…Making our boss very happy because, well, maybe we shouldn’t say this, but because he identifies with all the psycho series leads. Bobby Goren. Gregory House. Monk. And now Eric McCormack’s Daniel Pierce.
(EDITED BY LB TO ADD: FTR, I’ve never identified with Monk, munchman. With me, it’s all about the hard cases.)
In addition to McCormack as the nutjob “neuroscience professor” as the show calls his profession (it also calls his condition “paranoid schizophrenia,” which we’re sure is authentic and, as presented here, way cool), PERCEPTION also gives us Rachel Leigh Cook as the professor’s eye-popping (hey, she looks great) FBI agent handler and LeVar Burton as his pop-eyed (really, they bug out all over the place as though he forgot how to use them by playing that dood on NEXT GEN for so long) university boss.
There are other actors too, but the important guy here is creator/executive producer Ken Biller, who evidently is succeeding in making a lot of viewers, some key network executives, and at least one paranoid schizophrenic wannabe we know very happy.
And, no, not via the serial killer character. Someone much closer to home.
They don’t have Chicago right yet, and I got tired of all the fathers of women law enforcement officers owning bars years ago, but this bit of dialog, said by the assistant to Eric McCormick’s character, made me sit up and take notice:
One of my jobs is to find puzzles for him [McCormick] to solve to take him out of the life in his head…
Yeah, that was a bad paraphrase. The real line was much better. There also was this one, as our hero professor tells his college class:
The past and the future are just stories our brains make up. The only thing that’s real is the now.
(Also a bad paraphrase. My apologies to the credited writer, Stephen Tolkin, and everyone else who did writing work on this episode for mangling something I enjoyed so much.)
So far I’ve seen every episode, and I’m recommending this series even more highly now. Very perceptive writing. Not quite what I’d call “insightful” yet, but definitely heading there…
Know what usually happens when you ask the star about his/her new show? He/she/they tell you all about themselves. (No, not their character, themselves.) Do you suppose that’s gonna happen here?
Eric McCormack Talks About His New TNT Procedural, PERCEPTION
by Christina Radish
The unique TNT crime-solving drama Perception follows the life of Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), an eccentric neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia who is recruited by the FBI to help solve complex cases. Although he struggles with hallucinations and paranoid delusions, FBI agent and Pierce’s former student, Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), is willing to look past Daniel’s peculiarities and utilize his uncanny ability to see patterns and look past people’s conscious emotions to see what lies beneath. The show also stars Arjay Smith andKelly Rowan…
Collider: How did this show come about for you? Did they approach you about this role because of your past relationship with TNT?
ERIC McCORMACK: It was a happy accident, really. I have a great relationship with Michael Wright, who runs TNT, and he was on the look-out for something. When Ken Biller, who created the show, went to TNT, he said, “We’re thinking a little out of the box here. We’re thinking somebody like Eric McCormack.” So, there was that. And then, when I read it, I was aware that it was vaguely a crime-solving show, but with the first page, when I’m lecturing in the university about neuroscience, I was like, “Oh boy, I love this! Who else is doing that? We have some high school shows, but we don’t have a university show out there, where the hero is an academic and an intellectual and, in addition, a schizophrenic who is someone that can educate us a bit about the disease, at the same time, because he’s the biggest brain in the room.
Did you respond to the fact that this is not your typical procedural?
McCORMACK: Yes. In this case, procedure is the last thing that Daniel Pierce is going to follow. He’s probably going to screw procedure up, more than anything. He’s not there to look at forensics or have anything to do with guns, and he doesn’t bust anybody. He’s simply looking at it from the point of view of a puzzle and, inevitably, because of his expertise, that creates some great twists and turns in this show.
Having just done another show for TNT prior to this, that ended up not going as well as one hopes when you sign on for a TV show, did you have any hesitation about doing another show, or does that type of thing just roll off of you because you know that happens more often than not, in this business?
McCORMACK: I love everybody at TNT, and they were totally behind Trust Me. I totally loved that show. I feel like it should have had more life. I just don’t think it was the right show for them, at the time, and lots of good shows don’t make it past the second season, for various reasons. I know where TNT’s sweet spot is, and when I read Perception, I thought, “This is a chance to play a fascinating, fun, challenging character, but still within the realm of something that will sit very well with The Closer and Major Crimes, and the other shows there.”
So the answer to the musical question is, “Yeps.” Surprise.
Oh, If you go to the article you’ll see that the next question is, in effect, “What was it like to play someone so much smarter than you?” As though actors never did that. Which is crazy because, let’s face it, if actors couldn’t play characters smarter than they are, well, we’d have to have mice or carrots playing all the roles instead.
Still love Collider.Com though. It’s a very interestingsexyinformative thorough site.
EDITED TO ADD: munchman watched the PERCEPTION pilot last night and was impressed by how the show grafted A BEAUTIFUL MIND onto typical police procedural conventions. So fresh! So original! So Glen A. Larson circa 1980!
And, just between us, I loves a schizophrenic hero as much as the next guy, but at least in the film Russell Crowe got messed up. This Eric McCormack dude, though, has the most perfect beard stubble ever seen on or by mortal man. It totally humiliates that of House, The Man With No Name, and whatever the hell Don Johnson’s MIAMI VICE character was called. Great call, Eric. Stay pretty, man.