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23 of the Best Scott Bakula Movies and TV Shows

From 'Quantum Leap' to 'NCIS: New Orleans' and beyond, this actor has been entertaining fans for decades

It would be easy to limit Scott Bakula movies and TV shows to things like Necessary Roughness, Quantum Leap or NCIS: New Orleans, but there has been so much more to his career, which has spanned nearly 50 years and encompassed everything from film, to recurring or regular roles on television, and performances on the Broadway stage.

Born October 9, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri, he made the move to New York City in 1976 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor — a seemingly wise decision as the next year he found himself cast in the national tour of the musical Shenandoah.

Five years later, in 1982, he debuted on Broadway as an understudy in the musical Is There Life After High School?, which was followed the next year by his portrayal of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in the short-lived (17 performances) Marilyn: An American Fable. More attention came his way with 1985’s Three Guys from the Waist Down and Nightclub Confidential.

The “history” of Scott Bakula movies and TV shows kicked off with a recurring role in Designing Women as well as the short-lived series Gung Ho and Eisenhower & Lutz. Neither of the latter two were hits, but it’s obvious that he made quite an impression on them: in 1989 he would portray his most famous role, Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap and, two years after that, make the “leap” to the big screen in the form of the film Necessary Roughness in 1991.

From there, Scott Bakula movies and TV shows would only pick up speed and continue offering him — and us — a wide variety of roles that continue to this day.

Scott Bakula movies and TV shows

Gung Ho (1986 to 1987 TV show)

Scott Bakula movies and TV shows: Gung Ho
Scott Bakula in Gung Ho©Paramount Pictures/IMDb

For this TV version of the film of the same name, Scott is Hunt Stevenson (replacing Michael Keaton) and Gedde Watanabe reprises his role of Kaz Kazuhiro, with a set-up that is pretty much the same: comic hijinks of the two of them working at the fictional Assan Motors in Pennsylvania.

Designing Women (recurring Role, 1986 to 1988)

Scott Bakula and Annie Potts
Scott Bakula and Annie Potts in Designing Women©CBS

Scott played Annie Potts‘ romantic interest, Ted Shivey, on five episodes of the popular sitcom Designing Women, about a group of four ladies and a guy working at an interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Other cast members include Dixie Carter, Jean Smart, Delta Burke and Meshach Taylor.

RELATED: 15 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About ‘Designing Women’

Eisenhower and Lutz (1988 TV Show)

Scott Bakula Movies and TV shows: Eisenhower and Lutz
Scott Bakula in Eisenhower and Lutz©CBS

Ony lasting 13 episodes, this sitcom saw Scott playing ambulance-chasing lawyer Barnett M. “Bud” Lutz, Jr., who spends more time on his relationships with DeLane Matthew as Megan O’Malley and a pre-Home Improvement Patricia Richardson as Kay “K.K.” Dunne than finding clients.

Quantum Leap (1989 to 1993 TV show)

Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell in Quantum Leap: Scott Bakula Movies and TV Shows
Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell in Quantum Leap©NBCUniversal/courtesy

It’s one thing to have a great premise — a guy bounces around in time, entering the bodies of people to correct what once went wrong — but even better when you have an actor like Scott Bakula playing the time leaper who finds himself taking on male, female, child and even monkey (!) characters. Dean Stockwell costars as the holographic Al, who helps Sam figure out what’s going on. Quantum Leap, especially the original, is something to behold if you haven’t checked it out yet.

Necessary Roughness (1991 film)

Scott Bakula in Necessary Roughness
Scott Bakula and Sinbad in Necessary Roughness©Paramount Pictures/courtesy

In a desperate attempt to turn around the plight of a failing university football team, some unusual players are chosen, among them junior professor Andre Krimm (Sinbad) and 30-something quarterback Paul Blake (Scott Bakula).

Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771 (1993 TV movie)

Scott Bakula in Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771
Scott Bakula in Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771©NBCUniversal/IMDb

Pilot Jay Parks (Scott Bakula) survives a crash landing of his plane in Australia, but rescuing him turns out to be a challenge. Attempting to do so is pilot Gordon Vette (Robert Loggia). Aired in America as a TV movie, it was released overseas theatrically.

RELATED: What Was the Most Popular Movie the Year You Were Born?

