19 Surprising TV Actors Who Also Direct

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Lots of actors are satisfied with perfecting their craft in front of the camera. They shine in the spotlight. But sometimes they're inspired to play a different role in TV, and that's the role of director. These actors have ideas and a vision of what they would like to see in a show.

Most times they're directing the show they act in.

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These actors know the show so well that they want to expand their creative wings and make their visions come to life from behind the screen. Typically acting as they direct, these talents move flawlessly between roles, often enhancing their acting ability.

Experiencing a TV show from a different perspective is a challenge. One that a lot of actors aspire to achieve. Have any of your favorite actors also directed the very shows you enjoy? Chances are they might have. Read on to find out if your favorites have made the leap.

1. Matthew Gray Gubler - Criminal Minds

Matthew Gray Gubler - Criminal Minds
It should come as no surprise that the talent who plays Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds has 11 directing credits from the show. Gubler has also directed several short films and is a writer, producer, and artist. That's a whole lot of talent wrapped up in our favorite brainiac.

2. Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy

Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy
Chandra Wilson plays the five-foot-nothing no-nonsense heart of gold surgeon Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy. While playing the role, she's also directed a whopping 19 episodes for the series. Although Grey's is the only show she both acts and directs in, she's also directed episodes for The Fosters and Scandal.

3. Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: SVU

Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: SVU
Mariska has played the role of Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU since day one, but in recent years she's also stepped behind the camera. Since 2014, she's directed six episodes for the series and will probably continue in both roles until the end of the long-running series.

4. Hugh Laurie - House

Hugh Laurie - House
We know Hugh Laurie as House on the medical drama of the same name. Did you know he also directed a couple of episodes? We have to wonder if acting with an American accent while directing without tripped up the actor on set. It's funny to imagine House with a British accent.

5. Jennifer Garner - Alias

Jennifer Garner - Alias
Jennifer Garner played Sydney Bristow, a kickass international spy for the five season series. A year before the end of the series, Garner tried her hand at directing. She directed one episode for the series and hadn't tried it again since, but that doesn't mean she won't.

6. Courteney Cox - Cougar Town

Courteney Cox - Cougar Town
Courteney Cox is probably most widely recognized as the anal retentive Monica Gellar on Friends. She has a boatload of other acting credits to her name and some directing ones too. When Cox was playing her role on Cougar Town, she also directed twelve episodes for the series.

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