Kathy Bates on Two and a Half Men Kathy Bates on Two and a Half Men

Look who's causing Alan Harper some misery: It's Kathy Bates as the ghost of Charlie on Two and a Half Men! Here's the first official photo of Bates in character — and yes, she's even smoking a cigar and wearing one of Charlie Harper's signature bowling shirts.

In the episode, set to air April 30 at 9/8c, on CBS, Alan (Jon Cryer) suffers a minor heart attack. That's when Bates, as Charlie's ghost, visits Alan's bedside. "We knew we wanted Charlie's spirit to visit with Alan while he was sedated in the hospital," says executive producer Chuck Lorre. "The question was how. When Kathy's name was first floated as 'his incarnation' we all just started laughing and decided to reach out to her. We were also determined to stay true to the character of Charlie Harper, and that was a promise I made to Kathy when we first talked. Thankfully, Kathy immediately saw the twisted humor of it all and signed on."

Kathy Bates to Play Gender-Bending Role on Two and a Half Men

Lorre says Bates, being the Academy Award-winning pro that she is, even studied old episodes of Two and a Half Men to imitate Charlie Sheen's mannerisms and cadence. (In case you forgot, Charlie Harper was killed off-camera in France before this year's season opener.) "I think everyone on the show would say the end result was one of the best episodes of the series," he says. "It's pretty damn funny watching this world-class actress beautifully recreate not just Charlie's character, but also the sibling relationship he had with Jon Cryer's character, Alan Harper."

Bates received a standing ovation from the audience after she shot her first scene; the show's producers are already eager to have her back. "I'm hoping we can have her back in a recurring role — Alan's demonic spirit guide," Lorre says. "She really rocked this thing."

Bates has been expanding her TV chops quite a bit lately, having appeared in several episodes of The Office. And, of course, she stars as Harriet Korn in David E. Kelley's drama Harry's Law (Sundays at 8/7c, NBC). Meanwhile, Two and a Half Men airs a new episode tonight, April 16, at 9/8c, CBS.

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