Mehcad Brooks grew up knowing about turning off faucets and watering plants at night, but is even more aware of water conservation today. "You save 100 gallons of water every two days if you shut the water off when you're lathering up in the shower," the "Necessary Roughness" star points out. He carpools more now since he was a victim of a head-on collision that totaled his car, and he's considering replacing it with a Lexus hybrid, and says he'd have solar panels if he had a home to put them on. "I'm a nomad. I live wherever I work at the time," says Brooks, now shooting "Roughness" in Atlanta. He joined the Young Hollywood board of the Environmental Media Association and hopes to help bring awareness to eco-initiatives like community gardens. "They're needed for health, sustainability, and are beneficial to Mother Earth. I'm involved with Indian businessmen trying to work out a recycling program. We have to stop thinking that our convenience is more important than the planet we live on. We need a new attitude."
Previously best known for "True Blood," "The Game" and an arc on "Desperate Housewives," Brooks is having "the most fun I've ever had with a character" playing bad boy wide receiver Terrence "T.K." King on USA's Wednesday night series. "Anything goes, there's no limits — that's what I love," Brooks raves, noting personal points of reference in addition to superstar athletes to use as inspiration. "My father played wide receiver for the NFL and he's pretty much a narcissist so it's very close to home. I also pulled from myself in my early 20s," he says. Was he a wild man? "Compared to T.K., no, but compared to who I am now, yes for sure."
Having an athletic background helped him, too. "It does in general in Hollywood because you learn to achieve a goal, get along with people and have that attitude of winning and coming together to create something great." But it took some persuading to get Brooks on board, however, as he was still smarting from his last, short-lived TV experience. "'My Generation' was canceled and it broke my heart. I swore off television. I refused to even read scripts," he says. Ultimately persuaded to read "Necessary Roughness," he signed on once he was assured that there would be room for the character to develop and grow. In upcoming episodes, T.K. and his shrink (Callie Thorne) clash over his inappropriate behavior, such as buying a car for her son. "He's not respecting the boundaries with her family and there's some fallout due to it."
An Austin native, Brooks feels at home on location in Georgia. "I think Atlanta's a beautiful city — great food, wonderful people, great music scene there," he says, though he has less than a month left before "Roughness" wraps for the season. "Then I'm going to New York to shoot an episode of 'Law & Order: SVU.' I play a special victim." On Sept. 9, he'll be on the big screen in "Creature," a horror flick in which he plays a former Navy Seal on a road trip with friends who end up in a backwoods swamp town. "Think 'Deliverance' meets 'The Hills Have Eyes' and mix it with 'Swamp Thing,'" Brooks describes. "I get to do a lot of action and fighting. They kidnap my fiancée [played by his real-life girlfriend Serinda Swan] and I take on the entire town and this monster to get her back."
Brooks is also the producer and co-host of a planned documentary series called "Mystic Seekers," which aims "to research and unlock the mysteries of different spiritualities." He spent three weeks in the jungles of southern India to film footage for the first episode, now being pitched to networks. "I'm into anthropology and studying human beings and culture and history," he explains. "Even if no one picks it up we're going to continue doing it. We're going to the Yucatan next, then New Zealand."