LOS ANGELES – David Duchovny goes back to the age of "Aquarius" in the new 1960s drama about a cop working in Los Angeles who crosses paths with Charles Manson as the cult leader begins his journey into mayhem and madness.
The role of Detective Sam Hodiak marks a return to network TV, and to playing an investigator, for Duchovny, who previously starred as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on FOX's "The X-Files." This time out, Duchovny's character isn't trying to sleuth out unexplained phenomena -- not that Manson's killing spree is explainable -- but rather solve crime in Los Angeles in 1967, where long hair, free love and easy access to drugs have changed the landscape.
"This is a man who was raised in the '20s and '30s," Duchovny tells FOX411. "He's a different breed from anybody I've ever played. He grew up when my father grew up, you know? His cultural touchstones, the music that he listened to, the dances that he knew, are nothing I've ever known."
Hodiak's first case is tracking down the missing 16-year-old daughter (Emma Dumont) of an old girlfriend, who disappeared from a hippie-filled party. In order to get answers, he partners with Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), a young, undercover vice cop who fits in with the new scene.
But Hodiak is still old-school, and it was the rough and tumble of policing in that era was also part of the appeal of "Aquarius" for Duchovny. The Miranda warning was just being introduced, police didn't have cell phone video to contend with, nor did they have CSI to help them solve their crimes.
"Sam cuts corners," Duchovny says. "He's a classic good/bad cop. The end justifies the means for this guy. He was in World War II. He looks around L.A. in the '60s, and he thinks, "What the f--k? This is what I went to war for? For these idiots with long hair, smoking pot and having sex ... so he's really an outsider in this world that we're looking at."
In an unusual move, NBC announced that on the same night -- May 28 -- as the two-hour premiere of Season 1 of "Aquarius," the entire 13 episodes will be released on NBC.com, the NBC app and VOD.
Duchovny isn't sure if that is a good thing or not, admitting, "I don't really know what that means, but I hear that it means that they like the show."
He is hoping that America, too, likes "Aquarius" enough to get a second season, because creator John McNamara has six seasons planned out in his head. And for those wondering how that's possible, Duchovny explains that at the end of Season 1, the Tate-LaBianca murders haven't taken place yet. Charles Manson has a ways to go before he gets there, but we will see incidents, such as his failure to become a rock star, along the way.
While Duchovny's new series is airing, the former "Californication" star will also be reprising the role that made him a household name: Fox Mulder. The as-yet-untitled, six-episode limited series return of "The X-Files," will begin filming in June, and while Duchovny was quick to talk about the reboot when it was first announced, mentioning on "Letterman" that Skinner and Smoking Man would be a part of the cast, he is more circumspect now, saying that he yet to see a script.
"I don't really know what it's going to be," he says. "I'm just kind of assuming. So don't take this as gospel, but I assume there will be a couple of mythology episodes, and I assume there will be a few stand-alone episodes."
And, if the new "The X-Files" were to find an audience, as far as he's concerned, Duchovny could do more, "Six to me sounds very doable at any walk of my life, you know? It's not a great hardship in terms of time. So I would hope it would be successful, I would hope we could continue, but right now we're just looking at it as these six and then we'll see what happens."
"Aquarius" premieres on NBC, NBC.com, the NBC app and VOD, on Thursday, May 28.