The magnificent British actor first made his name with American audiences as the titular stuttering Roman emperor in the gleefully hedonistic '70s miniseries I, Claudius. Since then, he's appeared in myriad period pieces, including as the archbishop in another tale of a stammerer, The King's Speech, a Roman senator in another Oscar winner, Gladiator, and the crimesolving monk in PBS' Mystery! series Cadfael.In the premiere of Showtime's sumptuous Renaissance epic, Jacobi again played a man of the cloth — Cardinal Orsini, an ambitious cleric who's double-crossed by Jeremy Irons' ruthless Pope Rodrigo — and poisoned by the pontiff's equally ambitious son, Cesare (Francois Arnaud). It's too bad Jacobi couldn't stick around for more episodes, but at least he got a hell of a death scene.
Were you happy to see Derek Jacobi return to Rome?