Patrick Fischler grew up around stars when he worked in his father's Malibu, Calif., restaurant, Patrick's, which bears his name. Today, he's the envy of many an actor, thanks to his roles on three of television's most acclaimed shows: Lost, Mad Men and Southland. Fischler spoke to us before Phil, his Lost character, came to a grisly end, and was impressively tight-lipped about whether Phil or Jimmy Barrett, his insult-comic Mad Men character, might return next season. Looking ahead to Southland's finale (Thursday, 10 pm, NBC), the brand-new father of a baby girl also talked to us about his role on the acclaimed cop show, the other dream shows on his list, and the trouble with Lost.
TVGuide.com: You must have had some great celebrity sightings at Patrick's when you were a kid.
Patrick Fischler: Oh, dude. All the time. That was crazy. I mean, I worked there as a kid. I mean, Goldie Hawn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger — my dad was friends with Arnold before he was Arnold. He went to his wedding and everything, this small little wedding and my dad snuck this little camera in and got pictures of Jackie O. and Andy Warhol. Yeah, just famous people galore.
TVGuide.com: Did that make you want to act?
Fischler: You know, maybe. ... I've always loved television and I really have always loved movies. And I love theater. I love, love theater. I love all the mediums, so something obviously drew me to being an actor. I'm sure that was part of it.
TVGuide.com: You've appeared on so many shows, from Star Trek: Enterprise to Girlfriends to all three CSIs. What's left on the list of shows you want to do?
Fischler: Dexter. Breaking Bad... Californication. Those three.
TVGuide.com: How close together were your roles on Mad Men, Southland, and Lost?
Fischler: Mad Men was first, and then right at the end of Mad Men, I did the pilot for Southland, and then... I got Lost. And then in the new year when Southland got picked up... I was flying back and forth trying to do both of them. I have to say the producers of Lost were incredibly accommodating, mainly with my wife's pregnancy.
I've heard that Lost often has to introduce new characters because they'll want to do a storyline with a given character, but won't have the actor under contract, so they have to give the storyline to another, new character.
Fischler: That happens all the time. The problem with Lost is there's [about] 10 series regulars and then there's about 30 recurring people on that show. They just, they chance it. When I got cast on Lost, it was only supposed to be two episodes. ... Then I just ended up staying there on and off for basically six months.
TVGuide.com: Your characters keep getting punched by our heroes — first Don Draper and then Sawyer.
Fischler: Man, tell me about it! ... When I got Mad Men, when I got punched, I knew Don Draper had to have the last word. Because when I told him off, everyone was so jaw-on-the-ground shocked. No one ever tells Don off. Getting that script was the highlight of my career so far.
And then when it happened with Lost, I laughed so hard with those guys. I didn't even do anything to Sawyer. But I paid him back by hitting Juliet, which is just such a weaselly move.
TVGuide.com: Do you see yourself getting punched on Southland?
Fischler: Yeah. At some point, because I'm playing a detective. I'm not a weaselly guy. Kenny's a little offbeat, but with detectives you never know. But man, I've got to tell you, I take a good stunt-punch now.
TVGuide.com: How hard is it to switch between all these characters?
Fischler: The key, I've discovered... I think is the costumes. When I'm wearing the gun belt with the badge and the gun, it's really heavy. It's like 10 pounds added onto you. ... And then when I'm in that Dharma jumpsuit, they're hot and big and that feels different to me. And then with my hair parted and that white dinner jacket and the tux... the costumes help to lend themselves for me to become the character again.
I'm the furthest away from Jimmy Barrett right now. Finding him again is going to be hard. But I think putting that suit on I'll just snap to it pretty quick.
TVGuide.com: I hate to needle, but what you just said makes it sound like you'll be playing Jimmy again.
Fischler: Ahhh. ... I don't know what that meant. [Laughs]