Scott Caan, Alex O'Loughlin, Masi Oka

After four seasons as Heroes' Hiro Nakamura, Masi Oka wanted his next major TV character to be completely different.

But he soon found some unexpected similarities between Hiro and medical examiner Max Bergman, his new recurring character debuting tonight on Hawaii Five-0.

"First of all, [the role] was all English-speaking, although it does sound like I'm speaking a foreign language because of all these medical terms," Oka tells TVGuide.com with a laugh.  Like Hiro, Max has some super-special abilities: He's a MENSA member and a piano prodigy.

"Literally on the set, there's a morgue and right next to it is his office with a big piano in it," Oka says. "He uses a piano to think. He'll play the piano, and all of a sudden he has an inspiration to figure out these problems with the dead bodies."

As you might guess, Bergman's brainy abilities also make him a bit socially ignorant, especially when compared to the studly bravado of Detectives McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Williams (Scott Caan). "He's kind of in his own world," Oka says of his character. "In the introduction scene, they're talking, and he doesn't even realize they're there until halfway into the conversation.

"The character is intelligent, but he can be naïve and clueless in other ways," Oka continues. "I love playing these characters that have quirks. He's brilliant at two things, but probably not anything else. It says something that he's spending most of his time with dead bodies and he enjoys that."

Max can't freeze time to save the world, but Oka says viewers shouldn't underestimate his importance "Max is a catalyst for the story at times," he says. "He's the one who holds the clues — the last inspiration to put the team over the edge."

Hawaii Five-0 airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS.