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Why Colonel Rick Flag In The Suicide Squad Looks So Familiar

James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" has officially debuted in theaters and on HBO Max. The soft reboot of David Ayer's "Suicide Squad" is chock-full of colorful characters, from the murderous Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) to the lovable — but also murderous — King Shark (Sylvester Stallone). Needless to say, the DC villains get a lot of the focus in "The Suicide Squad," but when they drop into Corto Maltese, there's one man who goes with them to keep them all in check.

Colonel Rick Flag is a DC character whose history in the comics dates back to 1959. A principled and decorated war hero, he is routinely tasked with taking Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, into battle and keeping them on task so they can complete their missions. The silver screen iteration of the character first debuted in 2016's "Suicide Squad", and he returns for James Gunn's sequel. If you think you have seen him before in other films and television projects, that's because he's played by Swedish American actor Joel Kinnaman. Let's dive into his resume to see where you've seen him before.

Joel Kinnaman played Stephen Holder In The Killing

Though already an established actor in Sweden for a number of years prior, Joel Kinnaman arguably made his first substantial impression on mainstream American audiences in 2011 with the premiere of AMC's "The Killing." Based on a Danish TV series, the crime thriller featured the future Rick Flag as homicide detective Stephen Holder. Largely focused on a buddy cop dynamic between Holder and his partner Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), the series offered up plenty of moody murder mysteries over the course of its four seasons on the air.

However, "The Killing" also had a somewhat tumultuous lifespan over the course of its four seasons on the small screen, even with the positive critical acclaim it received from critics at the time. Cancelled after Season 3, the series subsequently found itself on life support when Netflix swooped in to pick it up. However, after one more season at the streaming service, "The Killing" was once again cancelled.

Joel Kinnaman played Christer Malm In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

One of Joel Kinnaman's earliest and most prominent appearances in an American film came in 2011's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" under the direction of "Fight Club" director David Fincher. The film centers on Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a reporter who partners with computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) to solve the mystery of 40-year cold case. In the film, Kinnaman plays Christer Malm, a colleague of Blomkvist at Millennium.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" received widespread critical acclaim and remains a fan-favorite adaptation to this very day. Many fans clamored for a sequel that would adapt the other books in the Millennium series. Still, they ultimately never came together, and the franchise eventually wound up in the hands of Fede Alvarez for the pseudo reboot, "The Girl in the Spider's Web," which was released in 2018. Joel Kinnaman's role in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was relatively small, but knowing that Christer Malm plays a more prominent role in the other books in the series, it's safe to say that he probably would have returned if Fincher had made more movies.

Joel Kinnaman played Alex Murphy In the Robocop remake

In 2014 Joel Kinnaman finally got a shot at a big budget take on a beloved property, when he inherited the role of Alex Murphy from Hollywood legend Peter Weller ... or, in other words, he took on the titular role in the "RoboCop" remake, which featured a stacked cast with such major stars as Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, and Samuel L. Jackson. 

The 2014 version of the Paul Verhoeven classic shared many plot similarities with the 1987 original of the same name, but updated the hero with a sleeker look, and a more modern narrative, while dropping the biting satire, over-the-top violence, and dark humor of the original. Unfortunately, the "RoboCop" remake did not generate the crossover success that many hoped it would. What was intended to start a new franchise ultimately did not go anywhere, and Kinnaman went on to other projects after the film's release. Rumors about a new "RoboCop" movie have swirled for quick some time, but there's little to no indication that Kinnaman will be involved in that project.

Joel Kinnaman played Will Conway In House Of Cards

Joel Kinnaman has appeared in a few major Netflix original shows, with one of the most notable being  "House of Cards" –- a series executive produced by David Fincher, who had previously directed Kinnaman in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." 

In "House of Cards," Kinnaman portrayed Will Conway, a Republican Governor of the state of New York, and a nominee for President during the 2016 election. During his tenure on the series, Conway is positioned as a rival to Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood. 

Introduced in Season 4, Will Conway was a frequent sight on "House of Cards" until the end of Season 5. In total, he appeared in 26 episodes of the Netflix series. The series continued for one more season after the firing of Kevin Spacey (when the focus shifted to Robin Wright's Claire Underwood), but Kinnaman did not play a major role in the final season.

Joel Kinnaman played Takeshi Kovacs In Altered Carbon

Netflix's cyberpunk series "Altered Carbon" takes place over three centuries years in the future, and establishes a world in which a human's conscious mind can be digitized and implanted into a new body. In the series, Joel Kinnaman portrays a character named Takeshi Kovacs, a warrior-turned-prisoner whose mind is implanted into a new body and released from jail to investigate a murder. 

The series ran for two seasons and was cancelled in 2020. Despite the two season run, Joel Kinnaman only played a major role in Season 1, but for an understandable reason: Due to the sci-fi conceit of consciousness implants, the character was recast in Season 2 with "Falcon and The Winter Soldier" star Anthony Mackie in the lead role. As a result, Kinnaman only appeared in flashback sequences during the second season.

Of course, while those are just some of the films and TV shows that you might know Joel Kinnaman from, he continues to work and act, meaning he will likely continue giving us great performances for year to come. For now, you can check out his latest performance in "The Suicide Squad," which is currently in theaters and on HBO Max.