Summer Preview: Eric McCormack Gets Crazy in ‘Perception’
Eric McCormack, known primarily for his role as Will Truman on Will & Grace, is returning to television in TNT’s new summer crime drama Perception. The show follows Dr. Daniel Pierce (McCormack), a brilliant professor at a Chicago University, who is contacted by a former student, current FBI agent, Kate Moretti (played by Rachel Leigh Cook), who recruits him to assist on complicated cases. According to the show’s website, “Pierce has an intimate knowledge of human behavior and a masterful understanding of the way the mind works. He also has an uncanny ability to see patterns and look past people’s conscious emotions to see what lies beneath. “
Throwing a wrench into things, however, is the fact that there really is a fine line between genius and insanity, and Pierce is teetering just on the wrong side. He has mild schizophrenia, and suffers from hallucinations and paranoid delusions. While this may seem like a good reason to keep him away from federal criminal cases, Pierce apparently, occasionally, considers them a gift, as they allow him to “make connections that his conscious mind can’t yet process.” Of course, they also cause him to behave irrationally, and get Agent Moretti into hot water with her superiors on occasion.
Arjay Smith has also joined the cast as Max Lewicki, who serves as both teaching and personal assistant to Pierce, making certain that everything in his life is kept in order, so as not to knock him off balance and further disrupt his fragile mental state. Kelly Rowan rounds out the main cast as Pierce’s best friend, and intellectual equal, Natalie Vincent.
Numerous recurring characters are slated to appear throughout the 10 episode first season, premiering on TNT on July 9th. These include LeVar Burton as Paul Haley, Pierce’s friend and a dean at the university, Jamie Bamber as “a new professor who catches the eye of Kate Moretti,” and Freddy Rodriguez as “an eccentric ex-student of McCormack’s Dr. Daniel Pierce.”
Procedural drama’s are easily the most widely represented on television, and it seems that every year a dozen or so new one hit the schedules, each with their own spin on the old format. Recently, it seems that the trend is to throw in a quirky civilian (usually the main character) to offset the strict procedure of the law enforcement element, and it seems to be working, with several of these series running for more than a few years (re: Castle, Bones, The Mentalist). The trouble with that, of course, is that it makes it virtually impossible to judge how a show of this nature will do before the Pilot airs (and sometimes even after).
The success or failure of the show is likely going to rely on the strength of the cast, and the ability of new showrunners Mike Sussman and Amanda Green.