Stranger Things Season 3 introduced a bunch of new characters to Hawkins — cool girl Robin (Maya Hawke), odious Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes), Terminator-like Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko) — but one sweetie of a Russian spy won our hearts.
**SPOILERS FOR STRANGER THINGS SEASON 3 AHEAD**
When Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) discover an entrance to the subterranean Russian bases, they also encounter a Russian scientist named Dr. Alexei (Alec Utgoff). After a brutal run-in with Grigori, Hopper and Joyce escape with Alexei as their hostage.
Since they can’t speak Russian, and Alexei can’t communicate very well in English, Hopper takes to calling him Smirnoff. Joyce, however, attempts to speak with Alexei. After a few comical hijinks involving an exploding engine, a Slurpee machine, and a cat heist, the trio arrives at the front door of Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman). Once Murray begins translating for them, it soon becomes clear that Alexei isn’t just comic relief; he has a heroic heart of gold.
Dr. Alexei is played by actor Alec Utgoff — and yes, he really can speak fluent Russian. Utgoff was born in Kiev, Ukraine and immigrated to the United Kingdom as a child. He’s fluent in English, Russian, and Ukrainian. He’s perhaps best known for his work in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, but he’s also appeared in The Tourist and The Wrong Mans. You can follow Utgoff on Instragram.
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