Murphy Brown (recurring role, 1993 to 1996)

Candice Bergen and Scott Bakula in Murphy Brown: Scott Bakula movies and TV shows
Candice Bergen and Scott Bakula in Murphy Brown©CBS

Scott Bakula movies and TV shows took an interesting turn following the end of Quantum Leap, when he ended up playing Candice Bergen‘s romantic interest, reporter Peter Hunt in 13 episodes of Murphy Brown. He appeared on occasion between seasons 6 and 8.

A Passion to Kill (1994 film)

Scott Bakula A Passion to Kill
Scott Bakula in A Passion to Kill, 1994©Rysher Entertainment

When the husband of a woman he’s having an affair with turns up dead, suspicion turns on a psychiatrist (Scott Bakula), who fears he’s being played by the man’s wife.

Nowhere to Hide (1994 TV Movie)

Scott Bakula in Nowhere to Hide
Scott Bakula in Nowhere to Hide, 1994©Paramount Pictures

Rosanna Arquette‘s Sarah Blake is put into the witness protection program when she testifies against her husband (played by Max Pomerano), who is connected with the mob. Assigned to protect her is special agent Kevin Nicholas (Scott Bakula). Complicating the situation is the fact that the two of them develop feelings for each other.

The Invaders (1995 Miniseries)

Scott Bakula in The Invaders
Scott Bakula in The Invaders, 1995©Fox/IMDb

Based on the 1960s sci-fi series of the same name, this two-part miniseries sees Scott playing Nolan Wood, who discovers an alien conspiracy that threatens us all. Roy Thinnes briefly reprises his original series role of David Vincent, helping to point Wood in the right direction of exposing the truth. The original intent was to launch a new series, but resulting ratings didn’t warrant it.

Lord of Illusions (1995 Film)

Lord of Illusions: Scott Bakula movies and TV shows
Scott Bakula in Lord of Illusions, 1995©MGM/courtesy

The tone of Scott Bakula movies and TV shows definitely goes a little darker with Lord of Illusions, based on author Clive Barker‘s short story “The Last Illusion.” It introduces Scott as occult detective Harry D’Amour, who finds himself mixed up with an investigation involving a sorcerer named Nix (Daniel von Bargen) and an illusionist named Swann (Kevin J. O’Connor).

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1996 to 1997 TV series)

Scott Bakula and Maria Bello
Scott Bakula and Maria Bello in Mr. and Mrs. Smith©CBS/courtesy

This is not the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie film about assassins who end up targeting each other. Instead, it’s a television spy series starring Scott Bakula and Maria Bello as the title characters, spies who know nothing about each other but end up working together to protect corporate America from espionage. Thirteen episodes were produced, only nine of which aired in America.

Major League: Back to the Minors (1998 film)

Scott Bakula Movies and TV Shows: Major League: Back to the Minors
Scott Bakula in Major League: Back to the Minors©WBDiscovery/IMDb

Scott is Minor League pitcher Gus Cantrell, whose last grasp of the career he dreamed of may coming from taking over the management of the South Carolina Buzz, a terrible team that he actually sees some potential in.

American Beauty (1999)

Scott Bakula in American Beauty
Scott Bakula in American Beauty, 1999©Dreamworks Pictures/IMDb

The focus is on Kevin Spacey‘s Lester Burham, an advertising executive suffering from a midlife crisis and growing infatuation with his daughter’s teenage best friend (Mena Suvari). Things definitely take a dark turn as the film explores sexuality, materialism, romantic and paternal love, and more. Admittedly Scott has a small role as one-half of a gay couple living near Lester, but how do you not include a film that would win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Mendes) and Best Actor (Spacey)?

Netforce (1999 TV movie)

Scott Bakula in Netforce
Scott Bakula in Netforce@ABC/IMDb

Produced in 1999 and set six years later, this TV movie sees Scott as Alex Michaels, appointed Commander of NetForce — an agency devoted to computer crime and policing the Internet — to stop the plan of web pioneer Will Stiles (Judge Reinhold), who is about to release a web browser that will allow him to hack into any computer on Earth. Co-created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.

Star Trek: Enterprise (2001 to 2005 TV show)

Star Trek: Enterprise: Scott Bakula Movies and TV shows
Scott Bakula and the cast of Star Trek: Enterprise©Paramount Pictures/courtesy

Set about 75 years before the adventures of William Shatner‘s Captain Kirk and his starship Enterprise of the original Star Trek. This show follows the adventures of Earth’s first exploratory space vessel, also named Enterprise, and features Scott as Captain Jonathan Archer, laying the roadmap for much of what would be a part of Star Trek canon.

The series could be bumpy, but when it was good, it positively soared. Archer had a mostly human crew, though his science officer is the Vulcan T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) and the ship’s physician is an alien named Phlox (John Billingsley). The show ran for a total of 98 episodes and should definitely be checked out.

The New Adventures of Old Christine (recurring Role, 2006 to 2010)

Scott Bakula and Julia Louis Dreyfuss
“Love: A Cautionary Tale”: Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) learns some shocking news about New Christine’s father, Papa Jeff (Scott Bakula) after the two of them rekindle their relationship in The New Adventures of Old Christine©WBDiscovery/CBS

Back as a character romantically involved with the lead of the series — this time playing “Papa Jeff” Hunter opposite Julia Louis Dreyfuss’ “Old” Christine Kimble Cambell on The New Adventures of Old Christine — Scott appeared in a total of four episodes.

Men of a Certain Age (2009 to 2011 TV show)

Andre Braugher, Ray Romano, Scott Bakula
Andre Braugher, Ray Romano and Scott Bakula in Men of a Certain Age©WBDiscovery/courtesy

The premise is simple: a trio of friends in their late forties are doing their best coping with the fact that they’ve reached middle-age, and not always succeeding. What’s not simple are the nuanced performances of Scott as former actor and apartment building manager Terry Elliot, Andre Braugher as diabetic (and anxiety-suffering) car salesman Owen Thoreau Jr and Ray Romano in the lead role of aspiring golfer — and party store owner — Joe Tranelli. There were only 22 episodes produced, but there should have been more.

The Informant! (2009 film)

Matt Damon and Scott Bakula
MATT DAMON as Mark Whitacre and SCOTT BAKULA as FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard in The Informant©WBDiscovery/IMDb

Matt Damon is Marck Whitacre, a whistleblower in the lysine price-fixing conspiracy of the mid-1990s (an organized effort to raise the price of the animal feed additive lysine). Scott is FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard. The film itself is actually a comedy.

Chuck (recurring role, 2009 to 2010, TV show)

Zachary Levi and Scott Bakula in Chuck
Zachary Levi and Scott Bakula in Chuck©NBCUniversal/IMDb

In the television series Chuck, Zachary Levi plays Chuck Bartowski, a computer-whiz who received an encoded email which results in America’s greatest secrets uploading into his brain, which turns him into an involuntary agent for the government. Between 2009 and 2010, Scott appeared in seven episodes as Stephen J. Bartowski, Chuck’s estranged father who was the designer of the “Intersect” (the material his son now possesses mentally).

Desperate Housewives (recurring role, 2012)

Scott Bakula and Marcia Cross
Scott Bakula and Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives©ABC/courtesy

Scott was defense attorney Trip Weston, brought on to defend Marcia Cross’ Bree Van de Kamp when she was accused of murder in five episodes of Desperate Housewives.

Looking (recurring role, 2014 to 2015)

Scott Bakula and Murray Barlett
Scott Bakula and Murray Barlett in Looking©WBDiscovery/courtesy

The focus on this 2014 to 2016 series was on a trio of gay friends living and working in San Francisco. Scott appeared in eight of the 18 episodes produced as a character named Lynn, who forms a strong connection with Murray Barlett’s Dom Basaluzzo.

NCIS: New Orleans (2014 to 2021, TV show)

Scott Bakula Movies and TV Shows:
Scott Bakula in NCIS: New Orleans©CBS/courtesy

Consisting of five series to date, the NCIS franchise is devoted to military related criminal investigations which are inspired by actual investigations conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service of the United States Department of the Navy (how’s that for a mouthful?). Scott stars in NCIS: New Orleans, which ran from 2014 to 2021, and saw him playing Dwayne “King” Cassius Pride, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent (SSA)/Special Agent in Charge (SAC). As such, he leads a team that solves crimes involving personnel in the Navy and Marine Corps. With 155 episodes, it’s the longest time in the “history” of Scott Bakula movies and TV shows where he has played a single character.

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