"If you're asking if Taylor Lautner's character could kick my a--, yeah he probably could," Mitchell tells TVGuide.com. "I might have the wiles, but if he got the jump on me, I'd be dead meat. I'm older than he is, so I know some tricks, but like I said, if it were pound for pound, I'm dead."
Monroe may have to rely on his cunning in Friday's episode, "The Three Bad Wolves" (9/8c, NBC), when some old friends threaten the life he's made for himself. As a reformed Blutbad, Monroe resists his violent, wolf-like nature and no longer kills humans. "There's an arson case, and the victim of the fire is an old friend of mine," says Mitchell. "People from my past come in and really disrupt my flow: They mess with my human mojo, and the Blutblad element has to be dealt with all over again."
"Also, one of them may or may not be an old flame."
His character's ongoing struggle with his dual nature — the thinking person vs. the instinctual beast — was what initially drew the actor to Grimm. "The exciting element is that at any moment, my id could make itself known," Mitchell explains. "When you're a creature or someone who's descended from a creature, your relationship to your mythical/psychological self is closer to the surface than it is with normal people. There's a mythical element that the creatures in the series have a direct line to in a sort of Jungian way. I find that really interesting to play with: The normal, not-normal dynamic."
The Wieder Blutbaden, aka the reformed Big Bad Wolves, turn to diet, drugs or exercise to deal with their more animal natures. And in the case of Monroe, he also embraces all aspects of human culture: learning to build and fix clocks for a living, enjoying culinary creations and playing the cello. "When he gets involved in something, he goes all the way whether it's the clocks or the food or the coffee or the wine," says Mitchell. "What's fun about Monroe is the lengths to which he goes in his pursuit of human experience as opposed to the Blutblad experience."
And although his new cop friend Nick (David Giuntoli) relies on Monroe's Blutbad side in the more fantastical investigations, Monroe also benefits from their unusual partnership. "What I get out of working with Nick is trying to be on the good guys' side a little bit as opposed to ravaging the countryside," Mitchell observes. "If I can do something good, I'll try it. It's dangerous I guess for me, because Grimms are my natural enemy. The trust has to be built."
The actor finds that tapping into his inner wolf to play Monroe isn't as difficult as one may think. He believes that myths and fairytales are creatively safe ways of exploring basic human nature in all its facets. "You just pretend on a very deep level that it's real," Mitchell says. "Everybody's got it, and it's an actor's job to access it. Everyone's got an inner Monroe and an inner Blutbad... or an inner mouse, whichever your thing is."
Grimm airs on Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.