I’ll see anything Neal McDonough is in. A prime time soap opera, a cookie-cutter action flick – doesn’t matter. If his name is on the call, I’m there. He has such a quietly commanding presence, I find it impossible not to seek him out.
First Lt. Lynn “Buck” Compton
Walking Tall (2004)
From the moment we meet Jay, we know that this guy is bad news. But we only know that because that’s what genre films like Walking Tall dictate. Truth is, McDonough plays Jay with the same level of charm he plays most all of his characters with. You never know which way a McDonough character is going to go. That’s what makes him so goddamn compelling.
Medical Investigation (2004-2005)
Dr. Stephen Connor
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
It’s the unpredictability of Robert Quarles that McDonough captured so well. You never knew if you were going to find him stoned on Vicodin, bound naked in a crappy trailer, or torturing an innocent boy in his bedroom (or, maybe all three at once). A raging madman who always kept his psychosis in check… until he no longer could.
The Best of the Best
McNorris was such a complicated man: hazed by alcohol, extramarital affairs, a rough upbringing – the kind of guy the audience loved to despise, but one we secretly rooted for. To pick a highlight moment from McDonough’s work is near impossible. In one episode, McNorris, fogged by a debilitating hangover, tries to retrace his steps to determine if he committed a lethal hit and run the night before. The scene in which he intimidates a local goon by demonstrating the way McNorris’ own father used to beat him. Or perhaps it was in the show’s very first episode, in which McNorris humiliates a homicidal rich teenager in front of his parents so exquisitely.
Boomtown was inventive, entertaining, and critically revered. But, for whatever reason, NBC decided to cancel the show after airing just one season. Remains of filmed episodes from Season 2 can be found floating online, but they don’t feel complete. It’s such a damn shame that the network didn’t keep Boomtown afloat. They buried one of the best, most iconic characters I’ve ever known.
Other Notable Roles
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Diagnosis: Murder (1998)
Minority Report (2002)
The Guardian (2006)
The Hitcher (2007)
Tin Man (2007)
88 Minutes (2008)
Forever Strong (2008)
Desperate Housewives (2008-2009)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
RED 2 (2013)
Mob City (2013)