Alex O'Loughlin says of his Criminal Minds appearance, "Yeah, it's a little different."
Can a serial killer played by Alex O'Loughlin slake his thirst for murder? The star of TV's too-short-lived Moonlight talked to TVGuide.com about his compelling guest spot on CBS' Criminal Minds (Wednesday, 9 pm/ET). Plus: Why Alex O's fans should give his new medical drama a chance.
TVGuide.com: Where have ya been, man? We had a long stretch there, after Moonlight went bye-bye, where the fans were missing you terribly.
Alex O'Loughlin: Yeah, I didn't work for like 10 months. I went back to Australia for a minute, and then I went and sat in a forest for a couple months and got my thoughts together. I did a bunch of writing.... Essentially, I went into a bit of a tailspin and left the country, to Mexico, out of phone range. I was kind of upset.
TVGuide.com: Well, nearly a year later, not a week goes by that I don't get a Moonlight fan asking not if but when it is coming back.
O'Loughlin: [Laughs] You know, the other day I was in Pittsburgh shooting [the CBS pilot Three Rivers], when this girl comes running up to me. Before I could finish ascertaining what I thought was going to happen, she pounced through the air, like a tiger, and landed on my chest with her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist. After I got her off and thanked her for the hug, she demanded to know when Moonlight was coming back.
TVGuide.com: And you had to break her heart.
O'Loughlin: I had to taser her.... No, I had to tell her that I didn't think it was [returning].
TVGuide.com: Exactly what measures were taken to possibly save Moonlight?
O'Loughlin: I don't know exactly what happened after they cut it. I know they talked to CW, they talked to TNT ... a bunch of people.
TVGuide.com: Is there anything you can share about what was going to happen next on the show?
O'Loughlin: What I do know is that there was going to be some really cool stuff going on with Eric Winters' character, [the ADA] who was gathering the list of vampires.
TVGuide.com: Turning to the April 29 episode of Criminal Minds: [Series creator] Ed Bernero told me that your serial killer reaches out to the BAU for "help" — and he put "help" in quotation marks.
O'Loughlin: There are a few twists, and I can't tell you what they are. But the thing that I love about this episode is that we find a very disturbed character — a guy whose life is run by obsession and by compulsion, and he can't stop this pattern of killing. But he wants salvation. He finds a child, and the child represents perhaps the last bit of innocence within himself. This is what I drew from the character when I first read the script, and I hope that's what we see when the show plays. The episode was written by a friend of mine, Simon Mirren, who is very, very talented.
TVGuide.com: Paget Brewster told me that you had the women on the set all atwitter.
O'Loughlin: Oh, boo. Come on. I must have missed that! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: You went from taking lives on Criminal Minds to saving lives on the CBS drama pilot Three Rivers. Sell me on the concept.
O'Loughlin: It's set in Pittsburgh, where the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers meet, and it's told from three perspectives — the organ donor, the organ recipient, and the surgical team. That of course means that in every episode, someone dies and someone potentially lives, so it's always very high-stakes. The show is really well-written and smart and sensitive. It's a beautiful little hour of TV.
TVGuide.com: I just know that some of your Moonlight fans are concerned that the premise, on paper, doesn't sound dynamic enough for their Alex O'Loughlin.
O'Loughlin: It's absolutely dynamic enough. I plead with my Moonlight fans to give this show a chance if they let me give it a chance. I can't do Moonlight again — it's finished. The bottom line is that my true fans will follow me where I go.
TVGuide.com: I take it that your Three Rivers character, Dr. Andy Yablonski, is not Australian.
O'Loughlin: [Laughs] No, he's not. They offered me the role, and I was like, "Can I at least audition as an Australian?" "G'day! Do you need a new heart?"
TVGuide.com: And they weren't buying.
O'Loughlin: No, they weren't.
TVGuide.com: Was Three Rivers the first project that CBS sent you as part of your talent deal with them?
O'Loughlin: No, no. They had a bunch of other things.
TVGuide.com: Did they try to add you to any existing series?
O'Loughlin: Mmmm.... There was talk about a couple bits and pieces that we didn't take seriously.
TVGuide.com: When are you doing that Jennifer Lopez movie, The Back-Up Plan?
O'Loughlin: That films in like two weeks. She plays a 40-year-old girl who hasn't found the one and wants to have a baby, so she gets artificially inseminated. Then she meets the guy of her dreams — and that's me!
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