Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Peek into the Future on Pure Genius

Benevolent billionaire James Bell (Augustus Prew)
recruits Dr. Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney) to
join the Bunker Hill team in Pure Genius.
In a lot of the medical shows we’ve seen and loved over the years, it’s all about the problems,” says Dermot Mulroney, who plays maverick surgeon Dr. Walter Wallace in the new Thursday-night drama Pure Genius.  “Our show is all about solutions.”

Created by Jason Katims, the man behind the acclaimed TV versions of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, Pure Genius is a cutting-edge medical drama set at Silicon Valley’s fictional Bunker Hill Hospital, which has been endowed by billionaire genius James Bell (Augustus Prew) and charged with using emerging technology to treat the trickiest of diagnoses – at no charge.  Recruited after failing to save a patient in his native Ohio with a risky operation, Mulroney’s Dr. Wallace journeys west to join Bell’s staff, which already comprises the best-of-the-best:  physician Dr. Zoe Brockett (Odette Annable), idealistic neurosurgeon Talaikha Channarayapatra (Reshma Shetty), gang member-turned-med technician Dr. Malik Verlaine (Aaron Jennings), Ivy League-educated neurologist Dr. Scott Strauss (Ward Horton) and 3-D printing programming whiz Angie Cheng (Brenda Song.)

“The show is set essentially ten minutes in the future,” explains Prew, adding that “because much of the technology it shows” – like ingestible monitors and virtual-reality patient environments, depicted in just Pure Genius’ pilot episode – “actually exists.”  In fact, Dr. Wallace himself is partly based on one of Pure Genius’ real-life medical consultants, Dr. Brennan Spiegel, a surgeon at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Hospital.  “Dr. Spiegel’s specialty is infiltrating medicine with technology, finding new ways and inventing new devices to track and monitor patients,” says Mulroney.  “I’m sure you’ll see his influence in my character, because when I met him, I noted how his body moved, and how he uses medical tools.  I tried to pick up a feel for the guy, and put it into the part.”

Amid today’s debates over privatization versus more government-sponsored initiatives like Obama-care, Pure Genius taps into “a very important part of the zeitgeist right now,” Prew enthuses.  “What if you could have the best minds in technology and medicine paired together?  How could we make the healthcare system better?  How could we change lives?  The show is about what could be, and we’re hoping to spur change.”

Mulroney, too, expects Pure Genius to bring an inspiring dose of optimism to our screens each week.  “There’s a little magic” in the show, he admits, because not all of the Bunker Hill doctors’ innovative moves are yet completely possible.  “But that’s one of its great appeals.  You’ll say, ‘Is that really happening?’ And instead of saying ‘No,’ we’ll get to say ‘Not yet.’”

Thursdays at 10 PM Eastern

Begins October 27

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