Acclaimed and popular Italian actor Vittorio Mezzogiorno is best remembered for playing the Mafia-beleaguered police commissioner in chapters five and six of the long-running Italian miniseries The Octopus. Prior to appearing in this series, he had appeared in numerous Italian and European films and had established himself as a respectable theatrical star. Mezzogiorno learned his craft on the Neopolitan stage and periodically returned there through the 1980s. He loved the stage so much that, in 1984, he undertook a four-year hiatus from films and television to tour Europe in British director Peter Brooks' production of the East Indian epic Mahabhanrata. He would subsequently appear in the film version (he made his feature film debut in the mid-'70s). Mezzogiorno was able to bring disparate groups together and quickly gained a reputation for his versatility. His most acclaimed films include Tre Fratelli and Il Giaocattolo (both 1980).