A talented character actor often cast as crazies, Silas Weir Mitchell recurred on "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Nash Bridges" (CBS, 1996-2001) and made a fun cameo in "Rat Race" (2001) before breaking through as a baddie who terrorizes the wife and daughter of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) on "24" (Fox, 2001-2010). Building on his momentum, Mitchell balanced wild-eyed intensity with comedy and heart in high-profile recurring roles as two lovably whacked-out prisoners: Haywire on "Prison Break" (Fox, 2005-09) and Donny Jones on "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 2005-09). After recurring on "Burn Notice" (USA Network, 2007-13) and appearing in Rob Zombie's "Halloween II" (2009), the consistently employable Mitchell earned his showiest part thus far as Monroe, an urbane but quirky supernatural informant on "Grimm" (NBC, 2011-17). So popular was Mitchell as Monroe that he quickly became a thoroughly indispensable part of the series. Immensely talented and charismatic, Silas Weir Mitchell was able to make even the weirdest character lovable, leaving many critics and fans excited to see just what unpredictable characters Mitchell would embody next.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Silas Weir Mitchell began his acting career with a third-grade role as Hansel in a production of the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel." His love of performing stuck, and after graduating from Brown, he cut his professional teeth on the New York theater circuit. After gaining valuable experience, he earned a spot in the University of California, San Diego's MFA theater program, which spring-boarded him to Los Angeles and a career as a working screen actor. Bringing a brooding intensity to his roles, the lanky Mitchell was frequently cast as unhinged or evil characters, beginning with a guest spot in an episode of the 1990s guilty pleasure series, "Silk Stalkings" (CBS, 1991-93; USA Network, 1993-99).
A ubiquitous character actor, Mitchell began consistently notching small turns in such feature films as the Howard Stern biopic "Private Parts" (1997), and on a laundry list of hit television series, including "Caroline in the City" (NBC, 1995-99), "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002). As his career gained momentum into the 2000s, Mitchell's profile rose with higher-profile recurring roles on "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Nash Bridges" (CBS, 1996-2001). He played a crazy keymaker in the ensemble comedy "Rat Race" (2001) and then recurred as Eli Stram on "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as a criminal who assaults mother Teri and daughter Kim Bauer (Leslie Hope and Elisha Cuthbert).
He continued his ascent with guest spots on "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05), "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-12) and "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07) as well as a supporting turn in the Matthew Perry/Bruce Willis sequel "The Whole Ten Yards" (2004). Mitchell played memorably mentally unstable characters on "Medium" (NBC, 2005-09; CBS, 2009-2011) and "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010) and essayed a more staid role as a lab tech in Clint Eastwood's WWII epic "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006). The actor achieved even more success and face if not yet name recognition for his fantastic recurring role on "Prison Break" (Fox, 2005-09) as Charles "Haywire" Patoshik, a troubled prisoner who is briefly the cellmate of Michael (Wentworth Miller). Playing both the comedy and pathos of the character, who eventually escapes on a stolen bicycle and attempts to build a raft to travel to Holland, Mitchell won over fans and critics.
Showcasing his rare ability to play crazy and lovable simultaneously, Mitchell earned even more momentum for his recurring role on "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 2005-09) as Donny Jones, a fellow reformed criminal of the mustachioed title rascal (Jason Lee). Mitchell delighted as the crazy-eyed, born-again Donny, who frequently consulted his Jesus chest tattoo for advice. The actor scored again with a recurring role as Seymour, a colorful arms dealer, on "Burn Notice" (USA Network, 2007-13) and notched a supporting turn in Rob Zombie's "Halloween II" (2009). Mitchell finally earned his own star-making role when he was cast as the witty, semi-werewolf Monroe on "Grimm" (NBC, 2011-17), who assisted detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) in battling supernatural creatures. Mitchell's performance, at once dangerous and droll, highlighted his unique strengths and the character quickly became the most popular and acclaimed element of the series, earning the longtime character actor his own shot at the spotlight at long last.
By Jonathan Riggs