“It’s the most fun job—anything goes, that’s what I love,” Mehcad Brooks says about his role as a flashy bad-boy football player who’s sent to a shrink (Callie Thorne) to improve his game on the USA series Necessary Roughness. Previously best known as Eggs on True Blood and for guest roles on The Game and Desperate Housewives, Brooks at first refused to consider playing Terrence "T.K." King. The quick cancellation of his last series My Generation hit him hard. “It broke my heart, and I swore off television,” says Brooks. “I was being fairly irrational but I didn’t care.” Once he was persuaded to at least read the script, he found a lot to relate to.
The son of an NFL wide receiver, Brooks grew up in Austin, Texas, playing football, basketball and baseball and was able to draw from “any superstar athlete with an ego” for inspiration. He admits to sowing some fairly wild oats in his early twenties—nothing as outrageous as T.K., “but compared to who I am now, yes, for sure.”
Life has imitated art for Brooks, who began therapy sessions with Dr. Donna Dannenfelser, on whom Thorne’s character is based, after a harrowing auto accident in which a texting driver hit his car head on. “I had a really bad concussion and had to take about a month off. She’s been helping me deal with the traumatic stuff,” he explains. With less than a month of shooting left in Atlanta, Brooks will next head to New York to shoot an episode of Law & Order: SVU, playing a victim.
On Sept. 9, he’ll play the action hero in the horror flick Creature, which he describes as a mix of Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes and Swamp Thing. He plays a former Navy SEAL who has to rescue his kidnapped fiancée—played by his real-life girlfriend Serinda Swan. “I take on the entire town and this monster to get her back,” he says.
Meanwhile, he’s trying to find a network home for a proposed documentary series on spirituality called Mystic Seekers, the first episode of which he spent three weeks filming in India. “We got to film in temples where they’d never allowed Westerners before,” he notes. Whether or not it’s picked up, “We’re going to the Yucatan next, then New Zealand.”
Necessary Roughness airs Wednesdays on USA.
(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)