TV drama is set to intrigue
MOST TV medical dramas might give you the impression a hospital is where a lot of smart but socially awkward people go to flirt with one another and, every once in a while, tend to the ailments of their patients.
Now here comes Emily Owens, MD, which continues the pattern by having a bunch of good-looking, well-educated medicos striving for success while looking for love and occasionally healing the sick.
Leading the way is the title character, played by Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter who appeared on The Good Wife), a gifted but insecure intern looking for professional and personal fulfillment in her first job out of medical school.
However, the presence of her high school nemesis Cassandra Kopelson, played by Aja Naomi King, as a fellow intern looks set to complicate matters. Aja, I’ve done a bit of reading about your character Cassandra and she sounds kind of mean.
A lot of people say that. She’s very competitive, maybe even aggressive. And, yes, she can be mean but I really think it’s just part of that competitive spirit, which can sometimes bring out her bad side. You might want those qualities, handling life-or-death situations.
Exactly. So could you tell us a bit more about Cassandra and her role on
The show follows Emily as she begins her internship at Denver Memorial Hospital. She runs into Cassandra Kopelson there, and as it turns out they went to high school together. Cassandra was, of course, a wonderful, delightful, popular girl while Emily was quite the opposite. So she’s not thrilled Cassandra is there doing her internship, and this competition ensues between us. Cassandra is not some pretty thing with no brains, she’s smart and capable, and I think that’s what drives her. She wants to prove she’s not getting by on looks. Emily has always topped her academically but now things are changing for Cassandra. Is it a fair fight? Are these two evenly matched?
Well, Emily’s a really good doctor, and that really lights a fire under Cassandra, who does a fair bit to psych Emily out. Cassandra has a great bedside manner and wants to be a great doctor but Emily can really think on her feet, you know? It’s a tough but rewarding part for me because Cassandra’s not one-note. I want to be able to incorporate all of her elements – she has this competitive side but is also scared of failing. It must have been an exciting few months for all of you involved in the show. Getting cast in it to begin with, waiting to see if the show would get picked up, now waiting for the audience’s first reaction.
For me, it’s all been like a dream. I auditioned in Los Angeles and was so surprised and happy to even get a callback. But I was shocked when I actually got the part – I was screaming. Then shooting the pilot in Vancouver was amazing because the cast is so talented and so much fun to be around. Being in such a beautiful place around these wonderful people made me want to keep doing it, so it was a hard few months between shooting the pilot and waiting to see if we’d get picked up. If you had to sum up
how would you describe it? It’s a romantic dramedy – it’s got a bit of everything. It gets very dramatic with the cases we’re treating but it’s also funny as it follows Emily trying to navigate through this new life in this new place. Then there’s a lot of romance with people falling in and out of love. For Cassandra, it makes sense for the best-looking guy – Emily’s old crush Will (played by Justin Hartley), in this case – and best-looking girl to be together. It’s what should happen. Of course, Emily is not a huge fan of that way of thinking but that’s not Cassandra’s problem.
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Aja Naomi King.