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11 Familiar Guest Stars On ShondaLand Shows This Season

ABC's Thursday night lineup is filling its call sheet with some very recognizable faces this season. This list will be updated throughout the 2014–2015 season.

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Thursday nights on ABC — known by some as "ShondaLand" or T.G.I.T. — are full of more recognizable celebrities than many red carpets are. Even the recurring actors on Shonda Rhimes' shows have notable acting chops in their back pockets. Gaius Charles, who played Brian "Smash" Williams on NBC's Friday Night Lights, played Dr. Shane Ross for Seasons 9 and 10 of Grey's Anatomy. And Joe Morton has played Rowan "Papa" Pope for the last few seasons of Scandal, winning an Emmy this year for his portrayal of the malevolent role.

In fact, Rhimes has ensured that the worlds of her shows are full of talented, established faces, from the leads down to guest parts — often transforming a role with a multi-episode arc into a multi-season story. As she has so carefully crafted her casting sheets, it is no surprise that the guest stars for this season are just as well-known. While many have already been announced for the 2014–2015 season, there are sure to be more coming as the year unfolds.

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Geena Davis

ABC/Adam Taylor

Where you know her from: Dottie Hinson, the brash and funny baseball catcher who kept the team together as manager Jimmy (Tom Hanks) drank in the bull pen, in A League of Their Own. Among many other things.

Who she's playing: Dr. Nicole Herman, a tough OB-GYN, and a new mentor for Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) in her fellowship...although Nicole doesn't care too much for Arizona's ongoing pediatric cases, or her excuses.

Annet Mahendru

ABC

Where you know her from: Nina Sergeevna, the KGB officer on FX's The Americans.

Who she's playing: In a pivotal episode about mothers and daughters, entitled "Only Mama Knows," Ana tries to pretend she's found a 10-year-old girl with a massive abdominal tumor. In fact, it's her daughter — but she's afraid that she and her daughter, both illegal immigrants, will be deported if they go to the hospital together.

Kate Burton

ABC

Where you know her from: ABC's Scandal's conservative, cutthroat Vice President Sally Langston.

Who she's playing: The actress is crossing ABC time slots to reprise her role as the unsympathetic mother of Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) in a series of flashbacks in "Mama Only Knows." It's impressive, and excellent, just how Shonda Rhimes can still incorporate Burton into the show long after killing off her character, Ellis.

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Paul Adelstein

ABC/Peter "Hopper" Stone

Where you know him from: Dr. Cooper Freedman, the very sweet and successful pediatrician, on ABC's Private Practice.

Who he's playing: Leo Bergen, the ruthless campaign manager to VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton). He's yet to appear this season, but is probably back to shake the devil out of his boss again.

Portia de Rossi

ABC/Eric McCandless

Where you know her from: Frivolous Lindsay Bluth Fünke on Fox (and Netflix)'s Arrested Development.

Who she's playing: "Lizzie Bear," who so far has spent her time simultaneously pushing the Republican Party's ideals and trying to destroy presidential chief of staff Cyrus (Jeff Perry) — while rocking some intense hair.

Michael Trucco

USA Network / NBCU Photo Bank USA Network

Where you know him from: Samuel Anders, the tough enforcer and former star Pyramid player on Battlestar Galactica, along with roles on Revenge, Castle, Killer Women, and How I Met Your Mother, among others.

Who he's playing: Charles Putney, aka the abusive husband who Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield) fled. Though we've never met Abby's ex, we do know he was supposed to be at a party David Rosen (Josh Malina) wanted to take Abby to as his guest. You would've thought Olivia (Kerry Washington) hitting him with a pipe in order to free Abby from his home would have sent him away forever, but apparently he's back.

Mary McCormack

ABC via Getty Images Eric McCandless

Where you know her from: Mary Shannon, the strict U.S. marshal, on USA Network's In Plain Sight.

Who she's playing: Lisa Eliot, a grade-school teacher who is paralyzed from the waist down after trying to rescue her young students during a school shooting.

Josh Randall

ABC via Getty Images Eric McCandless

Where you know him from: He played Dr. Mike Burton, best friend to Ed Stevens (Tom Cavanagh), on NBC's Ed.

Who he's playing: A war vet — who looks creepily like Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) on Showtime's Homeland — in a terrible marriage to Lisa Eliot (Mary McCormack). The duo are supposed to be the guests of President Grant (Tony Goldwyn) at his State of the Union address, and when the media's perfect and favorite couple threaten to not show, Olivia is brought in to fix things. Though the two guests are currently only set to appear in one episode, their roles are significant: Lisa's story provides a backdrop for a very poignant speech from the president about gun control and helps to get the first lady (Bellamy Young) out of her Uggs for the first time since her son's untimely death.

Jasika Nicole

ABC

Where you know her from: FBI Junior Agent Astrid Farnsworth on Fox's Fringe. And from last season on Scandal.

Who she's playing: Kim, who was the wife of Huck (Guillermo Díaz) before his identity was erased. They lived a beautiful, simple life together and even had a son. But, as a member of B613, Huck wasn't supposed to have a family, and when it is discovered he does, he leaves them to ensure they aren't harmed and never looks back — until Quinn (Katie Lowes) leads him to their doorstep at the end of Season 3.

Alysia Reiner

ABC/Mitchell Haaseth

Where you know her from: Natalie Figueroa, the corrupt assistant to the warden at Litchfield who tries to cover up a scandal by literally blowing her co-worker, on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.

Who she's playing: District Attorney Wendy Parks, who coerces Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay) to confess to murdering Lila Stanguard (Megan West) — even though she didn't — and then goes up against Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) in court to prosecute the girl.

Marcia Gay Harden

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Where you know her from: Diane Buckley, Pete Harrison's (Bradley Whitford) first wife and mother of his children, on ABC's Trophy Wife.

Who she's playing: While details about Harden's character are still unknown, she will be a recurring character. So it's quite possible she has a larger arc than just being one of Annalise's clients. Perhaps she's Rebecca Sutter's (Katie Findlay) mom?!

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