Guest Star: Courtney B. Vance

I became a fan of Courtney B. Vance the first time I watched The Hunt for Red October.

Vance plays Seaman Jones, the crew member on the Dallas who loses, then finds the Red October on sonar.

Here's my favorite relevant dialog:
Watson: Seaman Jones here is into music in a big way, and he views this whole boat as his own personal, private stereo set. Well, one day he's got this piece of Pavarotti...
Seaman Jones: It was Paganini.
Watson: Whatever.
Seaman Jones: It was Paganini.
Watson: Look, this is my story, okay?
Seaman Jones: Then tell it right, COB. Pavarotti is a tenor, Paganini was a composer.
Watson: So anyway, he's got this music out in the water, and he's listening to it on his headsets, and he's just happy as a clam. And then all hell breaks loose. See, there's this whole slew of boats out in the water...
Seaman Jones: Including one WAY out at Pearl!
Watson: Including one way the hell out at Pearl. All of a sudden, they start hearing, Pavarotti...
Beaumont: Pavarotti!
Watson: Coming up their asses! 
I love the line, "Including one WAY out at Pearl!" especially the way Vance says it, with sudden excited humor and total mischievousness (the story has obviously been told on the submarine a million times).

I ran into Vance again in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, playing D.A. Carver (back when Law & Order: CI still included a courtroom "order" component). He also appears in the sixth and seventh seasons of The Closer as Tommy Delk; he is so marvelous, yet so totally underused (by writers who rarely made such mistakes in The Closer's run) that I assume he was originally slated for a bigger role in the last season before the writers realized that it WAS the last season (their way of getting rid of Delk is so shameless, I kind of admire them: Hey, this particular story arc isn't going to work! Okay, moving on!!)

Vance has a fabulous voice and a no-nonsense way of delivering semi-serious lines (because, okay, nothing on Law & Order: CI should be taken too seriously).

He is, in sum, cool.

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