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Why Ronald Booth From Chicago P.D. Looks So Familiar

It's often strange, running into a face from your past years after you thought you were done with one another. 

Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) gets the worst possible version of this in the Season 5 "Chicago P.D." episode "Ghosts," when a bad guy that she helped put away during a stint undercover, Ron Booth, shows up in the city after his release, back to his old ways. She resumes her undercover identity in an effort to nail him again, despite the fact that she had to fight off his attempted sexual assault last time. The tension between them, and Upton's partner Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) concern for her safety, powers much of the episode. 

There's a good chance the actor who played Booth is a familiar face to most of the audience, even if you don't know his name. Titus Welliver has played all kinds of cops and robbers over his three decades in Hollywood, but his career didn't stop there, spreading to fantasy, science fiction, and the Old West. Here are some places you might recognize him from. 

Titus Welliver played a literal cutthroat on Deadwood

Welliver worked steadily from his debut in 1990, but in the first decade of his career, he owed most of his biggest parts to what became a lengthy working relationship with the TV creator David Milch, who cast him in "NYPD Blue" as well as the short-lived series "Brooklyn South" and "Big Apple," and finally his 2004 HBO Western series "Deadwood."

On "Deadwood," Welliver played henchman Silas Adams, who enters the series as a collector for Magistrate Claggett (Marshall Bell) but switches sides to work for Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) when the latter pays him to murder his old boss. From there, he becomes one of Swearengen's chief lieutenants, aiding and abetting all manner of his boss' old conspiracies.

The experience, Welliver said, helped him grow, just as his past encounters with Milch had. "David has always presented me with characters that completely change me as an actor," he told The Off Camera Show. "I would learn a staggering amount about not only myself as an individual but also as an actor."

Silas survives to the end of "Deadwood" the series, but unfortunately scheduling commitments prevented him from rejoining the cast for "Deadwood: The Movie" in 2019.

Titus Welliver went back to Boston for Gone Baby Gone

In 2007, fresh off his turn in "Deadwood," Titus Welliver jumped to perhaps his biggest film role yet, in first-time director Ben Affleck's 2007 crime thriller "Gone Baby Gone."

Welliver (and his mustache) played Lionel McCready, brother of the grieving mother Helene (Amy Ryan) and uncle of the kidnapped Amanda (Madeline O'Brien) who, it turns out, helped stage the kidnapping with a pair of corrupt cops (Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman) in order to get Helene to give up the drug money she stole.

It was a part Welliver never thought he'd land, given his history and his state at the time. "I was shooting 'Deadwood' at the time so I had hair down to my shoulders and a beard to the middle of my chest, so I thought, 'I'm not gonna get this part.'" Welliver told The Rich Eisen Show. "I had lived in Boston and lived in Maine ... I knew the dialect, I knew the world that these characters lived in."

Welliver said he was "lucky" that Affleck cast him in the part, but it would be the beginning of a fruitful working relationship for both men. Welliver would go on to appear in every other film Affleck has directed thus far — playing a detective in 2010's "The Town," a government official in 2012's "Argo," and a mob boss in 2016's "Live By Night."

Titus Welliver was the big bad of Lost

In 2009, Titus Welliver joined another TV smash hit when he played the Man in Black, aka the human form of the Smoke Monster which had been haunting the crash survivors since the beginning of "Lost."

It was an interesting part for an actor to take on. The mystery behind the character was one of the show's longest-running and most confounding, raising many questions throughout. I.E., what's the deal with the mysterious smoke terrorizing the island? In what other forms has it appeared? What is its purpose, its motivation, its true form? Welliver was the answer, at least to this last question, playing the Man in Black as the brother of the equally mysterious Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) and chafing under the guidance of Mother (Allison Janney), who raises them on the island but forbids them to leave.

Welliver only got to play the part for three episodes, appearing once at the end of Season 5 and twice in Season 6. Much of the Man in Black's screen time came in two other forms, either as the giant cloud of black smoke, or when he takes on the form of John Locke (Terry O'Quinn). Still, Welliver told Looper in an exclusive 2021 interview that he still got people who recognized him on the street from his "Lost" days. "It's a great story. I've gone back during the pandemic and re-watched the series and it held up in a whole different way. And going back and revisiting it, I have to say, I saw it with different eyes. It had been a few years since I'd watched it and it still moved me and intrigued me and excited me in the same way that it did when I watched it the first time."

Titus Welliver hunted robots in disguise in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Around the same time as his "Lost" appearances, Titus Welliver also played two very different bad guys on two very different television series, "Sons of Anarchy" and "The Good Wife." And if you play enough bad dudes on enough well-received TV shows, then eventually you'll find yourself playing a bad dude in a blockbuster film, too. For Welliver, his chance came not in a spy franchise or a superhero movie (RIP, Ben Affleck-directed "Batman" film), but rather in Michael Bay's 2014 "Transformers: Age of Extinction." 

Welliver played one of the film's human villains, James Savoy, a CIA agent involved with the Cemetery Wind team tasked with destroying all Transformers on Earth — both Autobot and Decepticon, which means he spends much of the movie hunting Optimus Prime.

Welliver told PeopleTV's CouchSurfing that he'd never done such a physically demanding role –– one that required him to fight human protagonist Mark Wahlberg in one sequence. That scene ends with the pair on the roof of a building, which Welliver said was unfortunate for a pair of actors with the same phobia. "We both hate heights," he said. "At one point between takes we were both leaning against the wall just facing the wall because neither one of us wanted to turn around and look behind us to see the drop."

Titus Welliver made investigation an art form on Bosch

After decades as a valuable supporting player, 2014 saw Titus Welliver become a star when he signed on to lead Amazon Prime's police procedural "Bosch."

Based on a series of novels by the crime writer Michael Connelly, the show features Welliver as Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch, an LAPD detective and Army vet who spends the show's first season pursuing one murderer while also standing trial in a wrongful death lawsuit in which he shot a suspected serial killer. That season borrows elements from three of Connelly's books, spinning them together to keep the pressure high on Bosch and his colleagues on multiple different levels. The show would go on to get six more seasons following variations of that formula, with Bosch's personal and professional worlds meeting in messy ways, as well as his sense of justice versus the legal systems. 

Surprisingly, Welliver wasn't an obvious choice for the role, author Connelly told The Crew Reviews podcast. He said he and showrunner Eric Overmyer knew they needed someone who could project the character's internal world without making it too showy or deliberate, which, at the time, was a quality Connelly explained he had recently seen from Welliver in his performance in the short-lived Fox drama "Touch." But at their first casting meeting, he wasn't on the list. "I came from the book world; I'm not a TV guy. I'm like sweating, thinking, do I dare mention him?" Connelly remembered. 

He did bring it up, and the rest was history.