Ben Linus has become one of television's most enigmatic bad guys - creepy stare and all. If only the guy who plays him on Lost had an Emmy to show for it.
The TV-equivalent of the Oscars is a month away and once again, actor Michael Emerson is up for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series. Emerson's been there before - twice.
Nominated for his role as the former leader of the Others, Emerson lost to Lost co-star Terry O'Quinn in 2007 and to Zeljko Ivanek of Damages last year. So will it be third-time lucky for him?
"I think it may be enough honour to be nominated," he said carefully over the phone during a teleconference last week. "Anyone who has a career long enough on television to get nominated for an Emmy has succeeded on some level, and that's great for me."
Emerson and the cast are back in Hawaii, heading into production for what would be the show's sixth and final season.
The fifth season is currently showing on AXN Beyond.
Before joining Lost in 2006, Emerson's biggest TV role was as a guest star on The Practice back in 2001, playing William Hinks (which, incidentally, won him an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Star).
The 55-year-old theatre actor is surprised by the success of his character. Fans say they like Ben's damaged moral ambiguity - you're not sure whether he's really bad or not. It's a common trait found in several of Emerson's characters, such as Hinks or Zep Hindle in the Saw movies.
"I'm playing it like I would any sort of ambiguous villain," he said. "You want to engage the audience and place them in a morally ambiguous position - both irritating and fascinating in equal measures... It would be fine with me if the show ended and no one still knew if Ben was a bad guy or a hero."
While Emerson is sad to see the series end, he's glad Lost has left its footprint on television history - Emmy or not.
"There have been so many shows that have employed this sort of serial, spectacle, adventure, science fiction format, and... trying to reinvent the magic that was created with Lost."
Besides, he said, it's been fun - despite the show's grave and dramatic demeanour.
"Yes, the show is heavy... (but) we end up cracking each other up a lot. It's a humorous state of camaraderie. I mean, we take our work seriously, and the acting is at a fairly high level. But you know, when you've been up since 4am and you've worked 14 hours, things can get a little goofy late at night," said Emerson.
"Sometimes I think the best scenes are the ones where we're literally obliterated with fatigue!"
Lost Season 5, Mondays, 10pm on AXN Beyond (StarHub TV Ch 100).