The best Lance Reddick movies, TV shows, and voice acting roles

Image via Lionsgate

The passing of character actor Lance Reddick shocked fans and colleagues alike this past Friday. Known for playing imposing authoritative figures in multiple media formats — and for being the one guest to shock Eric Andre enough to break character — Reddick was in the midst of promoting John Wick: Chapter 4 before his passing. The actor was looking forward to portraying Zeus in the upcoming Disney Plus Percy Jackson series and voicing Hellboy in the video game Hellboy: Web of Wyrd, both of which will now be released posthumously.

Reddick was a prolific actor whose decades-spanning career included hundreds of roles in film, TV, video games, and animated works. Originally trained as a musician, the multi-talented Reddick began acting in the 1990s after receiving his Masters of Fine Arts from Yale. While most people know Reddick from playing deputy-turned-lawyer Cedric Daniels in The Wire or as Charon in the John Wick films, he got his start in crime dramas like Oz and Law and Order (playing four different characters in the show and its spinoffs).

As we and those in the entertainment industry mourn the loss of an incredible talent, we’ve compiled a list of 10 notable works in Reddick’s varied catalog. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as Reddick was truly a prolific actor with an enviable body of work. Reddick committed to every role, no matter how big or small, and he will truly be missed.

10. Papa Legba in American Horror Story: Coven

Reddick proved his versatility when he played Papa Legba in American Horror Story: Coven. Based off of the Iwa (or spirit) of the same name in Louisiana Voodoo, Papa Legba is introduced as the gatekeeper of the spirit world and requires the sacrifice of an innocent life once a year as part of a deal between him and Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau; in exchange, he will keep her immortal. The character is meant to feel intimidating and creepy but Legba plays him with more nuance; taking pity on those whose death he deems unfair and delighting in what he sees as justice. Although a small character, Papa Legba steals your attention in any scene he’s in. Reddick went on to reprise the role a few years later in American Horror Story: Apocalypse.

9. Albert Wesker in Resident Evil

The Netflix adaptation of Resident Evil was panned by longtime fans, but Reddick’s performance as Dr. Albert Wesker and his many clones was praised. While the show was only loosely based on the game (much to the annoyance of fans), Wesker is a well-known character but Reddick was still able to put his own spin on the scientist and his variations. No matter your opinion of this show, you can’t deny Reddick’s acting excellence is on display here; he especially shines in the scenes where he can play off of himself as the many sides of Wesker. We love the bits of humor he sneaks into his character, especially the very Blade-esque leader of the Weskers.

8. Matthew Abaddon in Lost

Only appearing in 4 episodes, Reddick made an impact on Lost fans as the mysterious Matthew Abaddon. With his unflinching gaze and his smooth voice, Abaddon was a character with a sense of inevitability about him — he knew your destination before you did, and he was going to make sure you arrived on time. Abbadon isn’t necessarily a nefarious character but you get the sense he has the capacity for great evil or great good, and it’s that unpredictability that makes him terrifying. It’s a testament to Reddick’s acting ability that the character feels like he should be more important than he actually is (he is unceremoniously shot in an episode). Ultimately, we wish we could have seen more of Abaddon’s controlled brand of terror in the show. 

7. Zavala in Destiny

For players of Destiny and Destiny 2, Reddick’s voice has been a guiding light for a large portion of their gaming lives. As Commander Zavala, Reddick was the Titan Vanguard and helped players become the best guardians they could be. The Destiny franchise has had many notable voices throughout the years, but Reddick has stuck by the community since the very beginning and has taken opportunities to show his appreciation for the role, even voicing his own meme for fans. His genuine love for the character and the game has endeared him to fans, who are paying their respects by visiting Zavala’s tower.

