Enver Gjokaj is an Albanian-American actor best known for portraying the supporting character Victor on Dollhouse. His father is Albanian while his mother is American. Gjokaj has attended the California college UC Berkeley before graduating from the Tisch School of the Arts in New York with an MFA in acting in 2005. Enver and Eliza Dushku, who plays the lead character Echo, are both of Albanian/American descent.
Gjokaj was one of only 19 semifinalists (out of 360 entries) for New York University's inaugural Vilar Fellowship for performing artists in 2002. Whilst Dollhouse was in production he divided his time between New York City and Los Angeles.
Gjokaj has had a fairly impressive body of work considering that he only began professionally acting after 2005. He has appeared in two made-for-TV movies, The Path to 9/11 and Filthy Gorgeous. He has also had guest appearances in episodes of The Book of Daniel and The Unit, as well as an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Moving next to work on the big screen, Gjokaj appeared next to Dennis Quaid in the film The Express, and then next to Kevin Bacon in the movie Taking Chance. He also had a minor supporting role in the blockbuster hit Eagle Eye alongside Shia LaBeouf. This was followed by parts in Tale of the Tribe, Stone, Eden and Would You Rather. He appeared in a small cameo as a cop in Joss Whedon's first Avengers movie, before landing a main role in Marvel's Agent Carter as SSR agent Daniel Sousa. He reprised his role as Agent Sousa on season 7 of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in a recurring guest appearance. His Dollhouse co-star, Dichen Lachman also reprised her role in the episodes: "After, Before" and "Stolen". Gjokaj also played Agent Ryan Brooks in a recurring role on the first season of Emergence.
Originally announced as portraying Victor, Gjokaj's role changed to that of Lubov, "the most recent addition to the Borodin family, a Russian mob that runs a large human trafficking ring on the FBI's radar". However, by the third episode, "Stage Fright" it was revealed that Lubov was only an imprinted personality, and that the Dollhouse used Victor to throw Agent Ballard off of his pursuit of the Dollhouse.
According to Joss Whedon (in one of the special features of the season one DVD set), Gjokaj was almost immediately cast as Victor by displaying genuine emotive acting as well as "having large, trusting eyes;" he was seen as the perfect Active/Doll. Since the role of Lubov has no longer been necessary, Gjokaj's Victor has since been imprinted in such varied roles as the British lover "Roger" for the Miss Lonely Hearts client, Laurence Dominic in the episode "Haunted," and a high-up investigator in "Echoes."
Season two has seen Gjokaj display his considerable versatility as an actor even further he has spent much time as Victor within the house, though in the memorable episode "Belle Chose" Victor was imprinted as the misogynistic serial killer Terry Karrens, and then through a subsequent (and disastrous) attempt at remote wiping courtesy of Topher, Victor swapped imprints with Echo and became a bubbly, air-headed college girl named Kiki. He has since played an art critic, reprised the role of Roger, and in another display of his eerily accurate mimicking skills played a copy of Topher Brink in the episodes "The Public Eye/The Left Hand."
Victor has since been granted his true personality, and Gjokaj now plays Anthony Ceccoli, an ex-Army ranger who had entered the Dollhouse to cure a fierce case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
From his opening appearance as "Lubov," Gjokaj has frequently been reviewed by "Dollhouse" critics as the best actor on the show, many hoping that he will find more work after "Dollhouse" and that Whedon will continue to use him in his later works (Joss Whedon has a habit of re-using actors in all of his projects). Gjokaj has, at times, been praised as being a superior actor at switching personalities than the show's lead, Eliza Dushku.
Particular praise has been granted to Gjokaj's remarkable talent at being a flawless mimic of other characters. He has played Reed Diamond's character Laurence Dominic and Fran Kranz's character Topher Brink with eerie precision.
In the episode ""The Attic"," Victor/Anthony had a nightmare of constantly fighting himself dressed in Taliban clothing in Afghanistan, killing himself over and over. It has since been revealed that Enver has a twin brother named Demir Gjokaj, who is a businessman and an architect who guest starred in his first ever acting role as a favor to Enver and to "try something new." Demir was given no speaking parts and only appeared briefly.
This is not the first time that Whedon has seized on the benefits of one of his actors having a twin brother. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon's most beloved work, the character of Xander Harris was played for all seven seasons by Nicholas Brendon. In the season five episode "The Replacement," Xander was magically split into two sides of himself. The second, more "suave" and "in-control" side of Xander was played by Brendon's twin brother Kelly Donovan. Subsequently, Kelly appeared in two more episodes as Nicholas's stunt double in action scenes that didn't require speaking roles when Nicholas fell ill.
Notes & References
Information provided by Enver Gjokaj's pages at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enver_Gjokaj) as well as at TV Guide (http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/enver-gjokaj/credits/293172).
All Joss Whedon quotes were found in the interviews from the season one DVD set.