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Patrick Gomez
June 22, 2017 10:56 AM

Scott Wolf had no idea what he was getting into when he signed on to play Dr. Dr. Scott Clemens on NBC’s The Night Shift.

“I thought I would just be in a handful of episodes,” the actor, 49, tells PEOPLE.

But as the summer series enters it’s fourth season, Wolf reflects on his career and reveals a bit of what’s to come on The Night Shift.

Why did you want to be part of this show?
I was approached in the first season to play this character and I thought it would just be a handful of episodes. But the dynamic of the love triangle turned into this whole thing and it felt really interesting and authentic from the beginning. Still, you have no idea if the audience is going to respond. But, to the writers’ credit, the character wasn’t just written as a foil to the other guy. He was actually a good option for her. Four seasons in now, that story isn’t as much at the forefront as it was the first season, but it’s still alive and part of the bigger story.

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The show shoots in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but you live with your wife Kelley, sons Jackson, 8, and Miller, 4, and daughter Lucy, 3. How does being a father impact the projects you choose?
Work is good. We’ve got a bunch of mouths to feed at this point. But I’ve been very lucky in that the commute is not that bad and the [Night Shift] schedule allows me to come do my work and immerse myself in it and still feel like I’m really not missing out on anything that is happening in my home life. I’ve got little kids now and they are the most adorable, fun, magical little people to me. They are the most important thing in the world to me and the last thing I would want is to miss out on any part of their young lives. I know enough to know you don’t get it back if you miss out on it. So being able to be a big part of their lives is the most important but my decision-making process is what it’s always been: finding a character that is internally interesting to me and a story that I want to be a part of telling.

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What show do you most get recognized from?
Party of Five. People ask if I get tired of people coming up to me and talking about the show, but I had so much fun doing it and I’m still so proud to have been a part of it. I have nothing but great memories and feelings about it. We did six seasons and it had this great emotional impact on the audience. It just struck an emotional chord in such a way that when I would encounter somebody — and it could be eight years after the show had aired — they would talk about it as though they’d just watched it last week.

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I think that has to do with how well that show was written. It sat in a time where a lot of shows hadn’t necessarily allowed younger characters to feel so whole. We explored their emotional experiences in a way that just felt really honest and respectful and full. But they just released Everwood on a streaming service and now a whole new audience is finding that show — same with Party of Five. I love that people that watched it when it was on TV are now watching it with their kids. It’s pretty trippy.

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What can fans expect from season 4 of The Night Shift?
Season 3 ended with some massive cliffhangers. There was in turmoil with a new owner of the hospital and a walkout and a bunch of characters’ lives on the line. It was unclear if some characters were going to live or die. We pick up only 48 hours later with all of these things hanging in the balance. People will find out right away if certain characters have lived or died – and there’s a little of each! Without spoiling anything, there’s just a ton of upheaval that needs to settle itself and figure itself out.

Season 4 of The Night Shift premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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