William Fichtner, <EM>Prison Break</EM> William Fichtner, Prison Break

As all but two of the Fox River 8 remain at large on Fox's Prison Break (returning tonight at 8 pm/ET with fresh episodes), the stakes gets higher and the law gets closer. As part of TV Guide's Fall Hot List coverage, we asked William Fichtner what makes his FBI agent tick like the pill-popping time bomb he is.

TV Guide: You're playing FBI agent Alexander Mahone, who is deceptively smart and oh so twisted.
William Fichtner: The more twisted the better! Who wants to play a straight-away FBI guy? When I read the first two episodes, I thought, "What the heck is going on with this guy?"

TV Guide: What's up with those pills?
Fichtner: I think his plate is so full he needs a little help. He takes his pills, takes a deep breath and figures out a major piece of the puzzle.

TV Guide: Will he track down the escaped prisoners?
Fichtner: He is going to find these guys. But some of the things that Mahone has in the back of his closet and in the back of his mind, the voices he is hearing about his own life get in the way.

TV Guide: Will we find out more about his personal life?
Fichtner: In Episode 8, when we come back from hiatus, somebody starts to look at Mahone and wonder a bit about him. The pieces start to come together, with a little bit of a backstory.

TV Guide: Wait, he doesn't have a criminal past, does he?
Fichtner: [Laughing into telephone] You are breaking up. I can't hear you. I have to hang up.

TV Guide: How did you get the role?
Fichtner: It was really a last-minute thing. I worked on Invasion last year and I was not ready to step into another network situation again. I am really glad I said yes.

TV Guide: People had such high hopes for Invasion. Were you heartbroken when it was canceled?
Fichtner: Not at all. My nature is that things are what they are. I am never one to really get depressed when something is over. There is always a new door.

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