Kevin is one of those characters that THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS fans seem to adore despite his misdeeds. And let’s face it, those misdeeds have been massive. Over the years, he’s lured an underage Lily into a sexual relationship (and gave her an STD to boot!), tried to kill Colleen by setting Gina’s ablaze, and racked up a rap sheet that’s so long, it should come in volumes! “I give a lot of credit to [Y&R’s former headwriters] Jack Smith and Kay Alden,” Greg Rikaart, who plays Kevin, said to Soaps In Depth. “I know Kay has been on record saying that the momentum was going in the direction of people wanting me to stay, but she was like, ‘There’s no way! This is an impossible character to redeem!’
“But in the end, you know, I guess nothing is ever really impossible!” he added with a laugh. “I think they took their time with Kevin’s story, where it culminated with him trying to kill himself. Those were really wonderful scenes way back in 2005 with Christian [Jules LeBlanc, Michael] and Tracey [E. Bregman, Lauren], so I think Kevin’s redemption was earned. We learned a lot about Kevin’s past. It didn’t justify his behavior, but it certainly explained some of it. Kevin was never bad for the sake of being bad; he was more tormented. But I’m very grateful that he’s still around!”
While he may no longer be the tortured soul that he once was, Rikaart admits that the character still seems more comfortable wearing the murkier gray hat over heroic white. Case in point: Even though he’s back working for Paul at the GCPD, he also agreed to help Chelsea launder her dearly departed hubby’s ill-gotten gains. Can we say “conflict of interest”?
“He definitely is someone who seems to have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other,” reflected Rikaart with a grin. “He can sort of fall on one side [of the law] or the other. But he’s reformed in that when he does something bad, he feels it’s for the greater good. When he kidnapped Phyllis, in his mind, it was justified because he was trying to use her as leverage to rescue Chloe.”
Of course, the Emmy winner also believes that Kevin enjoys flirting with danger as much as he likes being an upstanding member of society. “Being good tempts him as well as being bad,” he insisted. “He does struggle when he’s being bad, but he can figure out how to sleep at night without too many problems!”
As far as those sleeping arrangements go, fans are delighted that Kevin has been able to reunite with Chloe in Genoa City, now that her own murky past has been wiped clean. Why does Rikaart think the couple is so popular? “Kevin and Chloe’s romance is a little less conventional than perhaps some of the other relationships on the show,” he mused. “They’re kindred spirits in the fact that they’ve both been unlucky in love. Both are somewhat broken, if you will. Maybe that is relatable to a lot of people who aren’t as lucky in love.”
And there is the quirky factor. “They’re not the sort of characters who are into dimly lit rooms with candles, rose petals and romance,” said the actor. “They tend to be more silly with each other, but that kind of works for these characters!” After 16 years of playing Kevin with all his flaws, faults and funniness, Rikaart continues to delight in adding ever more dimensions to his alter ego. “Every day that I’m here, I can put on a different Kevin hat,” he smiles. “He can be angst-ridden, or he can be sort of light — or anything in between. There is such complexity to him. It’s the greatest gift!”
For more from your favorite Y&R stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine