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Why Detective Kevin Raines From Death Wish Looks So Familiar

In 2018, fresh off writing and serving as executive producer for the 2016 remake of his own debut feature film, "Cabin Fever," director Eli Roth decided to get back in the driver's seat and do some remaking of his own. He set his sights on the 1974 action crime drama classic "Death Wish," starring Charles Bronson as a man who operates outside the law after his wife is killed and his daughter is assaulted in a robbery gone wrong. With action-movie ace Joe Carnahan handling the screenplay, the "Death Wish" remake features Bruce Willis in the role of Paul Kersey, taking on the same character as Bronson's original. Willis' trauma surgeon character is similarly traumatized when his wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) and daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone) are the victims of a home invasion, with Lucy dying of her gunshot wounds and Jordan rendered comatose by her own.

Frustrated and unsatisfied by law enforcement's lack of progress in solving the case, Paul goes full vigilante and takes the law into his own hands, going after violent criminals whose victims end up in his emergency room and pursuing any lead he can find on his family's assailants. As he's getting his kill on and shooting his way to the truth, some of his stolen belongings from the scene of his extracurricular activities lead the police investigating the Kersey home invasion to question Paul. 

While many of the plot points and motifs in "Death Wish" should seem pretty familiar to anyone who's seen a vigilante action movie, viewers should also recognize Detective Kevin Raines, the police investigator tasked with solving Lucy's murder. He's played by veteran actor Dean Norris in one of his many law enforcement roles. Here's why Detective Kevin Raines from "Death Wish" looks so familiar.

Norris is the one who really saved the day in Starship Troopers

After about a solid decade in various law enforcement roles, Dean Norris transitioned to an important role in Federal Military Service. In 1997, Paul Verhoeven's cult sci-fi action flick "Starship Troopers" was released upon a world not quite ready for the satirical tale of military fascism and gooey alien insect explosions. It was mostly panned by critics upon its theatrical release, though history has been kinder to the film, which spawned two direct-to-video sequels, an animated series and two animated features. The 1997 film follows Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) in his journey through the Federation's Mobile Infantry after enlisting because his ex-girlfriend, Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), wanted to be a pilot for the Fleet. While training to fight the alien menace, Rico washes out of basic training after an unfortunate mishap, though he reconsiders after a massive attack levels his hometown. 

Dean Norris appears in a pivotal role with a character name that doesn't befit the magnitude of his influence. As "Commanding Officer," he's responsible for allowing Rico back into the mobile infantry, despite him having already signed the paperwork to quit. It's pretty important, considering there's no real second or third act without Rico. But when Sergeant Zim (Clancy Brown) — Rico's squad instructor — wants to get back to fighting, Commanding Officer tells him he'd have to have his rank reduced to private in order to do so. 

As viewers know, that's exactly what Zim did, ultimately capturing the Brain Bug on Planet P. But Commanding Officer is the true hero of the story, having saved the movie by allowing Johnny to return to service and inspiring Zim to drop to private, enabling him to accomplish great things. Such a pivotal role and Dean Norris' character didn't even get a name.

He played an important role in the 1998 action thriller The Negotiator

Dean Norris played another important role in the thrilling hostage action flick "The Negotiator," though he did blend into the background a bit, considering the star power of the film's brilliant ensemble cast. Samuel L. Jackson leads the main cast as police hostage negotiator Danny Roman, a brave tactician beloved by his colleagues and co-workers — including his partner Nate Roenick (Paul Guilfoyle), who tells him that members of their Chicago PD unit are embezzling money from the department's disability fund. But just because Roman's fellow officers like him doesn't put him above suspicion when Nate is killed and he's the only other live person on the scene. He is forced to take extreme action when it becomes clear the deck is being stacked against him; that means taking hostages of his own and he'll only deal with fellow negotiator Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), whose MO is to use force only as a last result, something Roman hopes to exploit in his quest to clear his name.

All of a sudden, Roman's co-workers are a lot less sympathetic, evident by the S.W.A.T. team breach ordered by Commander Adam Beck (David Morse), which is when we meet Dean Norris' character, Scott, one of two S.W.A.T. officers at now the hostage taker's mercy when the breach goes awry. Scott isn't around for long, though, as Roman seemingly kills him, emphasis on "seemingly." When Roman gets Inspector Terence Niebaum (J.T. Walsh) to confess what he knows about the embezzlement scheme, he also gets him killed. Niebaum's death, combined with the fact that Roman didn't take Scott's life — only his uniform, as seen in the above image — earns him some valuable faith with his negotiator Sabian, who can tell something is not right in the scenario. 

