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Why Armin Janko From Blue Bloods Looks So Familiar

Over the course of its run on CBS, "Blue Bloods" has become an institution. The show centers on the Reagan family, following their dynamic as a dynasty in the New York Police Department. That said, while the show primarily focuses on the Reagans, it has also amassed a broad range of other memorable characters -– both recurring and non-recurring. One such character is Armin Janko, an ex-financial advisor who eventually goes to jail for running a Ponzi scheme. Throughout his tenure on "Blue Bloods," Janko has, thus far, appeared in Seasons 6, 9, and 12.

The actor who plays Armin Janko might look familiar to some fans of the series. That is because the character is played by a seasoned veteran of film and television who has a lengthy list of credits dating back to the 1970s, encompassing some of the most notable projects in the big and small screen worlds. The actor in question is William Sadler, and with all that in mind, we shall now look back on some of the biggest and best roles that audiences may recognize him from over the years.

He was the bad guy in Die Hard 2

One role that helped catapult William Sadler to his status as a big-screen icon was his role as Colonel William Stuart in "Die Hard 2." Following in the footsteps of Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber, Stuart is an American military officer who brings in a platoon of soldiers to hold an airport hostage during a blizzard on Christmas Eve -– only to run afoul of John McClane (Bruce Willis), who is there waiting for his wife's plane to land.

The key to Stuart's plan is his ability to take aircraft hostage by shutting out the communications from the airport's tower. As a result, he disguises himself as an air traffic controller over the radio and brings down an airliner, killing everyone on board. Because of this gruesome act, Sadler's Stuart actually holds the distinction of being the "Die Hard" villain with the highest body count (via Fandom) in the entire franchise.

Stuart is able to defeat McClane in hand-to-hand combat on the wing of an escaping plane during the climax of the movie. However, McClane ultimately gets the upper hand by releasing gasoline from the plane's fuel tank onto the runway and igniting it as the aircraft takes off –- resulting in Stuart and the rest of his men dying in a violent explosion.

He played the Grim Reaper in the Bill & Ted series

William Sadler even brought his menace to comedy, delivering one of his best performances in the process. Specifically, he portrayed Death in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey." In the film, he is the lord of the underworld who wagers with the titular heroes (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) that they can escape hell if they beat him at a game. The game of choice? Battleship. He then joins their band for the film's final musical number.

The Grim Reaper became a fan favorite upon his debut in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," and it turns out that even Sadler is a big fan of the character. In fact, in 2015, the actor addressed his role (via The A.V. Club) and stressed how much he enjoyed playing it, saying, "The Grim Reaper may be the most fun role I've played in my entire life. Seriously! My silly Czechoslovakian accent and that character ... I told you how much fun I have and how much I enjoy being funny when I can unleash my silly. That character was nothing but silly. He was harmless and not very bright and totally silly, and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done on film."

Apparently, the character was so fun to play that Sadler didn't end his run as The Grim Reaper with "Bogus Journey." He joined Winter and Reeves for "Bill & Ted Face The Music," which debuted in the summer of 2020.

He was Heywood in The Shawshank Redemption

Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of the most prestigious films William Sadler has worked on. Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, the film centers on the relationship between two men (Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman) as they live out decades of their lives in the infamous Shawshank Prison. In the film, Sadler portrays Heywood, a longtime prisoner at Shawshank and a member of Red's (Freeman) gang who initially dislikes Andy Dufresne (Robbins) when he arrives at the prison but slowly grows to appreciate his friendship as the years pass.

In the years since "The Shawshank Redemption" debuted in theaters, it has become widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. This legacy is not lost on Sadler himself, who opened up about the film's legacy (via Birth.Movies.Death) and noted, "Well, it's a story of friendship and hope. And love, really! This growing sense of affection between these two men, in a completely nightmarish place, and the triumph of that, over the corruption and deliberate cruelty of the place. I think that spoke to people, of hope. I'm not exactly sure why it holds such a special place, but it does, and maybe that's it. People tell me, "I watched that movie with my father when he was sick" or "We watch that movie once a month!" I think it just speaks so eloquently to love."

He fought monsters in The Mist

In 2007, William Sadler appeared in yet another Stephen King adaptation under the direction of Frank Darabont. This time, he played the role of Jim in the film version of the King novella, "The Mist." The bleak supernatural horror film follows a group of survivors that gradually splinters into chaos when Lovecraftian monsters descend on the United States through a shroud of thick mist. In the movie, Sadler portrays Jim, a survivor who is quickly indoctrinated into the congregation led by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden). This leads him to commit numerous brutal deeds before eventually coming to his senses in the final act of the film and seemingly showing guilt as David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his small group of survivors drive away to a brutal fate.

"The Mist" has become iconic among many horror fans for its gloomy ending. However, the bleakness of the film doesn't seem to have taken away from Sadler's enjoyment of working on it. The actor discussed his work on "The Mist" in 2015 (via ComingSoon.net), saying, "The effects in The 'Mist' were great fun to work with. Wonderful creature tentacles and giant bugs and spiders that attacked you! What's not to love? It always feels a little like when I was ten years old, running around our barn playing make-believe; diving out of the hayloft with my BB gun and coming up shooting. I felt right at home fighting giant spiders and fifty-foot creatures."

He was President Ellis in the MCU

Not only has William Sadler been involved in some of Hollywood's most prestigious films, but he has also appeared in what could arguably be considered the biggest franchise of all time. Specifically, he portrayed Matthew Ellis, the fictional president of the United States in the mid-2010s. Introduced in Shane Black's "Iron Man 3," Ellis is in power when James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is promoted to Iron Patriot and the United States comes under attack from The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and his army of Extremis-powered terrorists. In the film, he is targeted for assassination by his vice president but is ultimately rescued when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) mounts a rescue alongside Rhodes.

In the movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has not returned to Matthew Ellis since Sadler's initial outing in "Iron Man 3," though he did go on to appear on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" a handful of times. However, Sadler almost returned to the role on the big screen in 2015 for a part that was cut from "Ant-Man." In an interview with Lights, Thunder, Action Show, Sadler revealed that Ellis was meant to return for Scott Lang's (Paul Rudd) first solo superhero film, saying, "I actually shot a thing for "Ant-Man." I shot a bit of President Matthew Ellis for 'Ant-Man' but they decided to use a different president, I don't know. It was pretty silly!"

He was Steve McGarrett's dad in the Hawaii Five-0 reboot

Armin Janko is one of many roles that William Sadler has taken on in the broadcast TV space over the years. In fact, he is a common sight to see in some of the biggest shows on television. Over the course of his lengthy career in Hollywood, he has made appearances in shows such as "Damages," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and "Power," among others.

For the most part, Sadler's roles on these shows have been primarily limited to one-off guest-starring stints, or an arc taking place over a handful of episodes. However, one of his most notable recurring roles over the years was his role as Jack McGarrett on the hit CBS show "Hawaii Five-0." The father of series lead Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), the senior McGarrett is killed in the pilot episode, kicking off the events of the show. Over the course of his on-and-off run on "Hawaii Five-0," Sadler would make 11 credited appearances between 2010 and 2020. This makes the Hawaii-based series his longest-tenured small-screen role, even if he was mainly in flashbacks.