Robert John Burke

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Robert John Burke
Born (1960-09-12) September 12, 1960 (age 58)[1]
Alma materState University of New York at Purchase
Years active1981–present

Robert John Burke (born September 12, 1960) is an American actor.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Burke was born in Washington Heights, Manhattan, the son of immigrants from Galway, Ireland. He attended the Acting Conservatory at State University of New York at Purchase.[1] Burke holds a second degree black belt in Matsubayashi, Shorin-ryu Okinawa karate and is also a certified and active New York State firefighter.


Burke was a cast member on Denis Leary's Rescue Me and played Bart Bass on The CW's Gossip Girl. He was working on the TV series Kidnapped for NBC and was a featured character on ABC's series Six Degrees. Burke has had recurring roles on Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (where he has the recurring role of NYPD Internal Affairs Lieutenant (later Captain) Ed Tucker, a frequent nemesis for the SVU detective squad) and has appeared in Person of Interest (as a crooked cop working for the mob), and The Sopranos in 2004. Burke was on Sex and the City in seasons four and five, playing Miranda's hookup. Also in 2004, Burke played the role of Mr. Neck in the independent film Speak.

Burke's largest mainstream role to date has been taking over the lead from Peter Weller in RoboCop 3.[1] He is notable for being a regular performer in fellow Purchase alumnus Hal Hartley's indie films, such as 1989's The Unbelievable Truth[1] and 1992's Simple Men.[1] He had a small role in Hartley's 1995 film Flirt.[1]

He starred in Richard Stanley's 1993 film Dust Devil,[2] and in 2001's No Such Thing.[2] In 1996, he played the lead role in the Stephen King film adaptation of Thinner.[1]

In 2005, Burke, had a role in the John Polson film Hide and Seek,[2] a psychological thriller starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning. He had roles in the Academy Award-nominated films Munich[2] directed by Steven Spielberg and Good Night, and Good Luck,[2] directed by George Clooney.

In 2008, he portrayed Major General James Mattis, Commanding General of 1st Marine Division in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. Burke also portrayed General Ned Almond, commanding general of the 92nd Division, Buffalo Soldiers, in the 2008 Spike Lee film Miracle at St. Anna.[2] He appeared in the 2012 film Safe.[2]

In 2015 and 2017, he appeared in an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, parodying his role on Law & Order.[3] He played the Colorado Springs chief of police in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman in 2018.



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Nightmare Weekend Dave
1989 The Unbelievable Truth Josh
1991 Rambling Rose Dave Wilkie
1992 Dust Devil Dust Devil
Simple Men Bill McCabe
1993 A Far Off Place Paul Parker
RoboCop 3 Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop
Heaven & Earth G.I. Paul
Tombstone Frank McLaury
1995 Flirt Men's Room Man #
Killer: A Journal of Murder R.G. Greiser
1996 If Lucy Fell Handsome Man
Fled U.S. Marshal Pat Schiller
Thinner Billy Halleck
1997 May day – Flag in den Tod Tom Hutton
Cop Land Officer B
First Love, Last Rites Henry
1998 Somewhere in the City Frankie
2001 No Such Thing Monster
2002 For Earth Below Automated Bank Voice (voice) Short film
State Property Bob
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Inspector Jenks
2003 Tea Time with Roy & Sylvia Roy Short film
2004 Speak Mr. Neck
Connie and Carla Rudy
2005 Hide and Seek Steven
Good Night, and Good Luck. Charlie Mack Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with cast)
Munich Belligerent American
2006 The Oh in Ohio Binky Taylor
Jack's Law Det. Ron Banks
The Ex Colonel Previously titled Fast Track
2008 Miracle at St. Anna General Ned Almond
2010 Brooklyn's Finest State Trooper #1
2011 Limitless Pierce
2012 Safe Captain Wolf
2013 2 Guns Jessup
2015 True Story Detective Greg Ganley
2017 Future '38 General Sportwood
2018 BlacKkKlansman Chief Bridges
Boarding School Mr. Holcomb


Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Equalizer O'Toole Episode: "Torn"
1995 Crazy for a Kiss Steve Television film
1995–2004 Law & Order Arthur "Buzz" Palley, FBI Agent Ron Innes, Lt. Colonel Milton Danbury 3 episodes
1998 Homicide: Life on the Street Jeffrey Andrews Episode: "Abduction"
From the Earth to the Moon William Anders 2 episodes
A Bright Shining Lie Frank Drummond Television film
Alptraum im Airport Paul Bacon
2000 Falcone Jules Weller Episode: "Windows"
2000–2003 Oz Special Agent Pierce Taylor 8 episodes
2002 Witchblade Det. Dean Gorner Episode: "Agape"
Sex and the City Walker Lewis 2 episodes
2002 CSI: Miami FBI Agent Jim Resdon

1 episode

2002–present Law & Order: Special Victims Unit IAB Captain Ed Tucker 29 episodes
2004 The Sopranos Officer Zmunda Episode: "Two Tonys"
2004–2011 Rescue Me Mickey Gavin 54 episodes
2006 Six Degrees David 2 episodes
2006–2007 Kidnapped Bellows 10 episodes
2007 Queens Supreme Special Agent Jeff Donaldson Episode: "Permanent Markers"
2007–2012 Gossip Girl Bart Bass 27 episodes
2008 Generation Kill Major General James "Chaos" Mattis 3 episodes
2010 Blue Bloods Jyle Hogan
2011 White Collar Patrick O'Leary Episode: "The Dentist of Detroit"
2011–2013 Person of Interest Officer Patrick Simmons 16 episodes
2012 NYC 22 Deputy Inspector Dennis McClaren Episode: "Thugs and Lovers"
2012–2013 Army Wives General Kevin Clarke 16 episodes
2013 Golden Boy Andrew Lightstone Episode: "Next Question"
2014 Nurse Jackie Dick Richards 2 episodes
2015 Allegiance Special Agent Brock 8 episodes
2015–2017 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Forensic Scientist, Cop 2 episodes
2019 Project Blue Book William Fairchild


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Robert John Burke Biography". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Robert John Burke Filmography". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Laura Bradley (September 14, 2015). "John Oliver Tells us How an Accurate Law & Order About the Public Defender System Would Look".

External links[edit]