Tahmoh Penikett plays the only character on Battlestar Galactica who always does the right thing, no matter what. (And he was very happy when we told him that, because apparently people are still mad at Helo for stopping the Cylon plague in season three.) But in Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse, we're going to get to see a different side to Penikett — a dark side. We caught up with him at Comic-Con and learned the terrible truth about FBI agent Paul Ballard.
So once we hashed out the whole "Helo always does the right thing" meme, which I totally believe, we asked Tahmoh if we were going to see him go darker in Dollhouse. In Dollhouse, Penikett plays Paul Ballard, an FBI agent who is investigating the mysterious "Dollhouse," where you can hire a mindwiped puppet who can be programmed to be anyone you need him/her to be.
Penikett says that unlike Helo, who is a "family man" who's all about his wife and kid, Ballard is a lone wolf, with nobody in his life. Ballard used to be a rising star within the FBI, but his belief in the shadowy mind-erasing Dollhouse has ruined his credibility. He's "hanging on to his job by a shoestring," and the Bureau is disappointed with him.
And Ballard is curious about the Dollhouse and its technology. Could he be curious about it because he'd like to hire an "Active" for himself? Or does Ballard secretly want his own mind erased? Penikett hinted that it may be the latter. Ballard has some things that he wants to forget, and the Dollhouse's technology could help him leave his past behind.
Penikett also says the majority of his scenes in the original Dollhouse pilot are with Eliza Dushku. He's excited about the new pilot, because it's "like getting a second chance... You do a project, you have a timeline, you do a great job, and then suddenly you see another opportunity to basically do a test sequence." This lets creator Joss Whedon do an episode before the pilot and introduce the premise a new way.