Born in the small rural town of Cullowhee, NC, Nick Searcy discovered his love for acting while still in elementary school, and became something of a regular in local theater productions, most notably at nearby Western Carolina University. After high school, he briefly attended the North Carolina School of the Arts before earning a degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Searcy then relocated to New York City, where he appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions. In 1990, he returned to North Carolina to explore opportunities in the state's growing film and television industry. There, he made his feature debut as a highway patrolman in the Tom Cruise NASCAR flick, "Days of Thunder" (1990). More bit parts preceded his first substantial role as Mary-Louise Parker's abusive husband who meets a grisly if well-deserved fate in "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991). Searcy soon settled into a string of supporting character roles in films and on television series and features, most notably "A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story" (ABC, 1992) as a husband locked in a custody battle with his wife (Bonnie Bedelia), who has accused him of abusing their child. Tall, solidly built, and with an air of gravitas to his bearing, Searcy was frequently cast as law officials, like his sarcastic sheriff in "The Fugitive" (1993), or businessmen and blue collar workers. From 1994 to 1995, he was a recurring player on the short-lived and much-reworked comedy "Thunder Alley (ABC, 1994-95) before joining the cult thriller "American Gothic" (CBS, 1995-96) as the terrified deputy of supernatural sheriff Gary Cole. In 1998, he played Deke Slayton, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, in the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998). Searcy made his debut as writer, producer and director on "Paradise Falls" (1997), a Depression Era drama lensed in his home state about a pair of farm boys who take up bank robbing to save their family home. Searcy, who also appeared in the film, took home a Hollywood Discovery Award for Best Feature Film (Under $1 Million), but his responsibilities as an actor appeared to prevent him from tackling a sophomore effort. By the late 1990s and new millennium, Searcy was a staple of major features and television series, including Robert Zemeckis' "Cast Away" (2000) as Tom Hanks' friend and fellow traveler, "One Hour Photo" (2002) and "Runaway Jury" (2003) as a spy working for Gene Hackman's amoral lawyer. He also played the short-tempered head of security on a top-secret time travel experiment on "Seven Days" (UPN, 1998-2001). From 2004 to 2006, he was comedian Rodney Carrington's henpecked sidekick on the ABC sitcom "Rodney."Though he continued to appear in features like "The Ugly Truth" (2009) and "The Last Song" (2010), and even earned a rare lead as a deranged backwoods resident in the horror film "Cold Storage" (2009), television became Searcy's primary showcase. He was the head of an eccentric family and its high-interest loan business in the short-lived "Easy Money" (The CW, 2008-09), then made recurring appearances on the comedy "Svetlana" (HDNet, 2010) before joining the cast of "Justified" as Chief Deputy Art Mullen, the no-nonsense boss to taciturn U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant).