An enormously gifted character actor, David Marciano brought a streetwise intelligence and charisma to all his roles, moving from small turns on "Wiseguy" (CBS, 1987-1990) and in "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989) and "Harlem Nights" (1989) before breaking out as a poetic bike messenger on "Civil Wars" (ABC, 1991-93). He achieved cult stardom for his work on the mismatched buddy comedy "Due South" (CBS, 1994-99) as rough-around-the-edges Chicago cop Ray Vecchio, who found himself both frustrated and inspired by his extremely polite new Mountie partner (Paul Gross). After supporting turns in "The Last Don" (CBS, 1997) and its 1998 sequel, he continued to add to his enviable list of high-profile TV guest spots, including a recurring role on "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005), before he booked the part of the endlessly underhanded but emotionally complex detective Steve Billings on "The Shield" (FX, 2002-08). Wowing critics and audiences alike for his nuanced and often humorous work on the Shawn Ryan crime drama, he went on to score a juicy supporting role on the acclaimed drama "Homeland" (Showtime, 2011- ) as Virgil, the guide and good friend to CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), whose dedication to her anti-terrorism work flirts dangerously close to obsessive madness. Although not exactly a household name, David Marciano built an impressive career as one of TV's all-time great character actors.
Born Jan. 7, 1960 in Newark, NJ, David Marciano grew up an intelligent and creative teenager who was drawn to self-destructive pursuits, including addictions to gambling and drugs. Although he started college at Northeastern University, he chafed at the restrictions of academia, so after a life-changing acting course, dropped out to pursue a screen career. After supporting himself as a bartender while attending drama school, Marciano broke into showbiz with several commercial appearances before landing his first true acting role with a juicy guest spot as a Mafia scion on "Wiseguy" (CBS, 1987-1990). Frequently cast as toughs, druggies or cops, Marciano booked guest spots on "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991) and "Midnight Caller" (NBC, 1988-1991) and small roles in the films "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989) and "Harlem Nights" (1989). The actor managed to break his casting mold when he landed the flashy role of the poetically inclined bicycle messenger Jeffrey Lassick on Steven Bochco's legal drama "Civil Wars" (ABC, 1991-93), which helped garner him his first real critical and audience attention.
The actor, however, achieved an even bigger breakthrough as the tough-as-nails Chicago detective Ray Vecchio who finds himself partnered with straight arrow Mountie Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) on the Canadian-fish-out-of-water dramedy "Due South" (CBS, 1994-99). Created by future Oscar winner Paul Haggis, the delightful series showcased both Marciano and Gross at their most charming as their cultures and law enforcement styles clashed to great comic effect. Despite the show's immense Canadian popularity, it never caught on in the United States, due in great part to its ever-changing time slot. Marciano left the main cast by the third season, although he occasionally made guest appearances on later seasons. Nominated for two Best Actor Gemini Awards for his "Due South" work, Marciano notched a strong supporting role in "The Last Don" (CBS, 1997) and its 1998 sequel and continued the life of a journeyman actor, recurring on "Diagnosis Murder" (CBS, 1993-2001), "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005) and "The Mind of the Married Man" (HBO, 2001-02).
After guesting on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15), "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ) and "Joan of Arcadia" (CBS, 2003-05), Marciano landed another series regular role on Shawn Ryan's Emmy-winning cop drama "The Shield" (FX, 2002-08). Playing the ruthlessly self-promoting detective Steve Billings, Marciano won major critical praise for bringing real humanity to a character who tirelessly manipulated the system as well as his fellow officers for his own benefit, but was also capable of demonstrating fierce loyalty and lighthearted affection for those he truly cared about. Continuing to notch impressive guest spots, Marciano appeared on "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 2008-14) and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (FX, 2005- ) as well as in the Kevin Smith horror flick "Red State" (2011). For many critics and fans, however, the actor's finest performance came with his turn as the compassionate and wise Virgil, who served as a trusted guide and supporter for the increasingly obsessed and mentally unhinged CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in her battle against terrorism on the Emmy-winning "Homeland" (Showtime, 2011- ).
By Jonathan Riggs
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Appeared on the TV series "Wiseguy."
Appeared in the Eddie Murphy directed "Harlem Nights."
Played Jeffrey Lassick on the series "Civil Wars."
Played Ray Vecchio on the series "Due South."
Appeared in a series of episodes of the series "Judging Amy."
Played Steve Billings on the police series "The Shield."
Appeared in the independent horror film "Red State."
Took on the role of Vigil on the series "Homeland."
Took on the role of Detective Damato on the TV adaptation of "Twelve Monkeys."