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Relive Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Sprawling Career, From Saved by the Bell to Found

The talented one-time teen heartthrob has come a long way since Zack Morris graduated from Bayside.

By Jessica White

From his legendary status as trickster Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell to his timeless talent  in NBC's new thriller Found, Mark-Paul Gosselaar never fails to amaze. 

How to Watch

Watch Found on NBC and Peacock.

Gosselaar is a performer of many faces — from trickster high schooler to gritty detective, to imprisoned kidnapper — and his career spans four decades with consistent work in prominent television series and must-watch films. As a child star who later became a bona fide powerhouse, no one can deny Gosselaar always turns in a captivating performance and is a fan favorite in everything he does. 

Gosselaar got his big break in the late '80s, leading him to boast a seriously astounding resume. Look back at all of the incredible credits her has gathered over the years. 

Found's Mark Paul Gosselaar

Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Early Career: Highway to Heaven, The Twilight Zone

Gosselaar got a series of breaks in 1986 with guest roles in popular '80s television programs. His first credit being a 1986 episode of Highway to Heaven. That same year, Gosselaar scored guest roles in the crime series Stingray and the beloved science fiction series The Twilight Zone. He then built up speed with his guest roles in The Wonder Years, Charles in Charge, and Punky Brewster. 

He was soon cast as a lead in the sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss. The series only ran for one season in 1987 — but it featured the character of Zack Morris as a student in Miss Bliss' classroom.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar skyrocketed to fame with Saved by the Bell 

Saved By The Bell Original

In 1989, NBC created a new show based on Miss Bliss, but focusing less on the teacher and more on the students. The lovable Zack Morris from the earlier series was set at the center of several high school hijinks chronicled in Saved by the Bell

Running from 1989 to 1993, Saved by the Bell was beloved, with Gosselaar shining alongside fellow cast members Dustin Diamond (Screech), Lark Voorhies (Lisa), Dennis Haskins (Principal Belding), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Kelly), Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie), and Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater). 

Zack Morris, Screech Powers, and A.C. Slater appear side by side in front of a blue locker during Saved By The Bell.

The series was such a hit that it has inspired several spin-off series and television movies, all featuring Gosselaar at the center of the action: Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style (1992); the spin-off series Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993-1994); and the 1994 film Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, which served as the series' conclusion as fans saw the wedding between Kelly and Zack.

How To Watch Saved By The Bell

In 1994, along with Lopez and Voorhies, Gosselaar guested starrred as Zack Morris in in Season 2, Episode 26 ("Goodbye, Bayside – Part 2") of the spin-off series Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

However, Gosselaar wasn't quite ready to bid farewell to Bayside. In 2020, Gosselaar returned to Bayside in Peacock's Saved by the Bell reboot, featuring former Bayside students — including Zack Morris, now the governor of California. 

Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Saved by the Bell podcast Zack to the Future

Despite becoming a '90s icon through his role on Saved by the Bell, Gosselaar didn't watch a single episode until after the series wrapped filming over two decades ago. This conundrum gave birth to Gosselaar and Dashiell Driscoll's Saved by the Bell podcast, Zack to the FutureEach episode is a deep dive into a different episode of Saved by the Bell, making way for many behind-the-scenes stories, celebrity special guests, and epic recaps for seasoned SBTB fans and new viewers alike.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Later Television Roles From NYPD Blue to Mixed-ish

After earning earned widespread recognition with Zach Morris's Saved by the Bell antics, Gosselaar charted a new course for a sprawling television career. As an adult, he's taken on several dramatic or suspenseful characters throughout the decades, including significant roles in Hyperion Bay (1998-1999), Raising the Bar (2008–2009), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2014-2015), and The Passage (2019).


Detectives Connie McDowell, Andy Sipowicz, and John Clark arresting a character during a scene from NYPD Blue.

From 2001 to 2005, Gosselaar played Detective John Clark in the police procedural NYPD Blue. Gosselaar joined the cast of the nail-biting series in Season 9 and shined as the tenacious Det. Clark until the series finale in Season 12. Throughout his NYPD Blue tenure, he established himself as a gritty male lead capable of tackling dramatic roles.

Franklin & Bash

Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar sitting together at the screening of Franklin & Bash.

Gosselaar picked up a number of roles in legal dramas throughout his career —his role as Peter Bash in Franklin & Bash, included. Starring Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, the dramedy series Franklin & Bash ran from 2011 to 2014 and followed two unorthodox lawyers and friends navigating complicated cases. Gosselaar also served as the director for Season 4, Episode 7 ("Honor Thy Mother"). 


Mike Lawson talking to other members of the San Diego Padres in a scene from Pitch.

Following Franklin & Bash's success, Gosselaar starred in the 2016 historical drama Pitch. Created by Rick Singer and This Is Us mastermind Dan Fogelman, the series followed the first female baseball player to make it to the Major Leagues after being recruited by the San Diego Padres.

Gosselaar played Mark Lawson, the captain of the Padres and a seasoned catcher nearing the end of his sports career. 


Harrison Johnson, Denise, Bow Johnson, Santamonica Johnson, Paul Johnson, Johan Johnson, and Alicia Johnson in a promotional photo for Mixed-Ish.

