After a five-season stint on Grey's Anatomy came to an end in 2009, T.R. Knight has laid low in the TV world. (A Law & Order: SVU guest-starring gig was his only post-Grey's small-screen credit for a while.) Now, he's taking on The Good Wife as political wunderkind Jordan Karahalios.
Eli Gold (Alan Cumming), political adviser for Peter Florrick's (Chris Noth) Illinois gubernatorial campaign, finds himself in a heap of trouble when the government pokes around his dealings. Naturally, the Democratic party makes a sudden move. That's where Jordan comes in.
"Eli's having some issues with the Department of Justice so in order for [Peter's] campaign to cover their bases, they need someone there in case Eli needs to pull out," Knight said in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter. "He's a necessary evil."
Though Eli and Jordan -- whose first appearance comes in Sunday's winter return -- want similar things, it's how they attain them that's a point of contention.
"Eli and Jordan both have the same goal, to get voters to vote for Peter, but they have very different methods to pursue that," said Knight, who next appears in the Jackie Robinson film 42. For one thing, Eli's mannerisms are far more "straightforward" and "aggressive," while Jordan "at least at first glance, appears to be more laid-back, more easygoing, more off the cuff."
"I feel you never really know him, even if you've known him for a while. You walk away and you have no idea who he is or what he's about. It's off-putting for those people because you don't know where you stand," Knight added.
The threat of being replaced is a major reason why Eli is unsettled about having Jordan around. "It's hard when someone has been around to have someone else come along," Knight said. "He rubs Eli the wrong way. He's coming in as a replacement possibly; that's what the idea is. It's not a comfortable situation at all."
There may be a moment where Peter will have to make a decision: side with his longtime ally Eli or go with the new kid Jordan. "You have one person saying one thing on one shoulder and then the other person on the other. Who do you believe?" Knight asked rhetorically.
Don't expect a ton of back story for Jordan, at least coming from the horse's mouth. "The audience will get that he started very young and was a phenom at a very young age as far as campaign management and chief of staff goes," Knight revealed. "From Eli's perspective, Jordan represents this cocky guy coming in ... and Eli obviously has a problem with that."
Knight expressed interest in returning to television in a regular capacity, noting that it's always dependent on the project. When asked if the opportunity arose for him to return to Grey's Anatomy (his alter-ego Dr. George O'Malley died in the season five finale) in flashback or otherwise, the likelihood of a revisit seemed slim. "He's dead!" Knight joked.
The Good Wife returns 9 p.m. Sunday on CBS.