Actor reflects upon favorite episode

“It was an episode about Peter MacNicol’s character (Dr. Larry Fleinhardt) returning from space. Peter went and did a bunch of episodes of ’24’ during our third season, so we needed to come up with some reason for him being off the show. Our creators and producers decided that he would go to space, which I thought was really cool.

“What happens is that his character returns from space a changed man. I find him sitting on the beach, and we talk, and he tells me that he was hoping to find all of his answers — his answers to the questions about the universe as well as his personal questions, like the meaning of life, but what he realized is that the answers weren’t out in space. Instead he finds that his innermost issues can only be solved by looking within.

“I thought it was very tastefully done and well-handled. It wasn’t over the top, silly or stupid. It was very realistic. Charlie is trying desperately to understand how something so wonderful has happened to this man — going to space — and yet he comes back still feeling so empty. There are not many procedural shows on television that take a moment to talk about the innermost emotional anguish of a scientist.”

— As told to Addie Morfoot

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more