Geoff Pierson

Geoff Pierson is an American actor known for his starring television roles on Dexter, Unhappily Ever After, Grace Under Fire, 24, Ryan's Hope and Designated Survivor. He has guest-starred in dozens of other TV shows.

Geoff Pierson
Geoff Pierson.jpg
Geoffrey Pierson
Years active1980–present


Pierson appeared with George C. Scott on Broadway in Tricks Of The Trade, before continuing on to do several New York soap operas and many regional theatre plays. Some notable theatrical roles include Angelo in Measure For Measure at the Yale Rep, Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Penn Ctr. Stage, Bobby in Speed The Plough at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and Ricky in Glengarry Glen Ross and Teach in American Buffalo at the Virginia Stage Company.[1]

Pierson's first high-profile prime-time television role was as Jack Malloy, the head of a dysfunctional family, in the WB sitcom Unhappily Ever After, which was created by Ron Leavitt, one of the creators of FOX's Married... with Children. Other TV roles include a leading role as R.T. Howard on That 80's Show, and recurring roles on Grace Under Fire, In Plain Sight (USA) and The Firm (NBC). He also had a recurring role as Rodney's long lost dad on the ABC comedy Rodney.

In 2005 and 2006 he appeared in two episodes of Veronica Mars as Stewart Manning, the father of Meg Manning.[2] In 2006, he guest-starred in Criminal Minds, playing Max Ryan, a former FBI agent-turned-author and Jason Gideon's mentor who comes out of his retirement to capture a serial killer known as the Keystone Killer in the episode, "Unfinished Business". From 2006 to 2013, he portrayed Miami-Dade Police Captain Tom Matthews on the Showtime series Dexter.

He appeared in the 2008 Clint Eastwood-directed film Changeling as the flamboyant defense attorney Sammy "S.S." Hahn. In 2011 he portrayed Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in Eastwood's J. Edgar.[3] He appeared in Touched by an Angel, Season 9, Episode 16.

Beginning in 2010, he had a recurring role in Boardwalk Empire as Senator Walter Edge. In 2011, Pierson played Midas Mulligan in Atlas Shrugged, based on Ayn Rand's novel of the same name. He played Russell Dunbar's wealthy father in Rules of Engagement and he had a recurring role as the mysterious Mr. Smith on Castle. In 2014 he appeared in an episode of Suburgatory.[4] In 2015 he co-starred as Defense Secretary Pierce Grey on HBO's The Brink. Currently, he stars in the former ABC and now, Netflix political thriller Designated Survivor, where he portrays Former President of United States and Secretary of State Cornelius Moss alongside Kiefer Sutherland.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Two Bits Dr. Wilson
1997 Leave It to Beaver Coach Gordon
1998 The Right Way Michael Peretti
2001 Behind Enemy Lines Admiral Donnelly
2004 Spartan Pearce
2006 Stay Dad
2007 D-War Secretary of Defense
2007 Already Dead Pierce
2008 A Line in the Sand The Mayor
2008 Changeling S.S. Hahn
2008 Get Smart Vice President
2009 World's Greatest Dad Principal Anderson
2011 Atlas Shrugged: Part I Michael 'Midas' Mulligan
2011 Something Borrowed Dexter Thaler Sr.
2011 God Bless America Frank's Boss
2011 J. Edgar Mitchell Palmer
2011 Jack and Jill Carter Simmons
2014 Revenge of the Green Dragons FBI Director Sam Higgins
2014 You're Not You Kate's Father
2016 Rules Don't Apply Merrill Lynch Executive


  1. ^ "Obituary for Helen Pierson - SKOKIE, IL".
  2. ^ Li, Shirley (2014-09-17). "A Definitive Ranking of Every Notable Guest Star On 'Veronica Mars'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  3. ^ Foundas, Scott (December 19, 2007). "Clint Eastwood: The Set Whisperer - Shooting quietly on the Changeling set". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2007.
  4. ^ Geoff Pierson on IMDb
  5. ^ Petski, Denise (February 17, 2017). "'Zoo' Casts Sophina Brown; 'Designated Survivor' Adds Geoff Pierson". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 29, 2019.

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