PLAYED BY Peter Krause
VITAL STATS Food co-op manager-turned-partner, Fisher & Diaz Funeral Home; deep-thinking oldest sibling who survived a life-threatening brain disorder; new father/husband.
INSTANT AUTOPSY ''Nate wants to be open to all possibilities at all times,'' says Krause. ''Nate wants to be the hero, he wants to be the good guy. He's uncomfortable causing other people pain. And like many others, he's a person who is still scratching his head, wondering why things have turned out the way they have for him.''
UPCOMING DEVELOPMENTS He's struggling to face the duties of fatherhood while managing relationships with two women: his wife, Lisa, the mother of his child, and ex-fiancée Brenda. ''I was surprised to find that the weight on Nate's shoulders has increased,'' hints Krause. ''And it's a portrayal of suffering. Nate continues to suffer, but he rises to the challenge.... He's becoming a more responsible person.''
RANDOM CASTING FACT Krause was originally in contention for the role of David. But, recalls show creator Alan Ball, ''we were having problems casting Nate, and the casting director said, 'What about Peter Krause?' and I thought, 'Well, duh! Why didn't we think of that?'''
CLOSEST REAL-LIFE BRUSH WITH DEATH A tie between ''falling asleep behind the wheel driving from Wisconsin to Minnesota and winding up in a ditch'' and ''working on the television series 'Cybill.'''
REINCARNATION FANTASY ''I hope either as a woman, or something in another dimension, or a sea mammal.''
PREFERRED OBITUARY OPENER ''He wished he could have been a rodeo clown.''