Andrew McCarthy visits the dark side for role in ABC drama 'The Family'

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Andrew McCarthy's new role in ABC's "The Family" is darker than some of his past projects. (KABC)

In the new drama, "The Family," a child's disappearance and sudden re-appearance cause turmoil for everyone.

Joan Allen stars as a mother who is thrilled and confused at her missing son's return.

Andrew McCarthy plays the man with a past who was blamed for the boy's death, and has spent the last 10 years in prison. He may be exonerated, but this character still harbors plenty of secrets and plenty of anger.

"He's a victim wrongly accused and yet a sexual perpetrator so can we have empathy? Can we like him? Should we be terrified and hate him? Yeah it's interesting," said McCarthy.

"That's what I like - everybody is complex and not exactly who they say they are, has their own agenda, has their own version of fact, whatever the facts are."

McCarthy has been acting for all of his adult life. One of his biggest hits, "Pretty in Pink," just celebrated its 30th anniversary.

But 10 years ago, he shifted his focus to doing more work as a director. In fact, McCarthy directed three episodes of "The Family."

He says he had no fear in stepping behind the camera instead of in front of it.

"You know I didn't care! Which is great freedom. I didn't care," said McCarthy. "I wasn't trying to protect the 'Pretty in Pink' person. I mean, who cares? We've all grown up haven't we? And I love him, he's a great guy - Blaine - but it's nice to do something... I just didn't care at all."

McCarthy says the fact that he essentially grew up on film and television sets is what's served him best as a director.

"It's just something I know how to do," said McCarthy. "And I always gravitated more toward the crew than the actors anyway. And the older I got, I became more interested in the whole story, not just my little facet and how my hair looked. I like the idea of being responsible for the whole story in a certain way."

"The Family" will air Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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