Alex O’Loughlin staked a claim to fame as the heroic vampire Mick St. John in the supernatural drama “Moonlight,” a casualty of last year’s writers strike. Now he returns to prime time guesting on CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (tonight at 9 on WBZ, Ch. 4) as a spooky serial killer who hopes police can halt his rampage. In “The Big Wheel,” an episode written for the actor, O’Loughlin plays Vincent, a man suffering from severe OCD. Something is triggering murderous urges within him, and he leaves clues for authorities to stop him. It’s an unusual hour with a mystery that ends with unexpected poignancy.
“I’m playing a villain, kind of,” O’Loughlin told the Herald last week in a telephone interview. “He’s a very flawed human being, but there is redemption as far as I’m concerned. As I’m moving into this leading-man phase of my career, you don’t even get to read roles like this very much and you don’t get offered guest-star parts like this. I’m an actor – I didn’t go to leading-man school, I went to acting school,” he said, then laughed.
The Australian has been in demand since “Moonlight” was canned last year, a decision CBS all but officially concedes was a mistake. He is currently filming a pilot for another CBS series, “Three Rivers”, in which he plays a cardiothoracic surgeon. He appears on the big screen in September in the sci-fi thriller “Whiteout,” a film he completed before “Moonlight.” He soon starts filming the romantic comedy “The Back-Up Plan” opposite Jennifer Lopez.
But he’s beloved to fans for his role as the undead detective with the heart of a romantic. And O’Loughlin returns the love. A year away from the series, he said, “I look back at it with a broken heart for the most part. I put every part of me into that show. I was fighting for it from every angle and I was there from the very beginning.”
Given the recent success of the big-screen “Twilight” and HBO’s “True Blood,” is there any chance “Moonlight” could rise for a big-screen reunion? “(Executive producer) Joel Silver called me right before Christmas. ‘Alex, we’re making the movie. You in?’ ‘Well, sure.’ He hung up, and I haven’t heard from him since. I don’t know what the answer to that is. I don’t know.”
As he considered all the new projects on his plate, he said, “It feels to me that ‘Moonlight’s’ disappearing out of my grasp. It’s sad, but I’m so glad to have been a part of it.” Reminded that Sci Fi now airs “Moonlight” reruns in the same Friday time slot in which it originally aired, he said, “I still haven’t been paid for it – I think I’m still owed a residual for that.”
He laughed again.