Vampire Diaries: Meet Mystic Falls’ Hot New Werewolf!

Taylor Kinney as Mason

Bob Mahoney/The CW

updated 10/21/2010 AT 1:35 PM ET

originally published 10/21/2010 AT 2:10 PM ET

Is there a new bad guy in Mystic Falls?

On the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries, fans learned that seemingly good guy Mason actually returned to his hometown at the request of evil Katherine – his girlfriend! – to track down the Lockwood family’s secret. But Mason’s no bad villain, says actor Taylor Kinney, just a man in love.

“I don’t think he’s a bad person,” Kinney, 29, tells PEOPLE. “[Mason] is motivated by a love for a girl, and it makes you do bad things, [but] I don’t think that Mason thinks he’s a bad person.”

Mason’s arrival in Mystic Falls also marked a new chapter on the show – the introduction of werewolves.

“I just jump at the chance to play a werewolf,” Kinney said, even though the role required shooting a nearly-nude scene that marked Mason’s shape-shifting reveal.

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