The Man Behind the Glasses

To paraphrase Vince Vaughn in "Swingers," Jack Coleman's character on "Heroes" is kind of like the guy in the R-rated movie: You're not sure where he's coming from, and he just might be a bad man.

Of course, that's not exactly how Coleman sees it. And, he says, after Monday's episode of the hit NBC series, viewers may not look at the mysterious Mr. Bennet, aka HRG (so named for the horn-rimmed glasses he wears), in quite the same way either.

"I think there's going to be light shed on both his motivation and his loyalty which will, I think, broaden everyone's understanding of who HRG is and what he's been trying to do," Coleman says. "And I think it will make him in one way more sympathetic and in other ways maybe even more horrific."

The episode, titled "Company Man," will delve into HRG's background, offering some clues as to how he came to work for the shadowy organization that tracks people with extraordinary abilities -- and how he came to adopt one of them, Claire (Hayden Panettiere).

It also will show HRG's firm grip on his world unraveling: Claire is enraged that his repeated erasing of his wife's (Ashley Crow) memory has left her with a brain injury, and in the middle of their fight, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) and two other people HRG has marked and tracked (guest stars Stana Katic and Matthew John Armstrong), confront him in his home.

Things come to a head in a scene that Coleman, a former star of "Dynasty," says has stuck with him for some time. Naturally, he doesn't go into specifics about what happens, but he does say that "HRG really has to make a decision, and he does and, you know, takes a stand. It reaches a very, very dramatic conclusion."

Coleman is able fill in a little bit of back story on his character: He's been working for "Primatech Paper" for at least 15 years, and had already started his job when he took custody of Claire. And there's this bit of information about a future episode: "I just recently did an entire scene in Japanese."

He cannot, however, tell you Mr. Bennet's first name.

"There was a first name in a draft [of a script], which was then removed -- I think partly because it just sort of stopped the scene in which it was delivered cold," he says. "But my personal preference has always been Anthony, because then I could be Tony Bennet. But I don't think that's going to go anywhere."

And even with the revelations Coleman says are coming in Monday's show, it's unlikely that every question about HRG will be answered. The character's ambiguous motives are, after all, a pretty large part of his appeal.

"People want to know. They want to be able to pigeonhole you. They want to be able to figure out exactly who you are and what you are," he says. "But I think the fact that he is both good and bad is what makes him so fascinating. And you realize, you know, people can do horrible things and come home and love their children.

"It's a perfectly human way to behave in the world, because I think most of us are living in areas of gray in some part or another of our lives. I think that's what makes the character fun and interesting to play."

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