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Why Darrin Schwartz From NCIS: Hawai'i Looks So Familiar

This article contains spoilers for "NCIS: Hawai'i" Season 1, Episode 19.

The "NCIS: Hawai'i" episode "Nurture" has the squad face down the island's own "Tiger King" figure – Darrin Schwartz — after a group of exotic animals wash up on the shores of Oahu and threaten its natural biodiversity. The animals end up there after a shipwreck and they kill a sailor responding to the emergency. Schwartz refuses to take the blame for the death of the sailor, but the way he runs his sanctuary has left him a target for law enforcement anyway. He heads off to jail and entreats Wally Holman (Moses Goods) to take care of his beloved dog, Pepper, while he's in the clink. 

It turns out that Darrin's completely innocent of importing the animals; the real culprits behind the crime are a group of bioterrorists attempting to use the creatures to spread an antibiotic-resistant form of anthrax across the island to disrupt a meeting of the International Tourism Board. The team races against time to bust the bioterrorism ring and save Hawai'i before it becomes ground zero for a mass casualty event.

The actor who plays Darrin is an incredibly familiar face whose appearances in movies, sitcoms, and reality shows over the years have made him a popular household name.

Bronson Pinchot got a 'risky' start in show business

If you lived through the 1980s or the 1990s, it's likely that character actor Bronson Pinchot is an extremely familiar face to you. Per IMDb, the actor started out strong with a supporting role in the Tom Cruise vehicle "Risky Business" in 1983, and he hasn't slowed down since. 

Pinchot's screen debut had him playing Barry, the best friend of Joel Goodsen (Cruise). Barry reaps the rewards of Joel's choice to have a wild week while his parents are out of town, which devolves into a race against time when Joel's mother's Steuben glass egg is stolen by Guido (Joe Pantoliano), the pimp of Lana (Rebecca De Mornay), a sex worker Joel impulsively hires. While things spiral out of control for Joel, all the while Barry is there, egging on his best friend's behavior, supporting his decisions, and partying alongside him.

This strong start led Pinchot to a series of high-profile roles, including that of Alfred Schultz in the Matt Dillon-starring comedy "The Flamingo Kid." But even bigger things were around the corner for Pinchot.

Serge made him a star

One of Pinchot's most recognizable early roles is that of the flamboyant Serge, art gallery worker and eventual owner of Serge's Survival Boutique, who encounters Detroit cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) in the blockbuster action-comedy hit "Beverly Hills Cop." The part only lasts for a single scene, but Serge became such a popular figure in the film series that he eventually returned in "Beverly Hills Cop III" with an expanded role. Pinchot also shows up in the music video for the Pointer Sisters' version of "The Neutron Dance," which is on the first film's soundtrack, though he doesn't play Serge in the promotional piece.

The rapport between Foley and Serge was memorable enough to make Pinchot recognizable and it changed the actor's life, as Pinchot was living below the poverty level at the time. "I would go to the grocery store, and people would follow me up and down the aisles. Even now when I remember it, it seems unreal," he told Forbes in 2019. The film definitely broke Pinchot into the mainstream; after it became a huge hit, he landed a supporting role in the sex comedy "Hot Resort" and a minor role in the Martin Scorsese dramedy "After Hours." He also made his first appearance on television screens worldwide, portraying the supporting role of Dennis Kemper in the short-lived Geena Davis sitcom "Sara." 

Loveable Balki cemented his legacy

That's Pinchot as the adorable Myposian immigrant Balki Bartokomous in the hit ABC sitcom "Perfect Strangers." Balki arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, recent Wisconsin transplant Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), hours after Larry settles into his new apartment in Chicago. Balki announces that he's arrived to share Larry's digs, news the tightly-wound wannabe journalist takes in with barely-muffled horror. But in spite of Larry's misgivings, over the years the two cousins form a bond that's akin to brotherhood as they share a home, pursue their career goals, and try to find true love. All of this in spite of their entirely opposing personalities, with Larry being the dry-eyed cynic and Balki the innocent, wide-eyed dreamer.

The series lasted for eight seasons, following Larry and Balki into duel marriages, homeownership, and fatherhood. It spun off an equally-successful sitcom ("Family Matters"), became a big part of ABC's "TGIF" lineup of Friday night sitcoms, and is poised to see a reboot series via HBO Max. Balki even spawned his own memorable catchphrase: "Don't be ridiculous."

