Rule No. 1: Attorneys should never, ever get involved romantically with their clients. We all know that, but TV continues to break that fundamental rule for our enjoyment. In this case, the beautiful and brilliant Sadie Ellis (played by Katherine Heigl) can’t resist her charming, too-good-to-be-guilty client Billy Brennan (Steven Pasquale), a pediatric neurosurgeon, in CBS’ new thinker Doubt, debuting Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 10/9c.
“Doubt’s done a really good job of riding the line between a classic network procedural and a long-form cable model where you’re invested every week in order to feel like you want to know what happens the following week,” Pasquale tells us. “The entire scope of Season 1 is about this murder trial that’s happening to this altruistic, wealthy doctor in New York who comes from a sort of blue-bloody, powerful New York family. … It really is all about whether or not he’s guilty.”
Brennan’s accused of a murder that happened 24 years ago, as new evidence links him to the crime. When Brennan was 16 years old, his high-school sweetheart was found murdered in Gramercy Park.
Pasquale was in the dark for the entire series, and wasn’t told until the last minute if his character was innocent or guilty. “It was really fun to have my own version of what the events were, and then play it accordingly. They would have let me know if we were off track. But it’s fun because by the end, I feel like my instinct was right, in terms of what they saw at the end of Season 1 and what I was imagining to happen. They lined up very well.”
No stranger to playing a doctor with past roles as Dr. Jason Cole (or maybe better remembered as his alter ego Ian Price) on NBC’s short lived Do No Harm, Pasquale joked, “I am so comfortable in scrubs at this point I’m ready to play a lifeguard.” Although he plays a doctor this series is all about the courtroom. “It’s very much a courtroom drama and his backstory being a doctor is something that we explore peripherally, but we don’t get too deep into his life in medicine.”
The series definitely has the intensity of a murder trial and the anxiety of not knowing who this guy really is, yet relies on its supporting cast (Elliott Gould, Dulé Hill, Laverne Cox, Dreama Walker and Kobi Libii) for some lighthearted moments as well.
“[The series] does a great job of being light and charming in many ways, then flipping a switch and really getting serious about what’s happening dramatically,” Pasquale concludes. “Our writers were able to accomplish this tonally, riding the line between when you can chuckle at it, and when it moves you.”
As for the potential for a Season 2 of Doubt specifically for his character, Pasquale concludes, “I think it has the potential to do that, certainly.”
What do you think? Did he do it?