Rel­ish­ing re­turn to drama roots

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FREE TV -

WHEN it comes to crime (and we’re talk­ing more about TV crime than real-world crime), there are times when a dif­fer­ent view of the sit­u­a­tion is re­quired to crack a case.

And when it comes to the new pro­ce­dural drama se­ries Per­cep­tion, that dif­fer­ent view of the sit­u­a­tion is of­fered by Dr Daniel Pierce.

A crime that ap­pears to be the work of a dis­turbed mind is where the bril­liant neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist and aca­demic of­fers a unique per­spec­tive.

He’s keenly aware of the in­tri­ca­cies of hu­man be­hav­iour and un­usual men­tal states and dis­or­ders be­cause he him­self is a para­noid schiz­o­phrenic.

‘‘It’s a char­ac­ter I love be­ing,’’ says Eric McCor­mack, the former Will & Grace star who plays Pierce.

‘‘I love play­ing some­one far smarter than me – some­one bril­liant, in this case – whose par­tic­u­lar view­point is go­ing to bring some­thing new to the mys­tery-solv­ing process.

‘‘But I love it when some­one with as much of a brain as he has also has as much of a hur­dle to over­come.’’

‘‘There’s no greater hur­dle than para­noid schizophre­nia, es­pe­cially for some­one for whom the brain is ev­ery­thing.’’

That wrench doesn’t stop the FBI – in case agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), Pierce’s former stu­dent and pro­tege – from en­list­ing the good doc­tor as a con­sul­tant when they’re baf­fled by com­plex cases.

While Pierce has the kind of mind that craves con­stant stim­u­la­tion – the stim­u­la­tion in­ves­ti­gat­ing a crime can pro­vide – it some­times has some un­pleas­ant, un­fore­seen side-ef­fects.

Though he can fall vic­tim to the symp­toms of his con­di­tion, he’s also em­bold­ened by it in other ways, some­thing that makes Pierce a com­pelling and com­pli­cated char­ac­ter. ‘‘It’s the com­plex­ity of that I love,’’ says McCor­mack. Play­ing Pierce may seem like a rad­i­cal de­par­ture for McCor­mack af­ter eight years as the lead of a muchloved sit­com, but the ac­tor was look­ing to re­turn to his dra­matic roots.

‘‘The one thing I knew for sure af­ter Will & Grace ended was that I wasn’t go­ing to go into an­other sit­com.

‘‘I didn’t come from com­edy; I came from drama and the­atre and I knew I wanted to get back to that, but I didn’t know how long it would take.’’

Per­cep­tion: Wed­nes­days, 8.30pm, Uni­ver­sal.

– GUY DAVIS

Eric McCor­mack

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