Michael C. Hall and Shawn Hatosy, <i>Dexter</i> Michael C. Hall and Shawn Hatosy, Dexter

Southland star Shawn Hatosy says he was thrilled to play a villain on Season 5 of Dexter after "playing three or four cops in a row."

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"I was dying to do it," Hatosy tells TVGuide.com "I enjoy doing all that [cop work], but to kind of stretch the muscles a little bit and step outside that world was exciting."It's so surreal," he continues. "When you think about what it is that [the Dexter

crew does] daily, with the blood and strapping people to tables, it's just a unique type of employment."Hatosy, who first appears in Sunday's episode (9/8c on Showtime), plays Boyd Fowler, a sanitation worker responsible for dead animal control. "It's exciting to him," Hatosy says of his character's job. "It's those kind of unusual things that the writers give you that you just kind of go with and accept. There's no reservation; you just kind of jump in. There's a youthful innocence to his joy in his work, and I think it's just fascinating."

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Boyd's home life is almost as unsettling. His cabinets are stocked with only cans of tuna and soup, and he spends most of his time listening to self-empowerment recordings and reciting key lines."He's a very lonely guy," Hatosy says. "He kind of stumbles upon Dexter [Michael C. Hall], and they develop a very unusual friendship."That friendship is grounded in Dexter's suspicion that Boyd might have a thing for more than just dead animals. But Hatosy promises there's more to his role than just gloom."The writers on that show — they're so clever," Hatosy says. "They gave me a character that is one of the more complex characters that I've ever read, but human at the same time. The scripts are so thought out. It raises the stakes."It's the kind of storytelling that is engaging and colorful," he continues. "Inside the madness of the world they haves created, there's something about it that rings true and honest. Even with the darkness, there's the underlying humor that comes out."