The actor behind Outcast’s mysterious villain (and Data from Star Trek) talks puzzles, violent confrontations and meeting Robert Kirkman at Comic-Con.

What’s it like playing such an enigmatic character?

I think it fits like a glove because I think of myself as an enigmatic character. But also that’s sort of been my history—playing mysterious characters. I don’t know why exactly, but I find myself with these puzzles to solve. And Sidney certainly is a puzzle.

What drew you to the role of Sidney?

Kyle is the center of the show, but the actual story doesn’t really take off until you find out who Sidney is. I love being the mystery in the piece. Sidney is introduced very slowly—just peppering the show with him for a while before he becomes more prominent. It gives the audience time to try to put it together, although I don’t think they’re going to be able to completely. It’s fun for me to try to figure him out and at the same time not let the audience in on too much of it too soon.

Were you aware of Robert Kirkman’s work before signing onto Outcast?

I had met him years before at a San Diego Comic-Con. He was drawing some comics and saw me walk by and shouted my name out. I came over and spoke to him for a while. And apparently I was nice, which I’m really glad about. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing this show.

How did you go about fleshing out Sidney as a character when so much of his story is left a mystery?

It was so vague initially that I had no idea what I was doing. So my real connection to the character came from speaking with Chris Black, who’s the showrunner, and Howie Deutch, who directed three of the episodes and is our producer-director. I was set to have dinner with Howie, and he said, “I’m gonna bring Chris with me.” I was like, “Oh my god, I have just missed this entirely, and they’re gonna tell me this isn’t working.” Really, what happened was all three of us discussed Sidney. And I think it was at that dinner that we sort of homed in on what he was going to be and who he is. From that point on, I had some real clear points that I could operate from.

What was it like filming that big confrontation scene between Sidney and Rev. Anderson?

I loved it. I’d never done a scene quite like that. I cut a pentagram into his chest. I think the Reverend is a fascinating character. Everything you could do wrong, he has done. And in the process, he’s on the way to completely losing his faith, which I think is really interesting. You don’t quite know by the end of Episode 6 who he is and what he wants. There is no one more villainous in the piece than Sidney, but you don’t know what his motivations are at this point.

What role do you think Sidney has in the mystery of Outcast?

I think there’s one critical thing with Sidney, and he says it in the scene with Mildred when he asks her about all the things she’s collected, and she says, “Don’t you have anything?” He says, “I have a job.” That’s Sidney. He has a job. His job requires him to do things that are reprehensible, but he has to do them because that’s his job.