With his barrel chest and oversized frame, British-born actor Dominic Purcell seemed almost tailor-made for a career as a character player. He remained in that sphere temporarily, but traveled a step beyond it in terms of complexity, playing not just one type time and again, but a broad array -- ranging from everyman heroes and monsters to occasional toughs. Consequently, Purcell shot rather quickly to top billing. After a scant few supporting turns, Purcell's first major starring role arrived with his lead portrayal in the series John Doe (2002), a kind of cross between Coronet Blue and The Bourne Identity about a supremely intelligent fellow with knowledge about everything in the world except for his own identity. Unfortunately, that program only lasted a single season.
In 2004, Purcell signed for another lead, this one in Scott Ziehl's post-noir crime thriller 3-Way -- as a rather shady widower who blackmails a couple of would-be kidnappers into cutting him into their plan. Yet that series also folded almost instantaneously. The next year, the actor finally found a lasting role on the hit Fox drama Prison Break, playing Lincoln Burrows, an incarcerated man whose brother gets deliberately thrown into prison to spring him out. Purcell landed his next major cinematic role in the natural horror picture Primeval (2007), about a news team in hot pursuit of a 25-foot crocodile.
Once Prison Break ended in 2009, Purcell appeared in a string of forgettable films, including House of the Rising Sun (2011) and Straw Dogs (2011). In 2014, he returned to television, playing the villain Heat Wave on CW's The Flash.