Why Being Human's Sam Witwer loves playing an addict and a liar

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Jul 4, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT

For actor Sam Witwer, playing Aidan the vampire on Syfy's Being Human has allowed the veteran sci-fi actor to embrace deep, dark and oh-so-human problems, and he loves the depths his character has traveled so far this season.

"Aidan lies a lot to his roommates, all the time, in fact," said Witwer. "Throughout our entire season he is constantly lying to just about everyone, and you only see what's really going on with that character when he's alone or when he's with certain company. And what I love about that is that it really reinforces the metaphor that we make no secret that we're actually discussing addiction. We are discussing a man who is battling drug addiction and trying to stay clean."

Of course, being a vampire, Aidan is battling his addiction to blood as he tries to avoid killing people while living with his roommates, Josh the werewolf and Sally the ghost, who each have their own problems. Josh is played by Sam Huntington, with Meaghan Rath taking on the role of Sally.

"His friendship with Josh is a friendship of desperation. He has no one who can support him except this guy. And so they move in so that they can kind of watchdog each other, but the fact of the matter is he still doesn't share with Josh half of what's going on," Witwer said.

"I really love that our whole mythology for vampires is all based around that metaphor, everything that we've done. In fact, even the casting of vampires has been about that. There's a scene in a later episode where there's a big gathering of vampires ... and we looked around, me and Mark Pellegrino [who plays Bishop]. And we're just applauding their casting choices, because it wasn't a bunch of dudes and women in like black leather pants and long trench coats."

According to Witwer, the vampires include a woman who looked like a mother, a man who could be a schoolteacher and a kid who might have otherwise been a college student. "It was just people. It was just normal people, and the point being that any one of these people could have a problem with addiction and hide it from the people that they're closest with. I thought that was fascinating."

While his character is over 200 years old, Aidan "doesn't have the tools that you and I have to deal with humanity on humanity's own terms. So he's been relying on the substance abuse to get him through," said Witwer. "I mean, on one hand he's a very wise, old character who's accrued a lot of wisdom. And on the other hand he's a kid who has not developed normally."

The actor, who has starred in Battlestar Galactica, Smallville and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is playing Aidan as if "this is all ridiculously new to him. That this going clean is something that has occurred to him in the past and he's tried on a few occasions. But this is the first time that he's really made a go of it and had any real success."

But success comes at a price, leaving Aidan in a volatile emotional state, he said. "He tries to maintain this very low-key veneer to try to contain all the stuff that's going on inside, and you'll get to see more and more of that as the season goes on, in terms of backsliding."

So is Aidan destined to fail, considering he is, after all, a vampire? "That is a question that we will answer by the end of the entire series. But in terms of the season ... yes, we do see some failures and we do see some moments where, yes, he starts backsliding, and it's some pretty ugly stuff."

Syfy's Being Human airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

How do you think Aidan stacks up against other TV and movie vampires?