It’s been a year since we’ve seen Michael Gladis on Mad Men, but on this Sunday’s Leverage, he’s making a return to the PR world in a big and much more sinister way. Gladis plays Reed Rockwell, a public image consultant who goes above and beyond for his clients. “Often times that includes character assassination or destroying the reputations of his clients’ enemies,” Gladis tells EW.
Unfortunately for Nate (Timothy Hutton) and the team, Rockwell is a harder target than they are used to bringing down. Rockwell works in the shadows, so the usual public downfall won’t be as easy. The team soon realizes that they’re dealing with their own evil twin. “Nate kind of has to figure out how he’s bring himself down,” Gladis says.
The role is a definite change for Gladis, who usually plays gentle giants, but the actor says it’s a welcome one. “I love playing villains. It’s so much fun to be a bad guy,” Gladis said. “A lot of actors say that, but it’s true because you get to do terrible things without consequences.” And Reed Rockwell is full of terrible things. In the episode’s funniest scene, the team stages a couple over-the-top situations where Rockwell could easily intervene and become a hero. They soon find out they may have underestimated Rockwell’s ruthlessness.
Gladis has kept himself busy with smaller roles on TV since he left Mad Men in 2009. His role on Leverage is the latest in a series of guest spots that includes The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and House. You may have also caught Gladis on the Conan O’Brien produced Adult Swim series, Eagleheart, without recognizing him. He plays Chris Elliott’s boss, Chief, under a fat suit and a heavy layer of makeup.
As for his Leverage episode, Gladis says there is a lot for fans to look forward to. “It’s not the kind of con they’re always pulling. There is a lot of insight into Nate’s character. There’s a little bit more of a window into the chink in Nate’s own armor.”