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Checking in with Mark Sheppard
By John Crook

Mark Sheppard joined the CW hit "Supernatural" as the demon Crowley in the middle of Season 5, but he became a series regular only in the show's current (10th) season. Making up for lost time, the writing team has made Sheppard's character deeper and richer, starting the season with him in the improbable role of Dean Winchester's (Jensen Ackles) BFF, then, more recently, introducing us to Crowley's mom: Rowena (Ruth Connell) a witch who knows how to push her son's buttons.

When the show returns from hiatus on Tuesday, Jan. 20, fans may get some new insights into this volatile mother-son relationship, Sheppard says. "I don't want to give too much detail away, but there is definitely an ongoing story for Crowley," he volunteers. "Back in Season 8, there was a push to restoring Crowley's humanity, and there definitely has been a residual effect as a result of that. I love the way it's going, and Ruth has created a really interesting character for us."

Sheppard spent his teen years as a musician, touring with several bands before making his professional acting debut in a Los Angeles stage production that earned him several awards. A featured role in the 1993 film "In the Name of the Father" soon followed, as did a guest role on Season 1 of "The X-Files," the first of many fantasy and sci-fi TV gigs. "It's a testament to Jensen and Jared (Padalecki) and Misha (Collins) that they are so inclusive and made me a part of their group," Sheppard says of his "Supernatural" co-stars. "We spent the better part of 12 hours together yesterday, and it was just so much fun. I've been lucky enough to do some other things here and there, but there's a remarkable familiarity when I go back to Canada and walk onto that set. It just feels like everyone has your back."

Born: May 30, 1964, in London

Family ties: His father is the estimable British actor W. Morgan Sheppard. Father and son have played the same character at different ages on several projects, including "Doctor Who" and "NCIS."

Friends list: Sheppard is close pals with character actor Donal Logue ("Gotham"). No black hats, please: Sheppard rejects the notion that he always plays "villains," pointing out that even "king of hell" Crowley acts benignly almost as often as he does something malicious.

Other TV credits: Include "Battlestar Galactica," "Warehouse 13," "White Collar," "Burn Notice," "Leverage" and "24," among many, many others

Mark Sheppard

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