'The Strain': Sean Astin defends Jim Kent's misdeeds

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In a world being overrun by vampires, one of the most tortured characters on "The Strain" is one who could have helped avert the entire situation. Jim Kent (Sean Astin) agreed to work for Eichorst and let the contagion leave the airport and make its way into New York City, which seems to be the beginning of the end of mankind.

How could he have possibly known that would be the outcome, though? Speaking with Zap2it at the TCA press tour, Astin says, "The interesting thing is for Jim, he made a decision where you think the worst consequence is you might go to jail. Not the destruction of all humanity."

His decision brings up an interesting dilemma. After all, it was done to help his ailing wife. "To me, whether or not sacrificing the thing you love most -- your family --  in service of something higher is a question for the ages," Astin says. 

That initial betrayal led to a series of lies he believed were for the greater good, something the actor can understand. "I remember talking to my dad about the nature of lying. He always raised me that lying was wrong and at a certain point I asked him about it. He told me 'sometimes wisdom is more important than truth.'"

Of course, he then has to come to terms with his responsibility for what's unfolding around him. Even that isn't what hurts the most, though. "Looking into the eyes of his boss and mentor [Ephraim], trying to explain what he did, that's when it's hard," Astin explains.

"I don't think he's a bad guy. I don't think he's malevolent. He's got the reasons for doing what he's doing," Astin says. In the end Jim has to rely on the fact that he's not the villain of the story, but was manipulated by true evil that used his wife against him.

It's similar to another character he's played, Lynn McGill on Season 5 of "24." "I didn't do anything wrong on '24'," he defends. "My character saved Jack Bauer's life two or three times and everyone thought I was a jerk because there's rules?" While he may have thrown the rules out the window as Jim, there's a personal code he continues to live by. He simply wants to ensure the safety of his family above all else.

"The Strain" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
Photo/Video credit: FX