Giancarlo Esposito can’t seem to say no. The critical favorite has a long and varied resume on the stage and screen, and his skills as an actor and singer have put him in high demand constantly. In fact, this TV season alone he’s appeared on five different series. And while he may be best known as a certain peddler of poultry, his range extends far beyond that menacing “Breaking Bad” role.
Below, we’ve ranked Esposito’s current roles in order of increasing level of scariness:
5. Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror on “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)
Although he once used to be a Genie of Agrabah, he gave away all of his power and freedom when he decided to stay with his emotional abuser, the Evil Queen, for love. That’s right. He was a fool for love. Now he’s trapped in the mirror and doesn’t have much to do outside of it besides talking to and helping out the Evil Queen. Talk about your codependent relationships.
Level of Scariness: -1 out of 5 drumsticks. His soft heart got him into this situation where he’s rendered impotent. Did we mention he also sings? Hardly intimidating.
4. Lieutenant Charles Gold on “Rebel” (BET)
Although he can carry a firearm and can shoot to kill, the police chief is a benevolent force so far as we can tell and was a kind mentor to Rebecca “Rebel” Knight while she was still an officer. He’s well-read, personable, and long-suffering when it comes to dealing with Rebel.
Level of Scariness: 2 out of 5 drumsticks. The good lieutenant has the ability to cause harm but does not choose to exploit this power or his position. His nurturing and upstanding ways makes us feel safe with him.
3. Narrator on “Dear White People” (Netflix)
How could Esposito’s disembodied voice possibly be scarier than a mirror with powers or a nice cop? It’s because our humble Narrator is self-aware, too clever by half and not all that humble. He introduced himself thusly: “The writers of this program are depending on my ethnic but non-threatening voice to convey things that they are too lazy to set up traditionally.” He’s a straight shooter who seems to enjoy chaos, and we shudder to think what secrets he’d reveal about us.
Level of Scariness: 2.5 out 5 drumsticks. He has a smile in his voice, but that just makes us wary of him. Keep him close but don’t turn your back on him.
2. Pastor Ramon Cruz on “The Get Down” (Netflix)
Not only does the pastor have the Lord and righteousness on his side, but also an incredibly hot temper that can be set off when his wife or daughter disobey his strict ways. His unpredictability and penchant for using physical violence (at times) makes him a ticking time bomb.
Level of Scariness: 4 out of 5 drumsticks. Woe to those who fall short of his lofty standards for morality.
1. Gustavo “Gus” Fring on “Better Call Saul” (AMC)
Was there ever any doubt? The drug lord’s ruthless and Machiavellian ways are even more diabolical because they’re hidden beneath a veneer of perfect politeness and sometimes an offering of scrumptious fried chicken. Technically on “Better Call Saul” he hasn’t done some of the terrifying things we know he’s done on “Breaking Bad” yet but if we learned anything from “The Arrival,” it’s that all time exists simultaneously. He was, is, and will be that man, the man who was even frightening in the moment of death.
Level of Scariness: 5 out of 5 drumsticks. Don’t do business with him. Don’t look him in the eye. And for your own safety, don’t get hooked on his chicken.