Dean Cain, <EM>Smallville</EM> Dean Cain, Smallville

Man of Steel, meet… Man of Steel? Sort of. Former Lois & Clark cape-waver Dean Cain flies back into the comic-book scene on Oct. 18 for a visit to Smallville (Thursdays, 8 pm/ET, CW). But this time around, he's leaving the heroics to Tom Welling, television's current Clark Kent.

"I'm pretty evil," the 41-year-old Cain says, laughing, of his role as Dr. Curtis Knox, a neurosurgeon who, despite working for Lex Luthor, has "sort of good intentions. He's cured many meteor-infected patients." What that means for Allison Mack's Chloe — who possesses the kryptonite-fueled ability to heal people — is one of the episode's big secrets, but Cain hints that Knox "has romance on the mind, [just] not the way you may think." Executive producer Al Gough cryptically elaborates that "Knox falls for parts of Chloe."

By the episode's end, the door will be open for more visits from Cain. Knox "is going to have an ax to grind with Clark," Gough says. "He is definitely someone who could come back and cause problems in the future."

Not that landing Cain for this gig was a breeze. "Frankly, we've been looking for a role for Dean since Season 4," Gough says. "Because of Dean's connection to Superman, we wanted to make sure we had something worthy of him being on the show." Apparently, Knox fit the bill. "They told me about the character," Cain says. "I liked the script, it sounded fun, and you know, I like to perpetuate the whole Superman mythos," he says.

Of course, things aren't so Lois & Clark campy in this neck of the superwoods. "The tone of this show is entirely different," Cain admits. "It takes a second to get into their world.… It's a very different world, one that I hadn't been a part of." Would he be more comfortable, perhaps, chilling out with L&C costar Teri Hatcher over on Desperate Housewives? "I don't really watch that show," he confesses. "But if there was something fun to do, I would never say never to anything."

That's good, because arranging a reunion between Cain and Hatcher on Smallville would surely take more than the CW budget could handle. Says Gough: "We always joke that we should have done that in the first three seasons, when she was available!"

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