David Duchovny, ‘Californication’

Leading men in Emmy contention

Hank Moody is actually a terrific role model.

Granted, David Duchovny’s character on Showtime’s bawdy comedy “Californication” drinks way too much, does copious amounts of drugs and has no off switch when it comes to his libido or his acerbic tongue. Still, Duchovny sees him as basically a good guy.

“He’s very complicated, and it’s not easy to pass judgment on a man like that,” Duchovny says.

A writer who has seen his critically acclaimed novel turned into a pedestrian Hollywood movie, Hank is still reeling from his breakup with Karen, his longtime love. Once a devoted and faithful partner, their separation sent him into a tailspin of drug-fueled debauchery.

“One of the aspects of the character that I really enjoyed was that he was not this kind of playboy before he and Karen split up. That’s not something that drove them apart,” he explains. “That’s something that he’s fallen into in his despair.”

Despite his raucous foibles and now flailing writing career, Hank is an attentive albeit unconventional dad to their preteen daughter, Becca.

“I think he’s a good father and is doing his best. He cares a lot about the people around him,” says Duchovny. “He certainly has a lack of impulse control in certain areas and can’t control his tongue, but he remains the same in all other areas. These are interesting plurals to put up in the way of your character, so if you take away his habitual behavior, what else is he going to do?”

Viewers are wondering just that, given the events of the first-season finale. Karen marries the dowdy Bill (whose teenage daughter Hank inadvertently bedded), only to drive off with Hank and Becca at the end. Was it all a dream and, if so, whose dream was it?

Duchovny won’t give much away except to say he personally doesn’t believe it’s a hallucination.

“I will say this: When I got the idea on how it should all end, I called (creator) Tom (Kapinos) and pitched it to him, and he said, ‘That’s funny. That’s exactly what I was thinking.’ ”

Favorite scene: “The scene in the last episode where I get into a fight with a guy after trying to steal tampons from his wife for my daughter. To me, that’s really an encapsulation of who Hank is. He’s doing a beautiful thing but going about it in the wrong way.”

What you like most about your character: “His moral scheme is very complicated, but he’s no hypocrite. I would say what I love most about Hank is that he’s not a hypocrite.”

TV guilty pleasure: “I was into ‘Deadliest Catch,’ and I watch ‘The Contender’ and sometimes another reality show with mixed martial arts called ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I loved ‘Flight of the Conchords’ last year. That’s a new show that I don’t think I feel guilty about.”

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