What Else Has ‘Heroes’ Actor Leonard Roberts Been in? His Other Notable TV Roles Include a Cult Hit

Actor Leonard Roberts penned an essay about his experience filming Heroes, the hit NBC sci-fi drama that aired from 2006-2010. In it, he describes what led to his character being written off, and how this changed his career. So what other series is Roberts known for?

Leonard Roberts starred in ‘Heroes’ Season 1

(l-r) Noah Gray-Cabey as Micah Sanders, Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins, Ali Larter as Niki/Jessica Sanders in ‘Heroes’ | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Roberts portrayed D.L. Hawkins in Heroes. The character is introduced five episodes into the first season of the series. D.L. was wrongfully imprisoned and was able to break out after discovering his power of intangibility. He returns home to his wife, Niki Sanders (Ali Larter), and his son, Micah (both of whom also have abilities).

D.L. spends much of the season trying to protect Micah from Niki, whose other personality, Jessica, often uses her superhuman strength for the wrong reasons. He’s shot at the end of season 1, but in the season 2 episode “Four Months Ago…” it’s revealed that he survived that bullet, only to be killed by another one.

In 2020, he spoke about mistreatment on set

(l-r) Ali Larter as Niki Sanders/Jessica Sanders, Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins, Allan Arkush (director) on the set of 'Heroes'
(l-r) Ali Larter as Niki Sanders/Jessica Sanders, Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins, Allan Arkush (director) on the set of ‘Heroes’| Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

More than a decade after the series came to an end, Roberts spoke honestly about his time on Heroes. “The Black Lives Matter protests clearly were bringing up feelings of anger, fear and shame connected to a time in my professional past I now believe is deserving of reflection, and a public airing,” he wrote in an essay for Variety.

Roberts detailed how he was written off Heroes in Season 2 after Larter complained about him to those in charge. “I was now the one — as an actor, a Black man, and a human being — who felt disrespected,” Roberts wrote. “I wanted to feel seen and heard, if only on the way out the door,” he said, wishing for more from his character’s death.

Roberts’ first recurring role was on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins in 'Heroes'
Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins in ‘Heroes’ | Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Roberts began acting in the ’90s after graduating from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Following a few small film roles and a couple of TV appearances, he was cast as Forrest Gates in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4. The actor appeared in 12 episodes airing from 1999-2000.

Forrest is introduced as a close friend of the titular characters’ love interest, Riley Finn. The two men are college students at UC Sunnydale who are also in the military and serve as part of the Initiative. Forrest isn’t fond of Buffy, especially when he learns who she really is. And he becomes a complication for Riley and Buffy late in the season.

He went on to star in ‘Major Crimes’ and ‘The Magicians’

Much of Roberts’ career is comprised of recurring or guest TV roles. He’s appeared in series such as SmallvilleCastleThe Client ListMom, and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story. As he wrote in the Variety piece, “It would be 10 years before I would become a series regular again.”

Roberts’ Assistant Chief Leo Mason was introduced in the TNT procedural Major Crimes Season 5. He became part of the main cast with the show’s sixth and final season. The actor was then cast in the Syfy series The Magicians as King Idri of Loria, once again in a recurring capacity.