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NCIS Season 21 Episode 8 Isn't The First Time Tim Russ Has Appeared In The Franchise

Contains mild spoilers for "NCIS" Season 21 Episode 8 — "Heartless"

Tim Russ is a journeyman actor with dozens of roles under his belt — and three of those parts have involved popping up behind the crime tape-laden barriers of the "NCIS" world. 

In the Season 21 episode "Heartless," he's Dr. Erik Harper, a cardiothoracic surgeon and doctor whose training session with a group of young doctors is tragically interrupted by his kidnapping and murder. It's up to the team to find out why Harper's been killed and by whom, a case that ends up paving the way toward a new romance for Alden Parker (Gary Cole). Russ also shows up during Season 3's "Jeopardy." This much briefer part sees him playing Jerry Kemper, head of security at a luxury car rental service located at a hotel where Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) is staying when she's kidnapped due to her connection to Ziva David (Cote de Pablo).

The most substantive role Russ has essayed in the "NCIS" universe by far this far is his part on "NCIS: New Orleans." There, he plays Felix Hill in Season 4's "The Ties that Bind." Felix is an old friend of Dwayne Pride's (Scott Bakula); he owns Delilah's, the jazz club where the NCIS team leader's mother used to perform when he was a youth. But a lot has changed since then, and Felix may be linked to the death of a Navy underclassman — and also connected to an underground network of drug pushers. 

While Russ' parts have been wide-ranging over the years, the actor has specialized in playing one specific type of character.

Tim Russ has played a whole lot of doctors during his time as an actor

One tie binds Tim Russ' latest "NCIS" role to many of the parts he's taken before; he's played a whole lot of doctors over the years. He's suited up in scrubs for projects as disparate as "Hannah Montana," "General Hospital," "ER" and "Freddy's Nightmares" over the years, proving that he definitely has range beyond his signature role as "Star Trek: Voyager" Vulcan Tuvok.

Ironically, per an interview with trekmovie.com, Russ even read for the role of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" doctor Julian Bashir, whom Alexander Siddig would play on the program. His auditioning specialty definitely doesn't start and end with doctors, though, even when it comes to "Star Trek" properties. He was up for the iconic part of Geordi La Forge, which went to LeVar Burton. 

Russ' persistence paid off, and he secured roles on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Generations," and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," where he played a Klingon, on the road to his destiny as Tuvok. "I did audition for all of those shows. Over the course of a year or two, off and on, and finally just booked a few of them. So, I had already been in their wheelhouse prior to Voyager, which was an advantage in my case," Russ said in 2018. It just goes to show that a dose of persistence a day is the best medicine an actor could want.