Alan Cumming on new series "Instinct" and why it's a "big step" for gay characters

The new CBS drama "Instinct" is breaking ground as the first hour-long broadcast series featuring a gay character as the lead. But what drew Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming to the role wasn't that it was making history – but the fact that being gay wasn't the most important part of the character.

"The gay thing is like, exactly, the fourth or fifth thing you see about the character, and I think that's a big step," Cumming told "CBS This Morning."

Cumming, who also serves as an executive producer of the show, portrays Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a university professor and former CIA operative who ends up helping New York police after a killer starts planning crimes based on his book.

After Cumming's last TV gig on "The Good Wife" ended, he returned to a more "peripatetic" lifestyle, traveling and taking a variety of roles in theater and film. But when he got the script for "Instinct" he says it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

"It was so many different facets of a character. It was sort of -- I mean, he's got so many different characteristics. And actually I think if you, when you think about going into a long-running, potentially long-running show, you want to make sure you don't get bored," he said. "I just really thought that was handled really, really well. And I think it's, you know, good on CBS for finally doing this."

"Instinct" premieres Sunday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT