Plain Sight

"In Plain Sight" was a drama series that lasted five seasons on the USA Network, airing from 2008 to 2012. It was a cop show set in Albuquerque that took a look at one of the less heralded sectors in law enforcement, the U.S. Marshals' WITSEC program, which most people know as the Federal Witness Protection Program. Mary McCormack played Deputy U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon, a capable officer whose personal life was a mess.

After "Tilt," Williams had made many guest appearances on primetime dramas, including both "CSI" and "CSI: Miami," but 'In Plain Sight' was his next role as a series regular. He played Detective Robert Dershowtiz, an Albuquerque homicide investigator nicknamed "Bobby D." Although Bobby D and Mary were on the same side, Bobby didn't appreciate WITSEC's policy of giving criminals new lives in exchange for testimony, and he and Mary often butted heads. Williams appeared frequently on 'In Plain Sight's' first two seasons, from the pilot onward.

Todd Williams was Isaac Joiner on The Chicago Code

In 2012, Fox aired 'The Chicago Code,' a police procedural set in the Windy City — an ideal setting for a cop shop, since Chicago's history of corruption dates back to the 19th century (via Slate). The main character was Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke), a Chicago cop with Polish heritage who was assigned to a task force battling that corruption. Wysocki also came from a big family of police officers. His brother was a cop killed in action, and his niece Vonda (Devin Kelley) has just joined the force. 

Todd Williams played Isaac Joiner, Vonda's partner and fellow rookie. Williams described the character in an interview with Assignment X: "He's just an overly confident type of cop that happens to be addicted to the adrenaline that comes from the job. He loves danger, he loves the runnin' and gunnin', he loves catching people and getting shot at, so a lot of times, he's running into these sorts of situations."

Since Isaac was constantly putting Vonda in more danger than necessary, he was a constant source of worry for Jarek. Isaac and Vonda eventually started dating, but the show was canceled after one season, so the relationship ended there.

He played Lola's better half on All Rise

"All Rise" was an inspirational CBS drama that premiered in fall 2019. It starred Simone Missick as Judge Lola Carmichael, a newly appointed judge in Los Angeles who isn't afraid to buck the system in the name of progress, especially when it comes to issues like systematic racism and inequality.

Williams played Lola's husband, Robin Taylor. This was another cop role for Williams: Robin is an FBI agent, but the character's main focus on the show is being Lola's spouse. The second season was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that Williams and Missick couldn't film many scenes together. "All Rise" explained Robin's absence by having him working in Washington D.C., but nonetheless, the couple still found time to have a baby by the end of the season.

Unfortunately, fans won't get to see Robin and Lola as new parents, because CBS canceled "All Rise" on May 17, 2021 (per Deadline).