Gregory Smith

After playing Treat Williams' introspective son, Ephram Brown, for family drama Everwood's four-season run, Gregory Smith was determined to break out of the tortured-teen box for his next television role. As cocky cop Dov Epstein on ABC's surprise hit Rookie Blue (Thursday, 9/8c, ABC), the 27-year-old actor is doing just that. "The character I played on Everwood was so serious and melancholic that after doing it for four years, it really started affecting my soul. I was becoming Ephram," says Smith, who instantly connected with the enthusiastic, if girl-crazy, Dov. "I was able to finish his sentences after reading two or three scenes. I knew he was a guy I would have fun playing for many years."

And he just may get the chance. ABC quickly ordered a second season of Blue, led by star Missy Peregrym, after only three airings. "We're on cloud nine," Smith says. "Some projects feel like the stars are aligning for them from the very beginning." Other projects—like a series of indie films Smith acted in post-Everwood—not so much. "I did quite a few, but none really worked, so it was like I was treading water," says the Toronto-born actor, who embarked on a globe-traveling journey of self-discovery. "I backpacked all around the world and kind of found myself. Then I settled back in L.A. and found Rookie Blue."

Smith is especially proud of tonight's episode, about a heat wave that immobilizes the city—and the rookies. "We get stuck with various people who need our help. For Dov, it's a woman who is agoraphobic and goes into labor, and he has to teach himself how to deliver the baby," Smith says. "Part of Dov's backstory is that he's always talking about girls. So to see him face-to-face with childbirth is a lot of fun!"

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