Actor Tim Kang says he is nothing like the character he plays in The Mentalist.

Actor Tim Kang expects more often than not to be wearing some type of uniform when he's cast in Hollywood.

Kang believes directors seem to have honed in on his serious side - and it could be part of the reason he was cast as agent Kimball Cho in the successful crime drama The Mentalist.

But Kang says he's far removed from the stereotypical policemen and soldiers he has portrayed on the small screen - in fact, he says, he's usually joking around on set.

"A lot of people don't see that [side of me]," Kang says.


"I've played soldiers, police officers, undercover cops and FBI agents, these sort of serious guys, and I think that there is obviously something about what I bring to the table."

It's not as though Kang is complaining. Until he was cast alongside Aussie actor Simon Baker in The Mentalist, Kang had never cemented a regular role in a television show.

"This is my first series regular and certainly it's been great from a financial aspect, because as actors we go from job to job to job and can be unemployed at any moment," he says from the LA set.

"We are in the middle of filming our 100th episode and it's such a landmark milestone for the show and I consider myself to be in a very fortunate position."

The character Kang portrays is not the one he "met" during the first script reading.

Kang says creator Bruno Heller gave him poetic licence to mould the character, which has allowed him to embellish, retain or even discard personality traits.

"In the beginning Cho was a family man, he had two kids, he was sort of on the sloppy side and socially inept.

"Bruno, to his credit, gave us free rein. He said this is how I envision the character but you take it and run with it ... he gave me a lot to sink my teeth into.

"I kept the great stuff and jettisoned the stuff I wasn't really into."

TV Profile
Who: Tim Kang

What: As Agent Kimball Cho, supporting player in The Mentalist

When: Tuesdays 8.35pm

Where: TV2