Here at WGBH Drama Club, we may be die-hard fans of MASTERPIECE, but that doesn’t mean we restrict ourselves to watching only programs that air on PBS (shh, don’t tell!). And one non-PBS program that we loved was Starz’ The Missing, a crime drama co-produced with the BBC in 2014. So, when our buddies upstairs in MASTERPIECE announced that they would be presenting a spin-off focusing on the enigmatic main character from The Missing — Julien Baptiste — we were thrilled. One of our favorite characters starring in a show from our favorite franchise? Sign. Us. Up.

The aptly-named new show, Baptiste, picks up later in the sleuth's retirement years, and so doesn't require prior viewing of The Missing. Julien Baptiste is a canny, charismatic detective who works missing persons cases in France. This new spin-off sees Baptiste trying to settle into retirement after having a brain tumor removed — but, as with most of our favorite sleuths, he just can’t let the job go. And when a new case finds him, Baptiste jumps at the opportunity to solve it.

While we’ve enjoyed Baptiste thus far (psst, if you’ve missed it, you can catch up on the entire season on Passport) we found ourselves wanting to learn more about the actor Tchéky Karyo, who portrays our favorite detective. Here’s what we learned:

He was born in Istanbul.
Born in Turkey to a Greek father and a Turkish mother, Karyo’s name at birth was Baruh Djaki Karyo. So where did "Tchéky" come from? It’s the phonetic spelling of his middle name in French.

A rough beginning…
Karyo didn’t have the happiest childhood; his parents fought often, eventually separating when he was 13 years old. He has cited his tumultuous childhood as informing his acting style today by giving him a well of emotion to tap into.

A man with grey hair and stubble stands before a blurry waterway.
MASTERPIECE Mystery! Baptiste Spring 2020 on MASTERPIECE Mystery! on PBS Shown: Tchéky Karyo as Julien Baptiste For editorial use only. © Two Brothers Pictures and all3media international

…with big dreams.
Even as a child, Karyo says that he dreamt of someday becoming famed English actor and director Laurence Olivier.

A promising start...
Karyo studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre, later becoming a member of the Théâtre National Daniel-Sorano in Senegal.

...led to French cinema.
But Karyo didn’t stick to the stage. He has a wealth of acting experience in French films, from appearing as Nikita’s mentor, Bob, in La Femme Nikita, to a turn as one of the hunters in The Bear.

His big Hollywood break.
Even if you’re not a fan of French cinema, Karyo might already be familiar to you. He’s had his share of roles in Hollywood films, often as the villain: he played Fouchet in 1995’s Bad Boys, Villeneuve in The Patriot, and Inspector Richard in Kiss of the Dragon.

He's a Renaissance Man...
In addition to his acting work, Karyo is a singer and songwriter, and has even released two albums: Ce Lien Qui Nous Unit in 2006, and Credo in 2013.

...with a full personal life.
Karyo's wife is Valérie Kéruzoré, who is also an actor, known for French films and series including No Limit and L’adversaire. The couple has two young children together.

He almost passed on The Missing.
Karyo nearly gave up the role of Julien Baptiste in The Missing because filming began shortly after his daughter was born, and, at the time, working on a series about a missing child hit too close to home. But when the production's other lead actor fell through, Karyo felt bad for leaving them in a tight spot, and reluctantly agreed to step in.

Oh, and that Julien Baptiste limp.
Unlike Baptiste, Karyo does not have a limp; in fact, he’s struggled with remembering which leg he’s meant to limp with while on set.

If you have yet to catch this multi-talented man in action, it’s not too late — check out Tchéky Karyoin Baptiste on Passport today!