Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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That Guy Salute: Kevin Tighe

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 8, 2007

“You know what you feed a dray horse in the morning if you want a day’s work out of him? Just enough so he knows he’s hungry.”

A smile came over my lips watching tonight’s episode of The 4400 (still good, by the way, though not as interesting as it is marathoning the DVDs, for some reason) as I saw Kevin Tighe’s name listed as being among the ep’s guest stars. He played a senator (or some type of politican, anyway), who despite his former anti-4400 policies, showed up trying to recruit 4400er Shawn Farrell to run for city council, eventually succeeding. It’s the kind of role Tighe always seems to play–the shady dude in a position of wealth and power, who always looks like he knows more than he’s letting on.

Tighe’s been awesome in a couple movies, most notably as Sport Sullivan, one of the main gamblers behind the Black Sox Scandal in Eight Men Out, and as Frank Tilghman, the Double Deuce owner trying to recruit Patrick Swayze to clean up his establishment in Road House. But mostly, he’s recognizable from his TV work, including guest spots on Freaks & Geeks as drummer Nick Andopolis’s military-minded father and on LOST as Locke’s estranged con-artist pappy. He also apparently starred as Roy DeSoto on 70s firefighter drama Emergency!, which I’ve never heard of, but apparently ran for over half a decade and looks sort of like Hill Street Blues in red.

From the kind of roles Tighe specializes in, you might expect him to fit into the asshole authority figure mold, akin to a William Atherton or James Rebhorn type. And he is, sort of, but even though he can be an asshole up there with the best of them, he’s never nearly as inherently hateable as Atherton or Rebhorn are. That’s because even though he’s old, set in his ways, and more often than not extremely villainous in a sneaky, insidiuous way, he somehow manages to still be kind of…well, kind of badass.

And that’s at least 90% due to Tighe’s smile. The guy has one of the most expressive smiles you’ll ever see on the big or small screen–usually saying far more than whatever dialogue Tighe’s character is spouting at the moment. And what it says is this: Listen, you little shit-eating, pissant motherfucker. I was ripping shit up and fucking people over while you were still in Keds and overalls. You may think you know me, but you actually know fucking balls. So keep staring at my blindingly white teeth while I school you on a thing or two, son, ‘coz by the time I’m done with you you’ll be lucky if you can even remember how to chew right. I know, it’s a lot. It’s a really good smile.

Hope he sticks around on The 4400 for a while. I’d love to see how they work the smile into his inevitable super-power.

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