Gosselaar took on the role of patriarch Paul Johnson in the comedy series Mixed-ish, a show following a mixed-race family in the '80s that served as a prequel to Black-ish. In a 2015 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Gosselaar told The Tonight Show audience that many are delightfully surprised to learn that he is of Asian descent.

RELATED: 10 Viral Tonight Show Moments People Still Talk About Today

"I am a product of a mixed family," Gosselaar later told Hollywood Outbreak. "My father is Dutch, and my mother's Indonesian, and because I looked the way I did, I really never had to go through some of the experiences that some of the characters on our show are going through. And that's fortunate and unfortunate, but nowadays, you know, people are much more accepting, and there's been a lot more discussion about it. I think there's still a long way to go, but we are trending in a direction that I think is positive."


The cast of Found

Gosselaar is taking on his most sinister role yet in NBC's new crime drama, FoundThe series follows kidnapping survivor and crisis communications expert Gabi Mosely (Shanola Hampton), who leads a team of investigators dedicated to finding missing persons who have slipped through the cracks.

RELATED: Meet the Cast of New NBC Drama Found

However, Gabi has a dark secret: she is holding the man who kidnapped her hostage as a teenager in her basement. Gosselaar plays Gabi's former captor, "Sir," who has become Gabi's reluctant consultant. Leveraging his affinity for kidnapping as a morbidly valuable resource, Gabi recruits Sir in tough missing person cases.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Guest Roles, From Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to Barry

Close up image of Mark Paul Gosselaar

Gosselaar's reputation as a powerhouse performer is only further proven by his extensive portfolio of guest appearances.

In 2001, Gosselaar guest starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in Season 3, Episode 7 ("Sacrifice").

RELATED: Before His New Crime Show, Mark-Paul Gosselaar Had an Unforgettable Guest Role on Law & Order

He then guest starred in the war drama Over There in 2005, That same year, Gosselaar landed a recurring role in Commander in Chief as Richard 'Dickie' McDonald.

Paul Winthrop appears in all white attire with his hands tied during a scene from CSI.

He took a creepy turn in 2014, playing twins Jared Briscoe and Paul Winthrop in Season 15 of CSI. One, detectives initially believed, was a serial killer and the other was supposedly innocent. (But, of course, there was a twist.)

In 2015, Gosselaar guest starred in Truth Be Told. He then cemented himself as a police procedural pro in the 2023 crime thriller Will Trent, where he played Paul Campano.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar Guest Starring as Himself

A performer must achieve a truly mythic status to have the honor of guest starring as themselves on a program, and predictably, Gosselaar has done so many times. Audiences far and wide fell in love with Gosselaar's Zack Morris, and he's since guest star as himself in several exciting television series, typically with the characters in awe upon brushing shoulders with the Saved by the Bell legend.  

Some of the television series Gosselaar has graced as himself include Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (2012) and Flipping Out (2014). He then landed a recurring role as himself in Nobodies, a 2018 comedy series that followed three performers waiting for their big break.

In 2022, Gosselaar guest starred as himself in Barry, which starred Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader

Mark Paul Gosselaar Filmography

Miles and Kate appear together outside during a scene from 12 Dates of Christmas.

Gosselaar made his film debut in the 1993 adventure flick White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild II. Thereafter, 1996 was a big year for spotting Gosselaar on the big screen: He starred in Specimen, Sticks & Stones, and Kounterfeit. 

He then scored his first lead role in the 1998 thriller Dead Man on Campus. Gosselaar has since appeared in several suspense films, including the action films Heist (2015) and Precious Cargo (2016).

Mark-Paul Gosselaar T.V. Movies, From Freshman Fall to Atomic Twister

As a talent who rose to fame in a beloved television series, it only makes sense that Gosselaar has appeared in over a dozen television movies. Gosselaar's first television movie, 1988's Necessary Parties, debuted just as he was gaining fame as Zack MorrisIn 1994, Gosselaar starred as Tommy Walsh in the drama For the Love of Nancy.

A role that marked Gosselaar's turn to darker parts was his part as Scott Baker in the 1996 film She Cried No (also commonly titled Freshman Fall). 

The following year, he appeared in the television movie Born Into Exile as the love interest, Chris. At the turn of the century, Gosselaar starred in the 2001 romantic drama The Princess and the Marine. Gosselaar has taken on law enforcement roles many times and did so again as Deputy Jake Hannah in the 2002 film Atomic Twister.

He also played the love interest, Miles, in the 2011 Christmas television movie 12 Dates of Christmas.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Awards and Recognitions

Besides stealing the hearts of everyone who has ever seen an episode of Saved by the Bell, Gosselaar is also the proud recipient of several awards. His role as Zack Morris and time on Saved by the Bell earned him five consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, beginning with his 1989 nomination for Best Young Actor in a Cable Family Series in Good Morning, Miss Bliss. 

In 1991, Gosselaar took home the gold for Best Young Actor Starring in an Off-Primetime Series for Saved by the Bell, cementing his legacy as America's favorite high schooler forever.