Based on C.J. Box's 2013 novel, The Highway, ABC's Big Sky is the latest procedural drama from show creator David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal). Coming off the great success of HBO's Big Little Lies, expectations were high for this new show, which stars Ryan Phillippe, Katheryn Winnick, Kylie Bunbury, Brian Geraghty, and John Carroll Lynch, and while the initial reviews weren't overwhelmingly positive, many critics were quick to praise the talented ensemble. Certainly, this is a solid line-up of established TV veterans and familiar film actors, though you might not instantly recognize some of these actors after watching the show's twist-heavy pilot.
If you're wondering where you might remember Big Sky's cast, we're here to help. (This article does not contain any major spoilers from the first episode of Big Sky)
Ryan Phillippe (Cody Hoyt)
In the role of Cody Hoyt, a troubled cop who runs a private detective agency with Cassie, Ryan Phillippe has a major part as ABC's new procedural drama series, Big Sky, gets started. Prior to his performance in this heavily-publicized new broadcast series, Phillippe was best known for I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, 54, Breach, and Flag of Our Fathers. He's also known for his performance in the Best Picture-winning Crash, as well as his work in Gosford Park, Stop-Loss, MacGruber, The Lincoln Lawyer, Wish Upon, The Way of the Gun, Crimson Tide, Igby Goes Down, and The Bang Bang Club. Additionally, he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in 2014's Catch Hell.
Ryan Phillippe frontlined USA Network's Shooter, which he also produced. It ran for three seasons. Also, Phillippe starred in Secrets and Lies, and he had recurring roles in Damages and One Life to Live. Earlier this year, he appeared in an episode of NBC's Will & Grace. He also starred in The 2nd, which he also produced.
Katheryn Winnick (Jenny Hoyt)
As Jenny Hoyt, an ex-cop who still does freelance work for her ex-husband's agency, Katheryn Winnick plays a prominent role in ABC's Big Sky. The actress was previously best known for her main character in Vikings. She also had a leading part in Wu Assassins, which she also produced. Winnick also directed episodes of both of those aforementioned shows. She can also be seen in episodes of Oz, Tracker, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, Nikita, Transporter: The Series, Bones, and Person of Interest. Additionally, in film, Winnick appeared in Two Weeks Notice, 50 First Dates, Amusement, The Art of the Steal, Polar, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, Cold Souls, Killers, and Love & Other Drugs, as well as The Dark Tower, Speed Kills, and Stand Up Guys. Additionally, she played a character in Call of Duty: WWII.
Next, Katheryn Winnick will be seen in next month's Wander. She also has upcoming roles in The Marksman and Sean Penn's Flag Day, which she also co-produced.
Dedee Pfeiffer (Denise Brisbane)
In the role of Denise Brisbane, Cody's secretary, Dedee Pfeiffer returned to Hollywood after a 10-year absence for ABC's newest drama series. Most notably, Pfeiffer is known for her series regular role on For Your Love. She also had a recurring role in Cybill, for which she shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Her other recurring roles include The Dead Zone and Wanted, and she can be seen in episodes of CSI, CSI: NY, Burn Notice, Without a Trace, ER, Supernatural, Friends, Ellen, Wings, and Murder, She Wrote.
Additionally, Dedee Pfeiffer's notable film credits include Falling Down, Frankie and Johnny, The Allnighter, and Dangerously Close.
Kylie Bunbury (Cassie Dewell)
Playing the part of Cassie Dewell, a private detective who's one-half of the private investigation agency, Dewell & Hoyt, Kylie Bunbury is also a prominent player in ABC's Big Sky. Prior to this performance, Bunbury had main roles in Under the Dome, Pitch, and Twisted, as well as Netflix's acclaimed mini-series, When They See Us and Tut. Bunbury also played a primary role in Peacock's Brave New World, which came out earlier this year prior to its cancellation. She can also be seen in episodes of Days of Our Lives, Law & Order: SVU, and CBS All Access' Twilight Zone reboot. Additionally, she can be heard in an episode of Robot Chicken.
Outside of these television roles, Kylie Bunbury can be seen in Prom, The Sitter, and Game Night. Next, she'll be seen in Warning and Eat Wheaties!
Natalie Alyn Lind (Danielle Sullivan)
As Danielle Sullivan, the sister of Grace, Natalie Alyn Lind plays one of the main characters in Big Sky. Before she starred in this new series, Lind was best known for her starring role in Fox's The Gift. She also had recurring roles in The Goldbergs, Gotham, and Daybreak. Additionally, Lind had a main role in Tell Me A Story, which ran through this year. The actress can also be seen in episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place, Gotham, Chicago Fire, iZombie, iCarly, One Tree Hill, Army Wives, Flashpoint, and Criminal Minds. Her film credits include Kaboom, Mockingbird, and Blood Done Sign My Name.
Jesse James Keitel (Jerrie)
In the role of Jerrie, a sex worker and aspiring singer, Jesse James Keitel is one of the main cast members on ABC's Big Sky. Prior to this performance, Keitel starred in last year's short film, Miller & Son, which won the BAFTA Student Film Award. They can also be seen in films like Alex Strangelove, Fluidity, and Like Glass, as well as an episode of Younger. Next, Keitel will also star in the upcoming sci-fi series, Forever Alone.
Jade Pettyjohn (Grace Sullivan)
Playing Grace Sullivan, Danielle's sister, Jade Pettyjohn plays an intense role in ABC's newest drama series. Most notably, Pettyjohn is known for her leading role in An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars. The former child star also gained notice for Nickelodeon's School of Rock, as well as her work in Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere mini-series earlier this year. Her other notable film credits include Destroyer, Trial by Fire, and Seberg. She also played recurring roles in The Last Ship, Revolution, Henry Danger, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, and The Righteous Gemstones. Pettyjohn can also be seen in episodes of Grimm, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, United States of Tara, and The Mentalist. Additionally, the actress starred in HBO's Deadwood: The Movie last year.
John Carroll Lynch (Rick Legarski)
As Rick Legarski, an accomplice to Ronald and a member of the Montana highway patrol with a checkered past, John Carrol Lynch plays a shady character in Big Sky. An immensely accomplished character actor with several credits to his name, Lynch is best known for his work in Zodiac, The Invitation, The Founder, Gran Torino, The Drew Carey Show, Shutter Island, Face/Off, One Dollar, Bubble Boy, and Fargo, as well as Grumpy Old Men, Bug, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Jackie, Close to Home, K-Ville, Do No Harm, and Body of Proof. He's also well-known for his menacing roles in FX's American Horror Story, particularly his portrayal of Twisty of Clown. Additionally, Lynch directed 2017's Lucky.
Most recently, John Carroll Lynch starred in Netflix's The Trial of the Chicago 7. He also appeared in Kiss Me Before It Blows Up, which premiered in Germany in September. And Lynch appeared in NBC's Perfect Harmony.
Brian Geraghty (Ronald Pergman)
In the role of Ronald Pergman, a long-haul trucker who's involved with nefarious criminal activities, Brian Geraghty plays an antagonistic character in Big Sky. As an actor, Geraghty is best known for his regular role on Chicago P.D. and his recurring roles in Chicago Fire, Ray Donovan, and Boardwalk Empire, as well as his film performances in Jarhead, The Hurt Locker, and Flight. His other notable movie roles include The Identical, My Days of Mercy, I Know Who Killed Me, We Are Marshall, The Guardian, Bobby, and When A Stranger Calls (2006), as well as Art School Confidential, Date and Switch, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.
Additionally, on television, Brian Geraghty appeared in episodes of True Blood, and he can be seen in The Sopranos and Law & Order: SVU. He was also in the main cast for The Alienist, as well as Briarpatch, which aired earlier this year before its cancellation.
Valerie Mahaffey (Helen Pergman)
As Helen Pergman, Ronald's mother, Valerie Mahaffey is also part of the main cast for ABC's Big Sky. An Emmy-winning actress for her performance in Northern Exposure, as well as Emmy-nominated for her work in NBC's daytime soap opera, The Doctors, Mahaffey is also known for her work in Wings, Devious Maids, Seinfeld, Cheers, Newhart, Glee, The Powers That Be, United States of Tara, The Man in the High Castle, Workaholics, and Desperate Housewives, as well as Seabiscuit, Jack and Jill, Jungle 2 Jungle, National Lampoon's Senior Trip, and Sully. She also has recurring roles in Dead to Me and Young Sheldon.
Additionally, earlier this year, Valerie Mahaffey was seen in French Exit, in what's been considered a scene-stealing and potentially Oscar-nominated performance.
Brooke Smith (Merrilee Legarski)
In the part of Merrilee Legarski, Rick's wife, Brooke Smith plays a recurring role in ABC's Big Sky. Most notably, the actress is known for playing Dr. Erica Hahn on Grey's Anatomy. She also played a prominent role in Bates Motel, and she can be seen in The Silence of the Lambs. Her other notable TV credits include Crossing Jordan, Weeds, Six Feet Under, Ray Donovan, Bosch, American Horror Story: Asylum, and The Crossing.
Additionally, on the big screen, viewers might recognize Smith for her performances in Vanya on 42nd Street, Trees Lounge, The Man Who Wasn't There, Random Hearts, Bad Company, Melinda and Melinda, and In Her Shoes, as well as The Namesake, Fair Game, Interstellar, Labor Day, To the Bone, Dude, and, most recently, last year's Bombshell. She was also recently seen in episodes of The Act, Unbelievable, and The Good Fight.
Will ABC's Big Sky become a regular watch for you this winter? Let us know in the comment section below!
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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