It’s not often that a network sends a guest star out to do media for a single episode, particularly when the guest is a character actor rather than an actual star. But TNT appears to have done that with Sam Anderson for his guest stint on tonight’s episode of Leverage, and I couldn’t be happier to see him doing some interviews; the man has been constantly on TV for the last 30 years. You’ve seen him on Lost, on Angel, on Growing Pains and Everybody Loves Raymond (where he was a brilliant last-minute substitute for another actor in the guest role of the FBI guy who turns Robert down for a job). You’ve seen him on NBC’s hit show ER, starring George Clooney, and you didn’t see him on CBS’s flop show E/R, also starring George Clooney. He’s one of those actors who is the modern equivalent of those great movie character actors in the ’30s and ’40s: he can play many different types of roles on many different types of shows, and can always be counted upon to steal a scene without unbalancing the episode. Stephen Root is another actor with that ability.
Anderson and Stephen Root are two guys I’m always happy to see in a guest role, because I feel no matter what the quality of the episode or the show, they will do everything they can to make it better. Another actor like that is Wendy Schaal (The Burbs, American Dad). No matter how bad an episode is, Wendy Schaal can improve it with her off-kilter, off-center sexiness.
So, question: which actors make you go not only “hey, it’s him/her!” but “oh, good, it’s him/her?”