If you've been finding yourself saying, "Hey, it's that guy!" in the last few years, it's probably because you're seeing Lance Reddick on the screen. Having had major roles in gritty television dramas like The Wire, and Oz, along with playing parts in genre productions like Fringe and Lost, Lance Reddick has been a fixture of quality TV for some time now. That's all beginning to change as he branches out into more and more feature films, bringing his trademark charisma and presence to the big screen.
With his tall frame, shaved head, and cheekbones you could cut glass with, he has a distinctive look that makes him instantly memorable and recognizable. Known for playing police officers, secret service operatives, and figures of authority, he's most often seen in uniform or in a suit and tie. His commanding diction and piercing eyes make you pay attention to his character's part, no matter how small. You can see him recently on the cop drama Bosch for Amazon Prime, as well as in theaters in Angel Has Fallen. Here are his ten most badass roles, ranked.
10 PAPA LEGBA (AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN)
What would you exchange for immortality? In American Horror Story: Coven, Marie Laveau sold her soul to Papa Legba, a spirit of Haitian Voodoo magic, and was forced to annually sacrifice an innocent life whenever he chose. Papa Legba, for all his sadistic and nefarious qualities, is a fair Gatekeeper of the Spirit World, and demands a life for a life.
With his tall, cadaverous build, blazing red eyes, and skull face paint, Lance Reddick gave viewers of the second season of American Horror Story chills with his gruesome portrayal of the shadowy Loa. His charisma transcended the costume he wore, which included a top hat encrusted with skulls and feathers, and long tapering overcoat.
9 SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR DAVID GENTRY (ANGEL HAS FALLEN)
The third installment in the Fallen franchise (preceded by Olympus Has Fallen and the much maligned London Has Fallen), Angel Has Fallen picks up where the second film left off, with Secret Service Agent Mike Banning now protecting President (former Vice President in the other films) Allan Trumbull. He’s framed for an assassination attempt made on the President’s life, igniting a manhunt by the FBI.
In the previous film, Banning had just welcomed his daughter into the world, naming her Lynne after his deceased boss, Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs. After her death, she is replaced with David Gentry (Lance Reddick), who will stop at nothing to track Banning down and bring him to justice.
8 MATTHEW ABADDON (LOST)
A pop culture phenomenon, Lost became a megahit due in no small part to a terrific cast, complex storylines, and the creative genius of showrunner and creator J.J. Abrams. Lance Reddick played Matthew Abaddon, a recruiting agent for Charles Widmore, who facilitated anything Widmore needed by getting people where they needed to be.
It was at his suggestion that John Locke leave his rehabilitation center and go to the Island on Oceanic Flight 815. With a science crew of his own design, he went to the Island several times for himself, and concealed his identity from the Oceanic Six to obtain confidential information from them in recovery. His chilling presence, combined with his determination, made him an effective operative and villain.
7 PHILLIP BROYLES (FRINGE)
In his second collaboration with Lost creator J.J. Abrams, Lance Reddick took on the role of Phillip Broyles in Fringe, Special Agent-in-Charge associated with the Department of Homeland Security. He is the leader of the Fringe Division, the task force whose mission it is to identify, investigate, and ultimately solve the ever-growing amount of science-related crimes that have erupted over the past several years.
Reddick brings his customary eloquence and formidable presence to Broyles, who also leads the Oversight Committee, the cohort that investigates The Pattern, the highly classified unexplained phenomena happening in the natural world. Broyles knows better than to be close-minded when it comes to Fringe Events, but he doesn’t discount the benefits of logic and reason.
6 IRVIN IRVING (BOSCH)
Though there’s been some division among fans of the Bosch book series when it comes to the portrayal of Irvin Irving (he’s always been white) on the television series, it’s hard to imagine any other person embodying him with the same aggressive personality and level of intimidation as Lance Reddick.
A former City Council Member as well as Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, he both detests and respects homicide detective Bosch. His style of police work is methodical and decisive, a stark contrast to Bosch’s creative and often reckless approach. The two men understand the need for both approaches, however, and find ways to solve homicides on the streets of LA without too much hostility.
5 NATHAN WOOD (THE DOMESTICS)
After the world has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland, its inhabitants start to break down into tribes. Often known for the attire they wear or the weapons they use against each other, they take names such as the “The Gamblers”, “The Cherries”, or “The Plowers”. One husband and wife team, part of the group known as “The Domestics” try to make it across the United States to a safer outpost.
Like the lovechild of Mad Max and The Purge, The Domestics is part gritty survival horror film, and part action packed adventure. Lance Reddick plays Nathan Wood, a family man and badass survivalist who aids the couple and imparts valuable skills and resources, all while blasting rival tribe members with his shotgun.
4 MILO (MONSTER PARTY)
When three thieves think they’re breaking into a plush mansion to rob its owner blind, they never expect to encounter Milo, a self righteous millionaire who is in the process of throwing a “recovery” celebration party with fellow addicts. And just what is he recovering from, you ask? The addiction to murdering the weak and tearing them limb from limb.
Lance Reddick plays the diabolical Milo with gleeful gusto, a psychopath with dignity, who believes that anyone can overcome their addiction if they just try hard enough and trust in their own willpower (never mind the attractive woman chained to his arm). Reddick makes you both repulsed, and fascinated, with Milo’s logic, but before the film ends, it (nor he) is very sound.
3 CHARON (JOHN WICK I, II, III)
The incredibly polite and elegant Charon has been part of the John Wick franchise for all three films, and doesn’t show any sign of leaving it. The concierge of the Continental, the hotel for elite assassins, he is loyal to the Continental manager Winston and the High Table. But when John Wick arrives at the Continental, Charon’s normally unflappable nature is tested when all hell breaks loose.
Lance Reddick has turned a small part into one of the most memorable in all the films. No matter if Charon is handling a guest registry or a shotgun, he remains dignified, courteous, and refined. He’s the only person John Wick will entrust with his furry companion, which speaks volumes. We can’t wait to see what Charon does in John Wick 4!
2 CEDRIC DANIELS (THE WIRE)
The Wire has been hailed as one of the best television series ever made, and used as a means by which other dramatic programs are measured. It focused on the narcotics scene through the eyes of the Baltimore law enforcement officers, drug dealers, and customers. It also showed how much it affected the local government, bureaucracy, and in the news media.
Lance Reddick appeared as Cedric Daniels, who began the series as a Lieutenant in the Baltimore Police Department but ended the series as a Commander. His strong commitment to justice, combined with thorough investigations of both the rampant corruption in the streets of Baltimore as well as his own department, made him a fan favorite to root for.
1 CHRISTIAN DEVILLE (CORPORATE)
As the tyrannical CEO of the largest corporate company in the world on Comedy Central’s Corporate, Lance Reddick brings terror and nuance to his portrayal of Christian Deville. The series follows lowly corporate peons Matt and Jake as they grind towards Hampton Deville’s takeover of everything in sight.
Reddick’s natural charisma lends itself well to the showmanship of Deville, who has no trouble commanding a board room. Reddick did his own research on CEO’s and famous sociopaths to inform his character, a megalomaniac who doesn’t care about right and wrong, as long as it leads to peak job performance. Deville isn’t the villain in his own reality; every action is warranted and justified, making him a complex character instead of a caricature.