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Why Pope From The Walking Dead Looks So Familiar

"The Walking Dead" has introduced hundreds of characters during its run on AMC, and even though the show is currently airing its 11th and final season, the show is still capable of bringing in compelling new faces.

One of those newcomers is Pope, who's quickly emerging as one of the main villains. A veteran of the War in Afghanistan, Pope is now the leader of the Reapers, the highly professional and ultra-dangerous gang of survivors that's currently threatening both Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl's (Norman Reedus) groups. The character was first mentioned back in Season 10, and he'll be appearing in four episodes during Season 11.

Pope is played by British actor Ritchie Coster in one of his first appearances in a horror series. Coster usually plays criminal types, especially ones connected to organized crime. If you enjoy crime dramas with a lot of action, chances are you've seen him in one of these roles.

He was the crime boss Mr. Blue on Happy!

Before his appearance on "The Walking Dead," Coster's most recent starring role was on the SyFy dark comedy series, "Happy!" The show stars Christopher Meloni as Nick, a disgraced cop and part-time hitman who begins hallucinating a tiny blue floating unicorn named Happy, a figment of a kidnapped girl's imagination that's voiced by Patton Oswalt. Coster plays the crime boss "Mr. Blue" Scaramucci, Nick's former boss and current nemesis. 

Coster was interviewed by the Actor's Audience in 2017, right before the series debuted. "It's as strange and as silly as [it] sounds, but I think it's great, and it's got a lovely dark, dark sensibility to it," he said. "It's fantastical, and I'll be giving my usual mob boss performance." While Coster is used to playing "heavy" types, this role did allow him to be a lot more silly than usual. 

He played the corrupt mayor in True Detective Season 2

Ritchie Coster had one of the breakout roles on the second season of HBO's "True Detective," which starred Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon, a gangster trying to go legitimate, and Colin Farrell, a detective of the fictional city of Vinci, California, along with Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch. Coster played Mayor Austin Chessani, the constantly drunk mayor of Vinci, who was heavily involved in the city's sordid criminal underbelly.

While Coster did model some of his performance off real California politicians, he mostly relied on his training to play the inebriated character. "That the way to appear drunk is to try and be sober. It does make sense. You're always trying to speak properly, stand up straight, keep your act together. So when you're acting it, you put a little extra pronunciation on the words, a little more deliberation with the gestures, try to keep your eyes wide open," he told The New York Times.

Coster also admitted that the role is a bit different than the typical characters he plays. "He's not as bad as the characters I usually play. I often play the bad guy — a terrorist or a serial killer," he said. "This guy's a drunk mayor. That's pretty gentle on my scale."

He's played lots of other mobsters and criminals

As he's admitted many times, Ritchie Coster's bread and butter characters are gangsters, terrorists, murderers, and all sorts of other traditional bad guys. One of his most well-known roles was in Christopher Nolan's 2008 Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight," which starred Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader, Heath Ledger as the Joker, along with Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman. During the Joker's rise to power in the movie, he clashes with Gotham City's various criminal gangs, eventually eliminating all of them. Coster's gang leader character was called the Chechen, an associate of Carmine Falcone's who controlled the drug trade.

Some of his other widely seen "heavy" type roles include the terrorist Anslo Garrick on "The Black List," and mob boss Michael Bianchi on "Shades of Blue." He's also appeared on four "Law & Order" series — the original show plus "Special Victims Unit," "Criminal Intent," and "Trial by Jury."

Coster told The Actor's Audience that he enjoys when he's able to branch out and play characters that go against his type, but ultimately if "if the heavy keeps coming my way for the rest of my career, then that's fine, it's still a joy."