Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Hinds was raised the youngest of five children by his physician father and his teacher mother, Moya, who was also an amateur actress before the kids were born. Though his father hoped his son would follow in his footsteps, Hinds had intentions of following his mother's course instead. As a boy, he performed in the Patricia Mulholland Irish Dance troupe and in productions at the all-boys high school, St. Malachy's College, where, when he was 12 or 13, he shined as Lady Macbeth. In 1972, he briefly attended Queen's College to study law, but dropped out to take up drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After graduating in 1975, Hinds made his professional debut as the rear end of a horse in a production of "Cinderella" (1976) at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre in Scotland. Despite his inauspicious beginning, Hinds remained with the theatre for the next decade. Meanwhile, he became sort of a journeyman actor, taking roles wherever he could get them, including the Druid Theatre in Galway, the Lyric Players' Theatre in Belfast and the Field Day Theatre Company in Derry, which was formed by playwright Brian Fiel and actor Stephen Rea.Naturally, Hinds segued from the stage to the screen, making his film debut as Lot in "Excalibur" (1981), the cult classic look at King Arthur (Nigel Terry) and his Knights of the Round Table. After a return to the theatre world, which included a partial season with the Greenwich Theatre in London in 1984 and appearing in Peter Brook's six-hour long staging of "The Mahabharata" (1987), Hinds returned to film with a supporting role in "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" (1989), his first film with Dame Helen Mirren. The following year, he had his first prominent feature role, playing one of two brothers (the other being Donal McCann) in love with the same woman (Saskia Reeves) in "December Bride" (1990), a romantic drama set in turn-of-the-twentieth century Ireland. On the small screen, Hinds excelled at period pieces and first generated notice as one of the British kidnap victims held in Lebanon in "Hostages" (HBO, 1993). Hinds was eerily chilling as the suave and slick operator of a child-care center who may or may not be a pederast and killer in "Prime Suspect 3" (PBS, 1994). Returning to period fare, Hinds was a professor in 1950s Ireland in "Circle of Friends" (1995). He was effective as a well-to-do former naval officer who re-encounters his former fiancée in "Persuasion" (1995), based on the Jane Austen novel, which he followed by playing a clergyman whose plutonic relationship with a headstrong Australian heiress (Cate Blanchett) causes difficulties in her relationship with a soon-to-be missionary (Ralph Fiennes) in "Oscar and Lucinda" (1997). Hinds cut a dashing figure as Brian de Bois Guilbert in "Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe" (A&E, 1997) and was suitably imperious as Rochester in "Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre" (A&E, 1997). Returning to the big screen, he appeared in the Scottish indie "The Life of Stuff" (1997), followed by a starring turn in the Italian-made "Il Tempo Dell'amore" (1999), a romantic drama about the three stages of love: the first spark, getting to know one another and the birth of strong and deeper feelings. In the first third, Hinds was an English soldier during the time of the Boer War who saves an Englishwoman (Juliet Aubrey) on her way to visit her brother (Tam Williams), also an English soldier.Hinds rounded out the millennium with two more features, "The Lost Son" (1999), a British-made thriller about a Parisian detective (Daniel Auteuil) who stumbles onto a child pornography ring while looking for a wealthy couple's missing son, and "The Lost Lover" (1999), in which he played a grieving father living in Tel Aviv and trying to cope with the tragic death of his three-year-old son. After playing an axe-wielding murderer whose crime is reinvestigated a century later by a determined photojournalist (Catherine McCormack) in "The Weight of Water" (2000), Hinds appeared as King Aeson in the miniseries "Jason and the Argonauts" (NBC, 2000). He next played the son of a woman (Eileen Atkins) who hosts a séance that brings back the troubled and forgotten spirit of her tragically killed stepmother in "The Sleeper" (BBC, 2001). In "The Sum of All Fears" (2002), he was the new president of Russia whose curious rise to power reignites old Cold War fears in the U.S. government, while a terrorist group pits the former adversaries against each other in a nuclear standoff that has devastating consequences.Hinds received good notices for his role in "Road to Perdition" (2002) in which he played a mobster who buries his brother and challenges a powerful Irish boss (Paul Newman) only to be killed himself. Having been confined to playing refined gentleman or tough guys, Hinds' performance in "Road to Perdition" opened new doors for the previously unknown actor. Hinds next starred in "Thursday the 12th" (Bravo, 2003), an ambitious miniseries that focused on one 24-hour period in which four suspected murderers give their individual takes on the slaying of a member of the prominent Bannister family. In "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (A&E, 2003), Hinds tackled the role of Michael Henchard, a once-poor drunkard who sold his wife and only daughter for a few quid, but later redeems his life after swearing off booze and rising up the social food chain. When his life reaches completion with his pending marriage to a fetching young bride, Henchard's former wife and adult daughter arrive, causing him to fall back into his unseemly ways.After a small role in "The Statement" (2003), a political thriller starring Michael Caine as a former Nazi executioner pursued for war crimes, Hinds was the henchman of a powerful drug lord (Gerard McSorley) who feeds information to an ambitious and ultimately doomed investigative reporter (Cate Blanchett) in "Veronica Guerin" (2003). Hinds continued to be in demand, playing a mad scientist hell-bent on world domination in the action sequel, "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2002). In "Calendar Girls" (2003), he was the loving husband of a free-spirited woman (Julie Walters) who, along with a group of middle-aged gals from the deadly boring Women's Institute, decides to shake things up and pose nude for a calendar to raise money for leukemia. Hinds showed up as one of the theater owners in Joel Schumacher's overwrought adaptation of "Phantom of the Opera" (2004), a film best forgotten. Hinds was memorable as a cold, methodical clean-up man on a Mossad hit squad led by a reluctant intelligence agent (Eric Bana) targeting the masterminds behind the 1972 terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team in Steven Spielberg's taut 1970s-style thriller, "Munich" (2005). In "Rome" (HBO, 2005-07), the cable network's expensive and ambitious series about the internal machinations of the upper strata of the Roman Empire during its shift from republic to imperial power, Hinds portrayed Gaius Julius Caesar - architect of the Eternal City's radical social and political change - with a quiet intensity that often belied the fiery and sometimes flamboyant behavior often associated with the dictator. He then co-starred in Michael Mann's gritty and disaster-plagued "Miami Vice" (2006), playing an FBI agent who recruits two undercover cops, Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jaime Foxx), to find a traitor within the bureau by posing as drug smugglers. After playing King Herod in the disappointing interpretation of "The Nativity Story" (2006), he had co-starring roles in "There Will Be Blood" (2007) and "Margot at the Wedding" (2007), along with an uncredited performance as a priest in "In Bruges" (2008). Following an appearance in a Broadway production of "The Seafarer" (2008), Hinds returned to features with "Race to Witch Mountain" (2009). Back in Ireland, Hinds starred in the little-seen but esteemed ghost story "The Eclipse" (2009), and began his role as a police detective James Langton on the ITV procedural series "Above Suspicion" (2009-2012). Appearing in yet another movie focusing on Mossad agents, "The Debt" (2010), he moved on to an incredibly busy period, with featured parts in no less than 10 major projects during the next two years. Among these productions was the fantasy finale "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (2011), where he played the mysterious Aberforth Dumbledore; "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011), which found him returning to espionage mode; and "The Woman in Black" (2012), a chilling horror film that found him again working with "Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe. After stints on the cable dramas "Political Animals" (USA, 2012) and "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-), Hinds appeared in the thriller "Closed Circuit" (2013), reuniting him with "Munich" co-star Eric Bana.