6. Christian DeVille in Corporate

While Reddick is most known for his more serious roles, he undeniably had a strong funny bone. Some may know about his comedy chops from the aforementioned Eric Andre skit and an unhinged 2012 Funny or Die skit, but his best comedic role was the CEO Christian DeVille in Comedy Central’s Corporate. Reddick commits to playing the sociopathic corporate leader of an Amazon-like entity and made a decidedly unlikable character enjoyable. His deadpan delivery and great comedic timing make this an enjoyable watch — it’s fair to call his lack of an Emmy nod for this one a snub.

5. Agent Phillip Broyles in Fringe

Fringe was a sci-fi show, in the spirit of The X-Files, about a division of the FBI created to investigate unexplained occurrences. Reddick plays the head of the Fringe Division, Phillip Broyles, with his usual gravitas, bringing his experience from TV procedurals to the role. Broyles is at first thought to be a serious character, but Reddick is able to inject some humor and affability into the agent. While Fringe wasn’t the network’s biggest moneymaker, it aired for five seasons and it continues to pick up new fans thanks to its strong writing and performances.

4. Chief Irvin Irving in Bosch

Bosch, a police procedural series about the Los Angeles Police Department, spanned six seasons and a rebranded series titled Bosch: Legacy. In the first series, Reddick plays the complicated Chief of Police Irvin Irving. Serving as a foil to the protagonist, Irving is a well-meaning officer who focuses more on the bureaucratic aspects of the job than the eponymous Bosch would prefer, even when it’s to the detriment of their job. While Bosch moves quickly, Irving prefers to take things slowly and to be careful before making big decisions about a case. It’s easy to see how Irving could become an annoying character, since he seems to be preventing Bosch from handling his investigations — not to mention, some morally grey decisions he makes throughout the show— but Reddick is able to help audiences understand Irving’s motivation and perspective.

3. Johnny Basil/Desmond Mobay in Oz

In one of his first big roles, Reddick plays an undercover cop on a mission to infiltrate the drug trade within the prison. While using the name Desmond Mobay, Officer Johnny Basil becomes addicted to the drugs he’s attempting to prevent people from selling. His descent into crime is slow and believable, from using heroin to killing a man to earn his place in the drug ring. Watching him become an active participant of the crime he wants to prevent makes viewers wonder if the Oswald State Correctional Facility is cursed. While Basil does become a fallen cop, he later attempts to make things right by owning up to his crimes. Reddick impresses as the well-intentioned cop in one of his earliest roles.

2. Charon in John Wick

As Charon, Reddick has helped make the John Wick films a beloved action series. The franchise has been praised for its unique plot and world-building —a hotel in the middle of the criminal underworld with strict rules forbidding crime? Brilliant, but in no small part thanks to Reddick’s Charon. Charon is the hotel’s concierge and he makes the world feel believable; his calm, professional demeanor when providing a safe haven to the underworld’s criminals proves he’s a true professional. He is not only the concierge but a friend to the eponymous Wick, even offering to personally take care of his dog in the second movie. After seeing him kick some ass in his own right in John Wick: Chapter Three, we can’t wait to see what he gets up to in Chapter Four.

1. Cedric Daniels in The Wire

While The Wire was airing, police procedural set in Baltimore, Maryland, received moderately positive reviews. In the years after its five-season run, The Wire has become praised for being one of, if not the, best shows to ever be on television. The show explored different areas of Baltimore and how they intertwine with the web of the city’s law enforcement. We see corruption at every level in The Wire, and we watch many fall victim to its allure. In comparison, Reddick’s Cedric Daniels is a breath of fresh air — here, we meet an officer dedicated to doing what’s right, no matter the cost. Although ambitious, Daniels rises through the law department’s ranks without compromising his morals; when he sees no way out, he leaves the force to become a criminal defense lawyer. Daniels is a refreshing character as he’s perfectly aware of the evil that surrounds him but vows to do what he can to make the world better, even when it harms his career. In a world that seems to regularly reward those who give in to corruption or indifference, Reddick’s performance inspires us to stick to our beliefs.

RIP, Mr. Reddick.