Everyone stop what you’re doing right this second because Perd Hapley—the beloved fictional news anchor with a habit of stating the obvious on NBC’s Parks and Recreation—exists Clancy-verse.
Without Remorse, which began streaming on Amazon Prime on Friday, is the newest film adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel. Both the book and the film serve as an origin story for a character from the Jack Ryan series named John Clark (Michael B. Jordan). Clark, as we learn in the film, is a former U.S. Navy Seal who used to go by John Kelly, John’s life is turned upside-down when Russian operatives murder his family. But I’m not here to talk about the political warfare, or the slick action sequences, or Jordan’s rippling muscles. I’m here to talk about the fact that Perd Hapley—aka actor Jay Jackson—makes a split-second appearance in Without Remorse, as an exposition-delivering news anchor.
If you know anything about Jackson as an actor, perhaps you won’t be surprised to see Perd Hapley back behind the fictional news desk. In fact, Jackson used to be behind a real news desk. According to a report from NPR, he spent 22 years as an actual news reporter for a local station in Los Angeles, KCAL9 News. Since he made the transition to acting, Jackson has only ever taken jobs as news anchors—in addition to Parks and Rec, he’s played fictional reporters on Dexter, The Mentalist, Battleship, Pretty Little Liars, Scandal, Supergirl, and more.
“People would say [I’m] typecast,” Jackson told NPR back in 2015. “Well, it’s not typecast. It’s all I know how to do.”
Jackson’s most iconic news anchor role is still Perd Hapley, best known for saying things like “The story of my interest level is: It’s medium.”
Jackson is not quite as delightfully stilted in Without Remorse. Instead, he takes on a more conversational tone as a political analyst in a Hardball-esque debate, in which he cautions a pundit from accusing the Russian state of murdering Americans on U.S. soil.
My headcanon? Perd Hapley’s talk show, Ya Heard? With Perd! blows up and gains a global following. Perd learns about the wonders of branding yourself on the internet, schmoozes with the right people on Twitter, and eventually starts landing invites on national political talk shows. Eventually, Perd gets his own national broadcast, and down the road, this helps Leslie Knope get elected president—because it never hurts to have an important friend in the media when you’re campaigning.
Basically what I’m saying is: Cast Amy Poehler as the president in the Without Remorse sequel, aka Rainbow Six. Thank you for your time.
Watch Without Remorse on Prime Video