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Why Gary DeMayo From NCIS: Los Angeles Looks So Familiar

"NCIS: Los Angeles" returned this week for its fall finale after a two week hiatus, and with it came a new but familiar face. 

Actor Charles Malik Whitfield made his debut on the "NCIS" spin-off during its November 21 episode, entitled "Sundown," in which he appeared as Gary DeMayo, an unhinged father who takes five people hostage aboard a bus in an attempt to clear his daughter's name. The woman, a former marine, was accused of falling asleep while on guard duty in Afghanistan, leading to an incursion that left several wounded, including DeMayo's daughter, who later died by suicide. 

While Whitfield was just a guest star, eagle-eyed TV enthusiasts should be able to recognize the longtime actor immediately on account of all the work he's done on the small screen. Here's why Whitfield looks so familiar.

Charles Malik Whitfield played Otis Williams on NBC's The Temptations

In what was perhaps his most well-known role, Charles Malik Whitfield starred on the 1998 NBC miniseries "The Temptations," which earned him a nomination for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor. Whitfield was just 27 at the time and making his way up the Hollywood food chain with appearances in 1994's "Fresh" and hit shows "Law & Order" and "Touched by an Angel." But it was the New York native's performance as Otis Williams that's stuck with both fans and Whitfield, himself. 

"He was just very, very shorthanded, thoughtful and compassionate about how in which he was selective on being detailed about certain things, which told me everything about him," Whitfield explained to Twenty4Seven Magazine in 2019. "I love Otis. I still talk to him." 

Allan Arkush, director of "The Temptations" series, went on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Movie. The four-hour-long show managed to rake in 45 million viewers, according to Nielsen Ratings (via The Baltimore Sun). In comparison, "NCIS: Los Angeles" was only able to pull in 18.73 million viewers during its most watched episode of all time, which was the Season 1 premiere.

Whitfield has appeared on Empire and Supernatural

When it comes to television appearances, Charles Malik Whitfield doesn't like to pigeonhole himself. The veteran actor has appeared on multiple episodes of "Empire" as Reverend L.C. Price and also had a recurring role on "Supernatural" as Agent Victor Henriksen. 

"I'm always looking for material that allows me to look at new horizons, with relationships that are important to me," Whitfield told Christian Cinema in 2018 (via The Outsider). "I appreciate the commitment of the storytellers to the people around them because you want to help people succeed when they have integrity and dreams for what can happen."

Over the years, Whitfield has participated in a wide variety of TV projects. He's appeared on "American Horror Story," "Two and a Half Men," the UPN series "The Game," "Ghost Whisperer," and ABC's "Castle." He's also become a series regular on "Chicago Med," which he joined in 2019 as Ben Campbell. 

Whitfield has appeared in several movies, like Behind Enemy Lines

If television isn't your forte, than surely you've seen Charles Malik Whitfield in a movie or two throughout his career. He was one of the military men to help rescue Owen Wilson's character in "Behind Enemy Lines," and also appeared in 2009's "Notorious" biopic about Biggie Smalls.

Describing his performance and preparation for "Behind Enemy Lines," Whitfield told Twenty4Seven Magazine: "It was a phenomenal experience spending time at Camp Pendleton and training with all the marines out there on the base doing special training." Little did he know at the time was how much of an impact the military training would have on him and his career. 

"I don't think people, unless they've been out there on the field and they've been on the front lines, they don't have a great understanding of the courage and determination and the fortitude that our soldiers have," Whitfield explained. "It's really humbling truly a gracious and appreciative perspective that I have for our enlisted and our armed forces. So, doing the movie and not necessarily going through all of the different processes of true training as you might've gone for yourself and so many others. I am humbled beyond belief and also appreciative of the people that put their lives on the line."