Though known mainly for his role as complicated police officer Vic Mackey on F/X's television cop drama The Shield, Massachusetts native Michael Chiklis has been acting professionally since the age of 13, when he made several appearances at the Town and Country Playhouse in Salem, NH. From there, Chiklis enlisted in a variety of classical, occasionally Shakespearian theatrical productions at the prestigious Merrimack Repertory Theatre and ultimately studied acting in the drama program at Boston University's College of Fine Arts. After graduating, Chiklis traveled to New York and began the auditioning process. In 1988, he was picked to portray John Belushi in the feature film Wired, though litigation and controversy delayed the release and proper promotional process, and the picture itself was a wretched mess (not to mention a depressing affair).
By 1991, after making guest appearances in some of the most popular sitcoms of the time (Murphy Brown, L.A. Law, and Seinfeld, to name a few), Chiklis was cast as amiable police commissioner Tony Scali on ABC's The Commish. Though a few extra pounds at that time helped him land the role after his audition, his subsequent weight loss required him to wear a "fat suit" to remain in character (though the actor was only in his mid-twenties, series producers created the role for someone much older). When The Commish ceased to be after a five-year run, Chiklis took on a small role in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) and starred in the ill-fated NBC sitcom Daddio (2000). Two years later, the series premiere of The Shield catapulted Chiklis back into the forefront of network success. His role on the popular series would bring him two Best Actor nominations from the Golden Globes, as well as one from the Screen Actor's Guild.