Since Heroes' beginning, Noah Bennett — the man in the horn-rimmed glasses — has been somewhat of an enigma. But Monday (9 pm/ET, NBC), fans will get a peek inside HRG's perplexing head, and perhaps some answers to their burning questions. We caught up with Jack Coleman to get some insight into the episode, his response to the show's critics and just what he thinks about those glasses. Plus: Look out, Washington, D.C.!
TVGuide.com: The promos for Monday's HRG-centric episode are promising a lot. What can we expect?
Jack Coleman: Well, [Mohinder] Suresh, Peter Petrelli and Matt Parkman have gotten together and decided that HRG is the key to what they need to find out. Parkman is driving the whole thing because he wants to find out what happened to Daphne. So he does a mental interrogation — he processes my memories, and we flash back to see how all these events came to be. It's a really good use of Parkman's abilities. He's not going in and telling me what to think, he's going in and prying loose this information.
TVGuide.com: Will we learn how he came to be teamed with Nathan?
Coleman: Yes, you will definitely see how that came to be, and you will see what the relationship is between Noah and The Hunter. But then you'll also get to see a couple of very cool scenes with Noah and Angela Petrelli.
TVGuide.com: Interesting. What can you tell us about their connection?
Coleman: We explore that relationship and what they may be hatching together. They may be up to something.
TVGuide.com: At the end of the day, do you think HRG is a hero or a villain?
Coleman: In his heart of hearts, he's not evil. He's trying to do the right thing. He's trying to keep things from getting out of hand because clearly this government program is tending toward totalitarianism. I think HRG has always fancied himself as someone who can discern between those who are truly dangerous and those who are just different, and he just tries to be that guy in the middle. He's good at that, but there almost always comes a time when he has to choose a side. And, again, at the end of this volume, I think you'll see he's more on the side of the angels than the devils.
TVGuide.com: We've seen him protect Claire and Peter. Is he protecting anyone else?
Coleman: You'll see quite a bit of the guy who's all for doing what it takes to bring in someone he thinks is dangerous, but will also go to great lengths to protect those who are innocent. He's been doing this a long time, and while he was a company man following orders, he got to the point where he realized he was a better judge of character than the people that he worked for. So I think he takes it upon himself to incarcerate or incapacitate those who are dangerous and give a pass to those who aren't. He likes to be judge and jury, and I think you'll definitely see him more and more in a protective role. He's also Ahab trying to get his Moby Dick — he's trying to get Sylar.
TVGuide.com: Does he have a power? He has survived an awfully long time amongst these people for someone who doesn't.
Coleman: I think it turns out that he's a super short-order cook. [Laughs] No, I don't think he has any powers, and I personally would come down on the side of maintaining that. I think it's kind of fun to have a mere mortal in the mix that has to get by with more traditional methods than flying away or blasting someone with a lightning bolt. I think the real treat of this part for me is that in this super-powered world, I get to remain mortal.
TVGuide.com: But you have died and been brought back to life. What do you say to the criticism that death has no stakes on Heroes?
Coleman: It's a fantasy show, so stuff is going to happen that certainly would never happen in real life. But I do think we owe it to the audience to be at least consistent with how people die or if they die. But I also think it's one of the cool things about the show — that people can come back and there are ways around it. You can find it annoying that no one ever dies or you can accept that this is not the universe that we are bound to, and we can have a little fun. I think people have to relax about whether or not the laws of physics have been defied. Hopefully, you can just enjoy the ride.
TVGuide.com: How much do you rely on those glasses in forming your character?
Coleman: In the first year, just putting those glasses on would take me three-quarters of the way to the character. And I'm so used to them now, I will walk off the set getting ready to head home and props will walk up to me and say, "Um, glasses?" But I think from the very beginning, it just helped define a look, especially. If they were sporty or designer, I think he'd be a very different character.
TVGuide.com: What can we expect from the rest of "Fugitives"?
Coleman: There will be fewer stories per episode and more concentration on the relationships between people — it will be more character driven than plot driven. Ultimately, we're trying to get back to the emotional core of the show — relationships between human beings. I really think these new episodes are quite good. People get wrapped up in thinking this show is not what it used to be, but if you forget all that and take these episodes on face value, they are really good. And what's happening right now, we're making stories that are relatable, have emotional value to them and are also entertaining. I'm really excited about where we're headed. People who have liked the show at any point will be rewarded. I think a corner has been turned, and we're heading in the right direction.
TVGuide.com: Is there still a little bit of world-saving to be done?
Coleman: Yeah, that will be coming up in the next couple of episodes. I can't get too much into it without spoiling it, but you will see a picture that Parkman draws, which involves him and is very disconcerting as to how it may end up. And what it might mean to the Capitol.