Dean Norris shook things up in the Tremors series

Dean Norris may have been on-hand for the first installment of the campy series "Starship Troopers" would become, but he joined the "Tremors" franchise long after its well-liked first installment came out in 1990. The original starred Kevin Bacon and Burt Ward as Val and Earl, two Mr. Fix-it types in the tiny desert town of Perfection, Nevada, which becomes ground zero for a series of attacks by giant subterranean monsters they dub Graboids. Singer Reba McEntire and "Family Ties" actor Michael Gross offer support in the first film as the gun-happy couple Burt and Heather Gummer. Ward and Gross returned for the 1996 direct-to-video sequel, "Tremors 2: Aftershocks," with Gross aboard for the third installment, 2001's "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection," along with other supporting characters from the first film. The 2003 "Tremors" television series on Syfy directly followed the events of the third film and is when Norris joins the action as Agent W.D. Twitchell.

Norris trades in his police uniform and military fatigues for the suit of a government man, with his agency flunky character assigned to monitor the area surrounding Perfection Valley. He works for the Department of the Interior's division in charge of monitoring endangered species — did we mention Graboids are now protected and an albino Graboid named El Blanco is now a member of the community? — and lives in Bixby in a home built by real estate developer Melvin Plug (Robert Jayne), the punk kid from the first film who still wants to buy Burt's land to develop a town after he refused to sell it in the third film. Twitchell hates the assignment but hopes it will help him move up the ladder and go on to bigger and better things. While he's clearly not happy to be anywhere near the town, his actions and choices generally benefit Perfection and its townsfolk.

Norris was collateral damage when his brother-in-law broke bad

AMC's incredible crime-drama series "Breaking Bad" — considered among the best shows in television history by many — offered Dean Norris perhaps the most notable role of his career. When high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer shortly after he turned 50, he develops a life of on the wrong side of the law, cooking meth with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in order to meet his medical bills and provide for his family. One of the many problems standing in his way is his brother-in-law, Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) of the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose job it is to bust criminals in the drug trade. Awkward.

Norris appeared in all five seasons of "Breaking Bad," playing the husband to Marie (Betsy Brandt), the sister of Walter's wife Skyler (Anna Gunn). It's a dangerous familial relationship, resulting in his hard-nosed character being shot four times by the Salamanca brothers Marco and Leonel (Luis and Daniel Moncada) and eventually killed by white supremacist Jack Welker (Michael Bowen). 

While some actors struggle with being typecast, it's not something that seems to bother Norris. He discussed the ease with which he's able to play members of law enforcement in an AMC Q&A. "Having played so many cops, I've talked with a lot of technical advisers, so I've been able to pick up a lot." he said. "Coincidentally, one of my best friends growing up is a cop in Chicago, and one of my other best friends out in LA is a sheriff. So I get to see all the components of that culture."

He plays Uncle Daddy on Claws

In an absolutely stunning departure, Dean Norris was cast as a the kingpin and patriarch of a family in the Dixie Mafia on TNT's crime dramedy "Claws," which follows the exploits of a handful of nail techs involved in organized crime. Desna (Niecy Nash) owns the Nail Artisans salon and is romantically involved with Dwayne "Roller" Husser (Jack Kesy), who's a member of the Husser Crime family. Polly (Carrie Preston) is Desna'a loyal adjutant, a former con artist and recent parolee. "Quiet Ann" (Judy Reyes) is the group's enforcer, Virginia (Karrueche Tran) is a former stripper, and Jennifer (Jenn Lyon) is a recovering addict and wife to Roller's brother, Bryce (Kevin Rankin), who gets in on the life of crime when Roller is believed to have been killed — of course, Desna and Virginia are the ones who tried to do that particular dirty deed.

Dean Norris plays the colorful Clay "Uncle Daddy" Husser, owner of the She She's strip club, whose nephews are Roller and Bryce and whose criminal dealings are in the illicit trade of prescription painkillers. He's struggling to bring the Husser family back into power, with a Russian criminal syndicate standing in his path. With so many credits on the right side of the law, it's a part Norris relished playing. "I can't tell you how much fun I am having playing this part," he told Paste Magazine. "I am thrilled every day I go to work. It's so much fun — not only the part, but also the people I get to work with. You never know what your next job brings and you hope it's going to be this or that. This has been all that I've expected and more."