“There’s an Everyman sense about Neil Truman,” tells Matt Passmore of his character in USA Network’s new drama Satisfaction. Neil’s been married for 18 years, has a knockout wife, Grace, a 16-year-old daughter, a successful career at an investment firm, an awesome house, even an 80-inch 3DTV, but there’s something missing. With reckless, liberating abandon, he looks to make a change and that’s when his life goes totally Enron.
“As he tries to sort out within himself what he truly wants, the kind of man he truly wants to be and the kind of happiness he is truly searching for … he realizes it’s not the car, it’s not the house, it’s not the TV, it’s not the successful job,” Passmore says. “I think he realizes the moments he had of true happiness and self-fulfillment were with Grace — when they were both connected both with themselves and each other. I think that will be the postmodern love story, the struggle to get back to that point.”
Series producer Sean Jablonski is a master at bringing us complex characters, from Harvey Specter in Suits to Dr. Christian Troy in Nip/Tuck, and his newest addition Neil Truman is every bit as troubled and enjoyable. You’ll quickly find yourself rooting for Neil to find happiness despite his completely unorthodox choices — including becoming a male escort. Yes, a male escort. But we’re not going to tell you how that came about, nor judge — you need to watch for yourself.
“There are such universal themes, not just with relationships, but living in a postmodern world — the struggles that we have trying to be all things to all people,” Passmore explains. “Playing a man that is literally at that point where he wants to smash it all, break out of the prison and feel alive for the first time in a long time, it was wonderful to play. And then 10 times more devastating when his world then falls apart. It’s like seeing that guy getting to the finish line and then falling flat on his face. I think it’s very relatable.”
The series doesn’t shy away from being uncomfortable as it addresses universal themes almost any working and/or married person can relate to, and its brilliance comes in not villainizing any of its characters but rather letting the story unfold and depicting the consequences of Neil and Grace’s every decision — which are sometimes humorous, oftentimes heartfelt.
“I love the reference with the Buddhist monk,” Passmore says of the first episode. “Where he says, ‘It’s fine sitting and praying all day but you go and work 80 hours a week, sit in traffic, drive your kids to baseball and do a million things, and if you still keep that smile and inner optimism’ … that’s what he would truly love to be able to make sense of, and that’s the struggle and the prison he feels he’s in.”
Satisfaction airs Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT on USA Network beginning July 17.
Photo: Guy D’Alema/USA Network