Peter Krause Peter Krause

Parenthoodviewers were thrown for a loop this season when Adam, the normally reliable, dependable and predictable eldest Braverman sibling, suddenly decided he wanted out of the family business at The Luncheonette to try something new. And they weren't alone.

"I came at the character differently than where they wound up because I always felt like — and it's what attracted me to the role — that Adam was a guy who wanted to be the best father, the best husband, the best son, the best brother he could be, and that was enough for him," Peter Krause tells "Not that he doesn't still want to help his family members, but he would be generous to a fault if somebody needed something. I think over time it probably wore him a bit. Now he's trying to see if he can find something to do that he loves."

That's the challenge Krause now faces as well. With Parenthood ending on Jan. 29, the actor is officially on the hunt for his next project. "I've been busy for 17 years, so I don't know what I want to do next," he says.

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After getting his start doing sketch comedy on Carol Burnett's Carol & Company in 1990, Krause recurred on shows like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Cybill and before landing the lead on Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night in 1998. The critically acclaimed comedy was axed after two seasons, but less than two months later came HBO's beloved Six Feet Under, for which Krause received three Emmy nominations. "There was always a great job ever since I got Sports Night," he says. "I try and target the writer and the writing and start there."

That was followed by the short-lived Dirty Sexy Money, which fell victim to the 2008 writers strike and conflicting creative visions between, as Krause explains it, himself, Donald Sutherland, creator Craig Wright and ABC. "We were trying to make a satire and they wanted a soap opera," he recalls.

By the time Parenthood surfaced in 2009, it took two advocates to push Krause to consider the role of Adam. One was frequent Sorkin collaborator and Parenthood's pilot director Thomas Schlamme. The other was NBC executive Norah O'Brien, whom Krause had met when he worked on the 2006 Syfy miniseries The Lost Room. "She called me every day for about 10 days," he says. "She was very instrumental in me taking the job."

Krause signed on, but O'Brien died on the set of Parenthood during the pilot's production in April 2009 (she is the namesake of Adam and Kristina's youngest daughter). "Those two felt strongly about the project and about me doing it, and I look back and I thank them both and [Parenthood creator] Jason Katims. It's been a wonderful experience, it really has been," he says. "I experienced more life behind the scenes on this show than I have on any other. There were more deaths on this show, but there were also more kids coming into the world. Various people had babies during the run of the show. It's a very action-packed six years both on and off the screen."

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Krause not only found love on the set — he is dating co-star Lauren Graham — but the show's schedule also helped him stay close to his son, Roman. "Parenthood allowed me to spend time with him on a weekly basis, but also gave me a big chunk of time in the spring to assistant-coach his baseball team and I got to be more involved with him because of the show," he says. "I have a great appetite as an actor for more to do, but I try to balance my professional life with my real parenthood life and this show provided that."

As for the series finale, Krause says it will be a fitting conclusion to the many trials and triumphs the Bravermans have endured onscreen. "I think that the finale is predictable in the sense that life goes on," he says. "But how that's shown and what those stories are, I think some of those things will be a surprise."

What comes next is still unclear. Krause has already met with Sorkin, who is coming off of the final season of The Newsroom, about an idea "for a show which would eat my life," he says, "so I don't know if I want to pursue it." Although he admits he has an agent who would prefer he not do TV for awhile, Krause himself is not quite sure. "I've enjoyed the comfort of TV," he says. "I think having a gig, it's a nice framework for life."

Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.