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rob morrow  

'NUMB3RS' Star Rob Morrow Finds the Formula for Success

Rob Morrow has accomplished a feat few TV stars have done. He's starred in two hit shows; first in his break out role as Dr. Joel Fleischmann on the early '90s series 'Northern Exposure,' and now he is enjoying his third season as FBI Agent Don Eppes on the Friday night hit 'NUMB3RS.'

On 'NUMB3RS,' math genius Charlie -- played by David Krumholtz -- helps his FBI agent brother, Don, solve challenging crimes in Los Angeles. The gee-whiz math stuff is shown with cutting edge graphics, but the show also delves into the personal lives of the two brothers and their father played by Judd Hirsch.

In an exclusive interview, Morrow chatted with AOL Television editor Sean Doorly about adding more sex to the show, sky diving, puns and where he would like to see his character end up.



What makes this show different?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the humanity that is expressed in a way that the procedural cannot allow, and I think because of the domestic drama of the family life. It gives this show a heart. The action is done well. The cerebral stuff is done well. That is a unique conceit unto itself. Then you add heart to that, it is a winning combination -- not that I could have articulated this when I signed on. (Laughs).

What was it like when you signed on?
There were many pluses going into it, but I was dubious about the connectivity and the execution of it. I talked to Ridley [Scott] and the producers about what they planned to do visually. So I knew it was going to look cool, which is half the battle especially in this day and age. Then I talked to Nick [Falacci] and Cheryl [Heuton], and they had a ton of ideas for shows. So that gave me some solace.

Do you have a favorite moment so far from any of the seasons you shot already?
I love those action scenes. I dig doing the crazy ones.

Is that one of the reason you decided to do the show?
It was one of the huge reasons. They asked me initially if I wanted to play Charlie or Don, and I was not interested in Charlie because I felt like I have done that kind of thing. Then I never heard from them again. Then they called me after they made the pilot that did not really work and asked me if I was still interested.

What do you admire about your character?
He is a classic hero -- he is a guy that sacrifices himself for the greater good. I grew up on characters like that. Also, I've been starting to get to know him more and what goes on inside him -- why he's not in relationships. And I feel empathy for him because part of it is the justification on his part and the burden of the job if you try to have a relationship doing the kind of job he does. Some of it is heightened, but it takes a real toll on them. So I'm interested in that side of it -- how he might find some joy away from work in relationships. And that's starting to be explored in some episodes coming down the pike.

Can you tell me about the rest of the season?
We explore a little bit about Don's inner-life -- what is behind the reticence. He meets a girl and gets a little involved. We are going to get into his head a little and he is going to have some difficulties. Things are going to start to build up for him in terms of anxiety and what is going on in his life.

Anything you would change about the character?
I know who he is. I just want to find out more about him. I want to see him in crisis, trying to have a relationship. I think he has a little chip on his shoulder about his intellect because of his brother and I'd like to see that played out. I'd like to see more conflict, more Cain and Abel -- maybe not as far as that -- but to get them in conflict and see what happens there. I think the show should have more sex. I'm always pushing that.

What has been the greatest achievement in your life personally?
My marriage and my daughter. My daughter first and my marriage second or both of them at the same time.

And her name is Tu? What was the genesis of that?
Puns. Because my wife's first name is Debbon and her last name is Ayer, so we wanted to carry on the tradition. So her name is Tu Morrow.

I understand that you've done a little skydiving. What was that like?
It was great. I did it once. I can't imagine doing it again, but if the right circumstances came up, I would probably go for it.

Why did you do it?
For years, a group of my friends were saying they were going to do it, but every time somebody was going I always came up with an excuse. So I get a call from a friend of mine, David Heyman who produces all the 'Harry Potter' movies. He asks if I have any plans tomorrow and I said, "No." So he says, "We're going skydiving, you should meet us." So then I get on the phone with Gina Gershon and I tell her, and she says, "Let me tell you a little story." Her mother had a friend who had a normal fear of heights, so she goes to one of those places where you overcome your fear. She goes skydiving and on the first solo dive, her chute doesn't open, and she goes right to the earth and dies. So I call David and tell him I'm not going. Then a year later, I call my sister and ask, "Do you want to go skydiving?" I did not think she would say yes. We went out to this place in Paris, California where everybody goes. You go and sit in an empty bureaucratic room and a lawyer comes on the monitor saying you can't even think about suing. I keep thinking I'm going to back out. I get up there and my sister says she wants to go first. Picture a window with someone you know standing right in front of it, and they jump out of the window and disappear. So I saw her jump and then I jumped and I screamed for an entire minute, which was equal parts joy and utter fear. Then the chute popped open and it was like flying, not falling, like flying. It was an amazing experience.

Years from now, when the show ends, what would you like to see happen to your character?
I'd like to see Don get married and have kids. Get a nice cushy job. Maybe become a golf pro. Maybe Charlie gets so much money from some prize they can retire and play golf.

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far would you go back and what would the advice be?
I guess to find the joy in knowledge earlier. I wasted a lot of time with school and if I knew then what I know now, I would have been that much deeper into it.

What are some of your favorite TV shows on now?
'The New Adventures of Old Christine.' Genius. It's a perfect sitcom. I love 'Weeds.' I like 'Brothers and Sisters.' Even though I understand the criticism, I love 'Studio 60.'

What about of all time?
'Thirtysomething,' 'Mary Tyler Moore,' 'West Wing' and I'd say that 'Sopranos' is the best-written drama on television.