When Arrow faded to black last season, Oliver Queen was on his way to getting off the grid with his love, Felicity Smoak. Season 3 Oliver was about as dark and twisty as he's ever been, and it was a relief to watch him and Ms. Smoak speed away from all that drama, top-down and wind in their beautiful hair. But Arrow Season 4 premieres on Wednesday, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't morphed into a lighthearted sitcom over the summer. Oliver and Felicity are going to be beckoned back to Starling City to pick up hero duties right where they left off. And they're looking awfully cozy in those Olicity-heavy promos, so the threat that brings them home has to be something big. Meet Damien Dahrk, the Season 4 villain played by Neal McDonough. If your tastes run to gangster dramas or other comic book properties, then you've probably seen (and/or heard) him before.
The Massachusetts-born actor's resume is lengthy and impressive, with lots of high-profile credits in movies and TV. But what's really interesting in light of his latest gig is that McDonough has had a lot of experience playing the hero side of the comic book divide. As a voice actor, he's played the Hulk and even the Green Arrow himself in an animated series and animated short, respectively. Could his time in Oliver Queen's head give Dahrk an advantage in Arrow Season 4? Time will tell. In the meantime, get to know McDonough with a few of his coolest projects.
"Dum Dum" Dugan In Captain America: The First Avenger
McDonough is happy to move between factions, as far as comic book empires are concerned. His Marvel credits include an ongoing stint as one of Steve Rogers' Howling Commandos, a role he's played on film as well as in episodes of the TV spinoffs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
Dave Williams In Desperate Housewives
As Edie's treacherous third husband, McDonough dons a rainbow array of pastel polo shirts on the primetime soap. Dave's plan to avenge his family is eventually foiled, but he does manage to wreak a lot of havoc in the attempt.
Robert Quarles In Justified
If McDonough's bad guy roots are any indication of his impact as Damien Dahrk, Team Arrow should be very, very afraid. He also plays the ruthless crime boss Robert Quarles in the third season of the FX drama Justified, where murder, kidnapping, and drug-running are all in his job description.
Rusty Patton In Public Morals
Of late, McDonough can be seen on the TNT period crime drama Public Morals. While interviewing his boss and showrunner Ed Burns in Hamptons Magazine, the actor says that his character is a "phenomenal sociopath. But he has his own sense of morality, and it’s such a joy to play." I'm sensing a pattern here.
Jack Horton In Red 2
Surprise! Another bad guy. In the sequel to the shoot-em-up ensemble action movie Red, McDonough lends that steely gaze to playing a CIA agent gone bad.
Tune in to Arrow Season 4 to see how McDonough attacks another bad guy role. He's certainly comfortable being the villain by now.
Image: Katie Yu /The CW