Patrick Swayze

Whittle/Seligman/Splash News

You can't keep a good man down. Or off set.

Patrick Swayze turned up Monday on the Chicago set of the A&E series The Beast to begin work on his first acting gig since confirming his pancreatic cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

The 55-year-old actor was accompanied by wife Lisa Niemi and was photographed laughing and chatting with the crew throughout the day.

Swayze plays an unorthodox FBI agent who becomes the target of an internal affairs investigation.

"I have searched for quite a long time to find a character that is this multilayered, unpredictable and downright entertaining, as well as a project this current and cutting edge," Swayze said last month, after A&E picked up the drama.

The series' pilot was filmed in December, roughly three months before Swayze's health became a national topic of conversation.

The erstwhile Dirty Dancer publicly confirmed his diagnosis in March. He has been undergoing chemotherapy, though not radiation, at the Stanford University Medical Center.

Just last week, he gave an upbeat assessment of his health.

"I'm a miracle, dude," he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport, where he was en route to the Chicago set, last Monday. "I don't know why."

Swayze is expected to continue receiving treatment while filming. The series is set to debut in early 2009.

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