When the third season of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix on Jul. 4, it brought with it several new characters and cast members. The world of the show became a little bit wider, leading to new friendships and unlikely alliances, like Joyce and Hopper's team-up with a man named Dr. Alexei. Since he's a new addition, fans may be wondering who plays Alexei on Stranger Things. It's very possible you've seen him somewhere before.
Alec Utgoff took on the role of Alexei, a visiting Russian scientist who found himself dragged along on Joyce and Hopper's journey to get to the bottom of what was going on in Hawkins. Despite differing loyalties, Alexei became a valuable member of the team. He seemed to endear himself to the rest of the crew as well, even though neither Joyce nor Hopper could communicate with him directly. Alexei only spoke Russian, and neither of them was fluent. (Though Joyce was more polite about it, as was typical.)
Utgoff was born in the Ukraine, but moved to the United Kingdom when he was young, so his real-life accent isn't very similar to Alexei's. He's worked in film and TV for the last decade, though Stranger Things might end up becoming one of his most recognizable roles. Russian scientist who loves cherry slushies is a tough one to forget.
Per IMDB, Utgoff's first onscreen role was in a single episode of the show Spooks. He followed that up with a small role in the film The Tourist, which starred Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. He appeared in a few short films and a few more features, like The Seasoning House and Common People. Then he landed the role of Aleksandr Borovsky in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; it seems like Utgoff's specialty is playing Eastern European characters. There are more than a few Alexeis on his resume, too.
He had recurring roles on the shows The Wrong Mans, New Blood, and Power Monkeys (playing a character named Alexi in the latter). He also appeared in another Depp film, noted flop Mortdecai, as well as San Andreas (playing another Alexi) and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Later this year, he will appear in the TV mini-series Dracula as Abramoff. The project, which once again adapts Bram Stoker's seminal vampire novel, comes from Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Utgoff first seemed to hint at his involvement with Stranger Things in November 2018. He tweeted about returning from a six month shoot in America for a project that was "going to be big." Though he was excited about it, he had to keep everything under wraps for legal reasons. That checks out, since every season of Stranger Things has been swathed in secrecy before its premiere. In April of this year, he appeared to mention it again, tweeting that "every show is a secret nowadays," which prevented him from showing off or telling people what he was up to. I can see how that would be frustrating, because if I had just been cast on Stranger Things, I would be screaming it at top volume as I ran down the street.
Finally, on Jun. 5, Utgoff was able to reveal that he would be in Season 3. And now that the season's out, you can enjoy his performance at your leisure.
Who am I kidding? You've already marathoned it, haven't you?