(CBS) – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey. These are just a few of the award-winning actors and actresses Robert Patrick has worked with during his lengthy career in Hollywood. When you think of Patrick, you think about some of the darkest villains from the last 20 years- T-1000 from “Terminator 2,” Jackson Herveaux from “True Blood” and Gary Tison from “Last Rampage.” There have been plenty of bad guys and plenty of law enforcement agents scattered in the 144 characters Patrick has played in his career.
The Georgia native recently turned 59, but is still going strong as Agent Cabe Gallo in the CBS drama “Scorpion.” Gallo is a Special Agent for the US Department of Homeland Security and is in charge of Team Scorpion. “Scorpion” is in its fourth season on CBS.
Patrick recently talked with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about why “Scorpion” is such a unique show, the proudest moments of his career and how the late Johnny Cash impacted him.
DJ Sixsmith: What’s the biggest difference between the actor you are now and the actor you were at the beginning of you career?
Robert Patrick: I’m a lot more confident in my abilities and the things that I’m willing to try. I think that’s the biggest difference. I believe I’ve done 144 different characters at this point in my career. I’ve gotten to work with some really great people over the years. Acting is a craft and the more you do it, the better you get. If you’re willing to learn and willing to grow within the craft itself, you can’t help but get better.
DS: Speaking of the roles you’ve played, what is your favorite character trait that Agent Cabe Gallo possesses?
RP: My favorite character trait of Agent Gallo is that he is an ideal. Agent Gallo represents the alpha male that we’re all hoping exists out there. He has a lot of virtue and a clear understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong. He has moral integrity. He’s willing to stand up for what he believes in. I really enjoy those aspects of it. He is an ideal and that’s something I have a tough time living up to on a daily basis. It’s something I’m very comfortable playing right now. I’m the father to five geniuses, it’s really neat.
DS: What’s the biggest reason “Scorpion” has built such a strong following?
RP: “Scorpion” is one of the most unique shows on television right now. On the surface, it’s a drama, but there are so many comedic aspects to it. The characters and their relationships are what is most attractive to the audience. The chemistry of the cast, how we interact, how we deal with different things, how we treat each other and the things that make us something very appealing that you want to invite into your home each week.
DS: You mentioned before that you’ve worked with some great people over the years. What’s been the proudest moment of your career?
RP: There’s been so many different things that I’ve gotten to do. Most recently, I did a film and got the best reviews of my life! The film is called “Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison” and it’s one of the darkest characters I’ve ever played. Gary Tison escaped from a prison in Arizona in 1978 with the help of his three teenage boys. I like pushing myself doing things that are different and varied. I keep thinking that the next great role is right out there in the future for me. I’m proud of “Cop Land,” “Walk The Line,” “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” and I’m equally as proud of “Scorpion.”
DS: Finally, what’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about Robert Patrick away from the screen?
RP: I’m just a church going dude, who is trying to raise his kids the best he can. I’m not as dark as a lot of the characters I play. I also just released a song called Oh Lord that I did for “Last Rampage.” There’s something that people haven’t heard. That song has a little bit of influence from Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers on there. You can also hear the influence of Johnny Cash on that song. “Walk the Line” was one of my favorite experiences. I played Cash’s father in the movie and that was the relationship that really shaped his career and his future.
“Scorpion” airs every Monday at 9 p.m. on CBS4.