American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

Dylan McDermott (aka Mark Anthony McDermott; born October 26, 1961) is an American actor.


Mark Anthony McDermott, better known by his professional name, Dylan McDermott, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Diane and Richard McDermott.

As a teenager, McDermott began taking trips to visit his father, who owned the West Fourth Street Saloon in New York City. The two would see movies together, McDermott would work in his father's bar serving drinks and breaking up fights. As a teenager, McDermott was uncomfortable with himself, and began imitating his acting heroes (Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart) to adopt their demeanors. McDermott attended and graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. While in his teens, McDermott met Jessica Lange who worked as a waitress in a nearby bar.

He is best known for his roles as "Bobby Donnell" on The Practice and "Lieutenant Carter Shaw" on Dark Blue.

McDermott is noted for his rugged good looks and fashionable style, which he has been featured for in magazines, such as Men's Health. In 1999, he was one of a six-way tie for sixth place in GQ's "Man of the Year" issue.

Work on American Horror Story[]

He portrayed the main character Ben Harmon, a psychiatrist with a problematic family in the first season of American Horror Story. He portrayed Johnny Morgan, a serial killer closely linked to Briarcliff Manor in the second season, Asylum. He reprised his first role as Ben Harmon for the cross-over episode between Murder House and the eight instalment, Apocalypse. In the ninth season, 1984, he portrays Bruce, a serial killer.

Dylan on his role as Ben[]

  • Dylan has said about the role of Ben Harmon: "I campaigned for this role. I knew this was THE role for me." [1]
  • McDermott commented on whether the end goal for the Harmon family was to get rid of the ghosts or learn to live with them. "Maybe a little bit of both. When I met with Ryan, Brad, and Connie, originally we had talked about that this really is a show about a fractured family and what infidelity can do to people. It's a metaphor for all the horror of being in a relationship and being in a family and being in a marriage. Connie and I try to keep it as real as possible because we're probably the most grounding part of the show, but I think that's really important so it doesn't become just a freak fest…We try to keep it grounded in reality so people can be rooted in something, rooted in the family…I think you just have to go with it. There's no parachute in this show. There's no net. We just are all in this together, and that's what makes it so much fun is that everybody's making the same show here. And we're all going for it. And so I think that's why it's working."[2]

Dylan on playing serial killers[]

  • Dylan said that he's not concerned that Ryan Murphy thinks he's perfect for playing "psycho murderers".[3]
  • "To clarify, I think that Bruce probably is a psychopath and Johnny is a sociopath. So Johnny was made, Bruce was born into it. So I think they both have done horrible things, but I think that they're different in terms of their psychology, if you will. Johnny, he is born from the abuse of his childhood, where Bruce is just on a tear and I'm not even sure why he's doing what he's doing."[3]
  • "I think always with these people is they come from — I think Bruce especially is someone that's a child of abuse, child neglect, child abandonment. You know, got into a lot of trouble as a kid. No empathy. I think that he just learned from a very young age to seduce and to trick. And I think that he was always in trouble. I think that he just has absolutely no empathy at all... And I think that he has an inability to feel, besides anything but rage."[3]



Episode appearances for Dylan McDermott
Story or Series Character Episodes
Murder House Dr. Ben Harmon
Asylum Johnny Morgan
Apocalypse Dr. Ben Harmon Return to Murder House
1984 Bruce
American Horror Stories Dr. Ben Harmon Game Over



  1. Dylan McDermott on Regis and Kelly show, 11 Oct 2011, see Video
  2. Guard, Sean (6 November 2011). "Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton talk'American Horror Story'". Napier's News.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gennis, Sadie (Nov 6, 2019). American Horror Story: 1984's Dylan McDermott Teases 'There Are No Good Endings With Bruce'. TV Guide.