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Sinking claws into 'Grimm'
Actor in NBC's "Grimm" enjoys playing role in which his human form is cool, his animal self fired-up

 Silas Weir Mitchell
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Date published: 9/28/2012

By Rob Hedelt

ONE of television's more creative shows returns tonight when "Grimm" airs after a brief hiatus following its post-Olympics kickoff.

For those who haven't seen the series, which draws inspiration and characters from the Grimm brothers' early 1800s German folk tales, it's a cool mix of sleuthing and supernatural.

One of the unique recurring characters is Monroe, a reformed wolfen creature known as a Wieder Blutbad. He's played by Silas Weir Mitchell.

The show centers around a Portland police detective and his pal Monroe, but creatures from the world of legends walk undetected among humans--until they transform into their inner animals.

By now, the detective, Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), knows that he's a Grimm, a protector of sorts for humanity. He soon realizes that not all the creatures he has a unique talent for spotting are bad. Among them is Monroe, a sidekick of sorts, helping Burkhardt investigate crimes and understand the supernatural creatures most humans are oblivious to.

I got a chance to speak with Mitchell recently by phone from Los Angeles.

The actor, whom many may remember from his role as schizophrenic convict Haywire on Fox's "Prison Break," said he's thrilled to be playing the interesting Monroe.

"He's got inner conflict, disavowing his dark past and his ancestors' dark history. Any time you have that sort of conflict, there's a lot to play with. Conflict is drama," he said.

Unique to this series is the fact that he has two different Monroes to play: the human one and the hirsute Blutbad.

"When he changes, he becomes a different sort of person, enraged versus absolutely at peace," said Mitchell, who had recurring roles on both "24" and "My Name Is Earl."

But Monroe experiences more than just a struggle between an inner-wolf yin and yang. He's a character with what Mitchell describes as a gallows humor that's sometimes goofy.

"With a show this dark and, pardon the pun, grim aspect, you need some levity," said Mitchell.

Much of that comes from his character, who as a Blutbad can rip a guy's arm off, but as a human is striving to focus on civilized pursuits like music or literature.

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WANT TO WATCH? What: "Grimm" When: Fridays at 9 Where: NBC