You've seen him rock his mop on Blossom and rule the parquet on Dancing with the Stars, but you've never seen Joey Lawrence the way he is as a guest star on the April 25 episode of CSI: NY (Wednesdays at 10 pm, on CBS). As Clay Dobson, a chrome-domed killer once nabbed by Gary Sinise's Detective Mac Taylor and now set free, he delivers a chilling turn that will not only make you say, "Whoa," but also set Mac up for a dramatic fall. TVGuide.com asked Lawrence about the bold gig, his bald pate and the whereabouts of his boogie shoes.
TVGuide.com: So, you do the "dancing monkey" act and you get your career jump-started, eh?
Joey Lawrence: Yeah! You never know why or where or when or how things happen, you just have to roll with it. I took some time off and [Dancing with the Stars] came up, and it worked out good!
TVGuide.com: Is this the first serial killer you've ever played? The first killer of any kind?
Lawrence: Yep. It's my first dark sort of role like that. They called me and said, "We have this story we'd love to have you play, if you're into it," and they sent me the script and it was great. I thought it was something that could be really cool. Playing opposite Gary Sinise, who I'm a huge fan of, was a great opportunity, and to play someone as dark as this was a lot of fun.
TVGuide.com: Working opposite Gary, did you feel an added pressure to bring your "A-game"?
Lawrence: I always try to bring the A-game, man, whether it's an indie or anything. But for sure, I wanted to do the best I possibly could, playing opposite such a great actor.
TVGuide.com: What are you at liberty to reveal about your character? I know there's a certain amount of secrecy surrounding the story line.
Lawrence: Um... Clay Dobson was caught by Mac five years ago and convicted of murdering five women. The cop who was going to testify to make sure I stayed in jail forever turned out to be a dirty cop, so Mac had to deal with the issue of, "Do I put this dirty cop away, or do I let him slide and keep Clay in jail?" Of course he puts the cop away, losing their key witness, and then as soon as I get out of jail, these two bodies pop up, and they look similar [in their style of death/presentation], but with a twist. Mac tries to convince his superiors it's me, and I'm suing the department, so they're like, "Leave it alone."
TVGuide.com: Sounds like Mac takes justice into his own hands....
Lawrence: I was talking to Gary about it, and he said it was really cool because he and I had the biggest fight sequence he's had on the show, and it's neat to see him "out of character" like that. He said, "I'm usually in the lab looking at the bodies, so for me to be able to throw away a weapon and just say, 'Come on, boy,' like John Wayne, is pretty cool."
TVGuide.com: When was the last time you had a fight scene?
Lawrence: Oh, never like this, man. They had like 15 cameras up there, and we had to shoot all the fight sequences in one day. It was really incredible. It took us like three hours to set up one shot that lasted, like, 10 seconds. [Laughs] But it was a good time, and it's going to set up a good cliff-hanger for the end of the season. It's good for Gary, too, because Mac ends up in some hot water.
TVGuide.com: Is Clay cocky, does he feel he has the upper hand?
Lawrence: He's a very calm and collected and smooth operator. He doesn't lose his cool. That's how all the great serial killers are. Their other side is a very normal guy.
TVGuide.com: Well, yeah. If they ran around drooling and with crazy eyes, they'd be much easier to catch.
Lawrence: You're exactly right. But Clay Dobson has this switch that goes off and takes him to the darkest places.
TVGuide.com: Do you regret not cutting your lush locks sooner?
Lawrence: You know, I wanted to cut my hair for so many years, and for one reason or another I didn't....
TVGuide.com: You probably had people advising you, "Joey, it's part of who you are, it's what the people know."
Lawrence: Of course, and finally I just said, "F it," and shaved it off. And as soon as I did that I got these two cool little indie movies, and I've got this Warner Bros. movie that hasn't come out where I play this Easy Rider kind of throwback cop. And then this Dancing with the Stars thing came up, and they wanted me to keep it shaved. Even the CSI: NY people said, "Would you mind shaving it back down?" It's gone from, "Don't do that" to "Would you mind keeping it that way?"
TVGuide.com: Drew Lachey resurfaced on DWTS last week for a quick encore with Cheryl Burke. Would you — could you — do the same?
Lawrence: I'm actually doing something [on April 13], a huge Race to Erase MS fund-raiser where Ray Romano is the MC and Whitney Houston is going to sing.... There's a big fashion show that Tommy Hilfiger does and [DWTS partner] Edyta [Sliwinska] and I are going to dance to the opening of that. After all that training, I can hold my own in terms of picking up steps. I don't know if I'll go back on the show, but if I need to use it on other things, like Broadway, it could come in handy!
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