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Q&A with Peter Facinelli

The actor talks about his 'Nurse Jackie' character, Dr. Fitch 'Coop' Cooper, and what he hopes he'll return with next season.

June 19, 2011

Peter Facinelli stars as Dr. Fitch "Coop" Cooper on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" — which ends its season Monday — as well as Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the "Twilight" movies.

This year was a rough one for Coop: He had to endure the pain of a bunion and the breakup of his lesbian parents. Have you created your own back story for him?

Definitely. I think that all of his current problems stem from the emotional baggage of his childhood. And I don't think his issues stem from his parents being lesbians — I think it's how they were as moms. He was coddled, and his upbringing has had an effect on him. He was unpopular, and he didn't understand why. I imagine it as if he was a puppy in a room full of people who don't like dogs. I think as a kid he was jumping all over people and was always getting kicked away. Now he's a 12-year-old boy trapped in a 30-year-old body. That's why I have so much sympathy for him. He doesn't do anything out of malice. It's just that he is completely self-absorbed and unaware.

As someone who's appeared in films, is it fun to play a TV character who doesn't have a beginning and an end?

Yeah, it's different. In television you don't really know where you're going to be in Episode 7. It keeps it fresh in the sense that you only know what your character is going to do that week, and you're not exactly sure how it will develop. It's kind of fun for me because sometimes I'll pick the writer's brain and what's going on with Coop for the season and they have a rough idea. They don't really like to tell us, but sometimes they'll spill some info — it's almost like going to a medium and they're telling you your future. But things can change. They'll throw you a curveball. It keeps you on your toes.

What do you hope the writers have in store for Dr. Coop when "Nurse Jackie" returns for a fourth season?

I've been begging them for a while to give him a mustache. Hopefully, the first episode he'll just walk in with a mustache. Bam!

— Yvonne Villarreal

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