Relishing return to drama roots
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