Gale Harold is no stranger to playing bad boys. His sexy Brian Kinney in "Queer as Folk" was the resident love-'em-and-leave-'em heartbreaker for five seasons.

But Charles Meade, the wicked witch of Chance Harbor he plays in CW's "The Secret Circle," is on a totally different level.

“He may be up in the bad scale a bit,” Harold said Monday during a phone interview prior to the show’s third episode, “Loner,” airing at 8 p.m. Sept. 29.

An understatement, you think? Let’s see, in the series premiere Charles burned newbie witch Cassie’s (Britt Robertson) mom to a crisp as part of his plot to create a new coven of teen witches in his town. In last week’s episode, he covered up a murder committed by Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge), his partner in supernatural scheming.

Producers Kevin Williamson and Andrew Miller have yet to reveal why Charles and Dawn have set their plan in motion, but there’s no doubt it will be a juicy, action-filled tale. Williamson did, after all, adapt “The Secret Circle” from the book series by LJ Smith, the same author of “The Vampire Diaries” series, which Williamson made into another hit show for CW. And “TVD” never skimps on twists and turns in its storytelling.

Harold has quickly become the biggest reason to watch “The Secret Circle” as Charles kills and broods and manipulates. But if you ask the actor, Charles isn’t simply a villain.

“The things we’ve already seen him do are evil,” he said. “But I don’t think that it’s on any level about an evil person trying to do evil things.”

According to Harold, Charles is a family man struggling to protect his daughter, Diana (Shelley Hennig), who happens to be another teen witch in the new circle. He’s also trying to protect his extended “witch family,” which includes Dawn, who was part of a coven that was disbanded and stripped of its powers years earlier after a horrible accident.

He will do pretty much anything to hide the witches’ way of life from those who would destroy it. And that’s when he gets wicked.

“There’s no way that the people outside the family are going to just roll over and die, regardless of who they are. And once they start to get dangerous, they have to be controlled,” Harold said. “And the more dangerous they become, the more extreme the control method has to become.”

So what exactly does that mean for Charles in the upcoming episodes, and possibly even in "Loner," when Zachary (Dave Baez), a mysterious man who knew Cassie's mom, comes to town?

“We have to go down before we can go up,” Harold teased. “And so I think there’s an oncoming slide.”

Harold gives us a deeper peek into Charles' psyche below.

Charles is a pretty smooth operator; does he always stay in control?
I think that he has to maintain some sort of smooth operation function because he does work as a lawyer and he is a member of society and he’s got a bunch of potentially damaging secrets underneath his everyday persona. So I think that that’s a way of covering for what he’s struggling to deal with.

You say he’s “struggling” to deal with this stuff. Is his motivation more of a saving a certain way of life or taking care of his kid or is it just a pure evil type thing?
No, I don’t think it’s pure evil at all. I think that, the way he understands it isn’t pure evil at all. Whether or not it is pure evil will have to be decided by other people. I think that from a social, right-and-wrong perspective, it is evil ... But I think there’s another list of questions that he asks himself, not good or bad or right or wrong, but how am I going to protect first of all my family, which is my daughter. That spreads out to the bigger family, which is potentially the coven and his relationship with Dawn and how that can be protected and how it can be hidden from the world.

I think it’s about the person who is just stuck in a difficult place between what society dictates and what a possibly pre-Christian world thinks, especially in a country like the United States, where so much of it is somewhat reactionary and all about how each person is defined by religion and God, whoever that is.

Interesting. So he’s doing everything for the right reasons for him, I guess?