WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. &

So Michael is on the boat, but what's he been up to all this time?




"I wish I could tell you," actor Harold Perrineau said in an interview with The Associated Press.




It's the question that's nagged "Lost" viewers since the tormented single father castaway played by Perrineau sailed away with his son from the ABC drama at the end of the second season &

and didn't return at any point during the third.




Although he's been listed as a cast member throughout the current fourth season, Perrineau didn't appear onscreen until Thursday, when Michael was introduced as a deck-swabbing crewman named Kevin Johnson on that mysterious freighter that's been drifting off the coast and apparently giving those aboard a deadly case of cabin fever.




Viewers will find out where Michael has been for the past season and a half &

about half a month in island time &

during the March 20 episode, which was filmed last year before the writer's strike forced ABC to shut down production.




The Michael-centric episode &

or should we call him Kevin now? &

will feature flashbacks detailing what happened after Perrineau's character shockingly gunned down fellow passengers Ana-Lucia and Libby in order to release seemingly evil Ben and retrieve his son Walt from captivity.




"I hope people see Michael's return and think, 'Oh, this is gonna be good,'" Perrineau told the AP over lunch Wednesday. "I hope they think this ride is good. We busted our butts doing this one."




Getting the rest of the Michael-related "Lost" questions out of the way: Was Michael ever able to get back home to New York? Will his son also return to the show? And was he the man in the coffin during that jaw-dropping flashfoward at the end of season three? According to Perrieanu, the answers are yes, maybe and he has no idea.