"Mentalist" Simon Baker says he's Emmy underdog

Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:34pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Australian actor Simon Baker was as surprised as anyone when he got his first Emmy nomination on Thursday -- although his "Mentalist" character would have seen it coming.

Baker, 39, was among the new faces when the nominations for best actor in a drama were announced after just one season of his new crime series "The Mentalist."

The CBS show, in which Baker plays the arrogant but playful and possibly paranormal crime consultant Patrick Jane, was one of the biggest new hits on U.S. television this past season that ended in May, averaging 17.7 million viewers.

It has already been sold to some 30 nations in Europe, parts of Asia and South America.

"The Mentalist" could have been just another of the popular so-called "procedural" crime series that dominate primetime television but make less impact during award seasons.

Yet Baker, whose previous work includes the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" wasn't interested in sticking to tried and true formulas.

"I didn't just want to do a television show and be told what to do, where to go, and how to play it. It is creative death to me," Baker told Reuters.

Baker said he worked closely with Bruno Heller, the creator of "The Mentalist", on the subversive side of his character, who once faked being a psychic but does have acute observational powers.   Continued...