James Van Der Beek (Remember Him?) Joins 'Mercy'

To many of us, James Van Der Beek is still Dawson Leery, the idealistic teen with a thing for Katie Holmes on The WB's Dawson's Creek. The series and the network are long gone now, and Holmes has since gone on to star in films both small (2003's Pieces of April) and big (2005's Batman Begins) -- and of course, her marriage to Tom Cruise may also have contributed her post-Dawson's fame (ya think?). But unlike Holmes, Van Der Beek has yet to connect with a wider audience.

Sure, the 32-year-old actor has worked steadily since playing Dawson, mostly popping up in TV guest spots (on the CBS hits Criminal Minds and How I Met Your Mother, for example -- plus a small recurring role on The CW's One Tree Hill) and a few small horror films, including a 2006 straight-to-DVD release called The Plague.

But  tonight, he joins NBC's Mercy for a multi-episode arc -- one that could lead to regular cast-member status, according to TV Guide. And his role, as  new head of the ICU, couldn't be more different than the one he's famous for. "He's a little brash and he comes in and shakes things up," says Van Der Beek, in a video clip on Mercy's website. "I get to say all the smart-ass stuff and say things that are somewhat mean… After playing the nice guy on television for so long, it's a lot of fun to play somebody who just doesn't care what you think of him. This doctor is completely without shame." And, according to EW.com, he's also hiding a secret!

Here's what we wonder, though: Are some actors destined to succeed only in "likeable" roles? With his earnest expressions and frustrated yearnings, Van Der Beek as Dawson was heart-melting and genuinely compelling. Can he tap the same magic while portraying a full-grown, arrogant man?

Would you like to see James Van Der Beek make a career comeback? Chime in below!

Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web