Between seasons of "Perfect Strangers," Pinchot continued to appear in off-kilter pieces which were nothing like his role as the naïve Balki. He was the titular Bellboy in "Blame it on the Bellboy," appeared with fellow sitcom vet John Larroquette in the paranormal comedy "Second Sight," and portrayed callow aspiring actor Elliot Blitzer, who becomes tangled up in brokering a cocaine deal gone south in the romantic action drama "True Romance."

He got his own show and became a member of the First Wives Club

Once "Perfect Strangers" finally closed up shop for good, Pinchot was given a series of his own, "The Trouble With Larry," a CBS sitcom which lasted for seven episodes and featured Pinchot as Larry Burton, a man who tries to returns to his previous life after being dragged off by baboons on his honeymoon and presumed dead. Unfortunately, his wife and friends have happily moved on without him. This wouldn't be Pinchot's last shot at a starring sitcom role.

He subsequently took on the role of Kyle Griffin, aka The Prankster, in two episodes of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and showed up as Craig Toomy in two chapters of the ABC TV miniseries adaption of Stephen King's "The Langoliers." He had a supporting role in the Denzel Washington/Meg Ryan military drama "Courage Under Fire" as Bruno, a White House aide who must help determine whether or not soldier Karen Walden (Ryan) is worthy of a posthumous Medal of Honor.

This very serious role contrasted with his appearance the same year in "The First Wives Club" as Duarto Feliz, the boss of Brenda Morelli-Cushman (Bette Midler) and an oblivious and — via even Brenda's judgment — terrible interior designer who nevertheless becomes a major part of the antics of Brenda and her friends Elise Eliot-Atchison (Goldie Hawn) and Annie MacDuggan-Paradis (Diane Keaton). 

He returned to sitcoms with Step By Step

Pinchot soon joined the cast of another iconic former "TGIF" sitcom, "Step By Step" in 1997 when it moved to CBS. Pinchot was called in as Carol Lambert's (Suzanne Somers) colorful coworker and business partner at her hair salon, Jean-Luc Rieupeyroux. Jean-Luc was intended in part to fill the void left behind by Sasha Mitchell when he departed his role as goofball Cody Lambert in 1995. Instead, the character served to make Carol's construction worker husband, Frank (Patrick Duffy) jealous with his suave manners and French accent. He also failed to be helpful whenever Frank or Carol needed help with their blended brood, though all of the kids grew to love Jean-Luc's incredibly daffy ways. Jean-Luc recurred throughout the show's sixth season, adding to the Lambert family's antics for 24 episodes, but disappeared for its seventh.

Pinchot's time on "Step by Step" helped served as yet another springboard for his career. In 1997 he headed another CBS sitcom, "Meego," in which he played a space alien who ends up becoming a nanny for the Parker family, including a young Jonathan Lipnicki and Michelle Trachtenberg. Unfortunately, "Meego," like "The Trouble With Larry," only lasted for a single season.

The 2000s were no-less prolific for Pinchot, but the projects weren't as high profile. He had a prolonged stint in reality television and has enjoyed stable work as a voice actor for many years. He has had several guest roles in procedurals like "Law & Order Criminal Intent" and "Hawaii Five-0", appeared on the soap opera "The Young and the Restless" for six episodes, and had a short stint on "Ray Donavan," among other projects. His next major role, though, would put him right in the crosshairs of one very wicked witch.

He chilled Sabrina Spellman's bones

In the first season of Netflix's "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," Pinchot had a major role portraying George Hawthorne, principal of Baxter High. Hawthorne's chilly, authoritarian behavior put him square in the sights of Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) when he refuses to help her friend Theo (Lachlan Watson), who is being bullied. Sabrina sends a swarm of spiders to attack Hawthorne, which temporarily traumatizes him because he's afraid of arachnids. He's also shown to be puritanical, rejecting a teacher's request to teach Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eyes" in her classroom. And he refuses to allow Sabrina to form a school club, WICCA, but she ultimately manipulates him into getting her way.

Sabrina's Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) later learns Hawthorne's dark secret – he absorbed his twin in the womb and the impression of his late brother still exists on his stomach. Hawthorne later turns his romantic attention toward Ms. Wardwell (Michelle Gomez), who has been taken over by Lilith/Madame Satan. When he tries to make a move on her, he learns Lilith's secret – and is promptly eaten alive. Ms. Wardwell resultantly names herself the school's new principal.

Bronson Pinchot has had a fascinating career that's spanned from stage to screen to television — and its lack of predictability definitely leaves viewers wondering which move he'll make next.