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Why Commissioner Savage From The Batman Looks So Familiar

For all intents and purposes, "The Batman" may be the most focused, economical, and pared-down out of all the Caped Crusader's cinematic adventures yet. The film is drawing critical and fan raves for sticking to a bold, confident conception of Batman as a detective first and foremost, with large swaths of the plot taking the shape of a terse procedural-style whodunit.

But it's still a Batman movie, and as such, some sense of scale and magnitude comes with the territory. The ensemble cast, for instance, while mostly kept to an essential core of Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), the Penguin (Colin Farrell), and, of course, the Riddler (Paul Dano), also features plenty of relevant minor players, the better to drive home the outreach of the Riddler's actions. No character feels that more clearly than Gotham City PD Commissioner Pete Savage — and, if you were left with a nagging feeling that you've seen the actor who plays Savage somewhere before, we're here to answer where that might have been.

Alex Ferns was a legendary British soap villain on EastEnders

The history of British soap operas is as long and rich as that of British television at large — which is to say, quite long, and quite rich. And the most popular and eagerly-followed out of all UK soaps may be "EastEnders," the BBC One production about the residents of a fictional London borough that has been running steadily since 1985.

One of the long-running series' most popular arcs happened between 2001 and 2002, with the introduction of Trevor Morgan as a primary antagonist. The husband of Little Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth), Trevor was a physically and psychologically abusive spouse who showed increasingly cruel and psychopathic tendencies as his storyline progressed. His terrifyingly intimidating and altogether detestable behavior made him the UK's most hated soap villain at the time (via TCM Breaking News). For his part, Alex Ferns, the stage, film, and TV actor who played Trevor, won many awards for his performance (via IMDb), and became a legend of British TV.

He continued to leave his mark on the soap world with River City

The Scotland-born actor Alex Ferns (via The Herald) continued to appear in a lot of movies and on a lot of TV shows following his highly successful stint on "EastEnders." He was the lead of the short-lived ITV drama series "Making Waves," and the 2005 Oscar-nominated war drama "Joyeux Noël" also starred Ferns as Lieutenant Gordon (yes, the name similarity to a certain DC Comics character he'd later be bumping heads with is a total coincidence, but an amusing one). In the meantime, he also did a lot of stage work, including a Scottish production of Tom McGrath's "The Hard Man" in 2011 (via The Guardian).

In 2017, he got reacquainted with the soap opera audiences among whom he's remained a superstar since "EastEnders." This time over in his native Scotland, Ferns appeared on the BBC One Scotland soap "River City," which has been running since 2002. Once again, he put on his villain stockings to play a ruthless, unfathomably evil antagonist: the dreadful Rick Harper. His stint on "River City" was relatively short, though — he left in January 2018, after appearing in only nine episodes.

He won a BAFTA for his supporting turn on Chernobyl

HBO's "Chernobyl" was one of the most acclaimed miniseries of the past decade or so. The unflinching look it took, from many different angles, at the Chernobyl disaster and its far-reaching consequences struck a chord with both critics and audiences.

One of the series' smartest calls was structuring each of its five episodes around one particular story pertaining to the disaster, and Episode 3, "Open Wide, O Earth," told the story of the Tula coal miners. As a nuclear meltdown occurs within the Chernobyl Power Plant, a group of miners from the city of Tula are tasked with the absurdly dangerous mission to dig a tunnel and install a heat exchanger under the plant to cool it off before radioactive material leaks into the Pripyat and Dnieper rivers.

Alex Ferns plays Andrei Glukhov, the leader of the Tula coal mining crew — a role that, in true HBO fashion, notably required him to appear fully nude. For his performance on just this single episode, he won the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor – Television (via IMDb).

He was the wicked taskmaster Vic Collins on Netflix's The Irregulars

Netflix is distributing lots of original content worldwide, and that also applies to the storied TV industry of the United Kingdom. Just last year, in 2021, they released "The Irregulars," an unusual crime show that amalgamated mystery, drama and fantasy into a different kind of coming-of-age story. Although somewhat unexpectedly canceled after a single season, the show was well-liked by those who did see it, and it was also well-received by TV critics (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Based on Sherlock Holmes lore as laid out by Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Irregulars" focuses on a historically lateral group of characters, the Baker Street Irregulars. A group of impoverished street orphan teens with a great sense of unity and a taste for adventure, the Irregulars are hired by John Watson (Royce Pierreson) to solve crimes that gradually reveal themselves as supernatural. Alex Ferns had a rather substantial role, appearing on 4 out of 8 episodes as Vic Collins, the authoritarian and sadistic taskmaster of a workhouse that used to house the Irregulars.