‘Big Sky’: Meet John Carroll Lynch, the Actor Who Plays Rick Legarski

by Joe Rutland

There is no doubt for “Big Sky” viewers that one of the ABC crime drama show’s most compelling characters is Officer Rick Legarski.

Legarski, who was shot in the head during a recent episode, has managed to find his way right into the mainstream of plot twist after plot twist.

John Carroll Lynch, who portrays Legarski in the David E. Kelley-directed series, is a veteran character actor in his own right.

He’s been in plenty of movies and TV shows, besides “Big Sky,” over the past 20 years that his face should be recognizable to viewers. One of his first notable roles was in the movie “Fargo,” where he portrayed Norm Gunderson. Other movie credits include “Gran Torino,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “The Invitation,” and “The Founder.”

As for TV shows, besides “Big Sky” he’s appeared in “The Drew Carey Show” as Drew’s cross-dressing brother Steve Carey from 1997-2004, “Close to Home,” “Monk,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Body of Proof,” and two turns as Trusty the Clown in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” and “American Horror Story: Cult.”

‘Big Sky’ Actor Lynch Spends Time In Front, Behind Camera

Lynch, 57, was born in Boulder, Colo. He’s been married to actress Brenda Wehle since 1997. Lynch and Wehle met while both were members of the Guthrie Theater company in Minneapolis, Minn.

Now Lynch is also spending time behind the camera, too. He made his directorial film debut in 2017 with “Lucky.”

But he’s getting to bring all of his experience from film and TV roles and pour it into Legarski, who is a rather tricky character himself.

In fact, one of the big plot twists in “Big Sky” has Legarski getting shot in the head. Everybody presumes he’s going to die from the gunshot, but he’s got a pulse.

“Big Sky” fans find Legarski on his back in Episode 7, still in the hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth. But he’s opened both eyes now. His wife Merrilee looks down at him, then turns away. Legarski makes a grunting sound, then she comes back to him.

In the meantime, a nurse is called to his bedside. She checks his eyes and goes off to find a doctor.

Legarski struggles to ask a simple question: “Who…shot me?”

Lynch Takes Legarski Into Many High-Drama Moments

It puts him in the middle of another high-energy drama sequence, something Kelley has a knack for doing in his shows.

Lynch makes Legarski a believable character by not only looking the part of a Montana state trooper. His manner of talking, demeanor, and approaching the other “Big Sky” cast on screen is powerful.

When you look at Legarski from now on, then you’ll be able to realize all the work Lynch did to get to this point.

John Carroll Lynch is an actor who definitely has a face worth remembering. His work on “Big Sky” keeps that show going at key moments.

Don’t be surprised if Lynch hangs around a bit more as Legarski. He’s got a lot of investigative and non-investigative work left to do.