The TNT network’s latest medical drama, Heartland
, premiered last night, with actor Treat Williams playing his second doctor role in television.
The organ-transplant drama centers on the emotional experience undergone by the medical personnel, donors and recipients at a hospital located in Pittsburgh.
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Williams, who plays surgeon Nathaniel Grant, explained that the life-and-death situations in Heartland
are presented mainly to raise the stakes for the characters.
"It's never really been about hearts and bodies being flown around the country,” the 55-year-old actor said. “It's really a show about this group of people in this workplace (and) how this kind of work affects them.”
star also said that “if the audience finds those characters likable and interesting,” then the series may have a better chance of surviving.
Series creator David Hollander, who spent his formative years in Pittsburgh, believes that the randomness of donor-recipient interaction is what places the series on fertile ground.
"I've always been interested in stories that cut across cultural, socioeconomic and religious boundaries and still bring people together," Hollander said. "Transplantation does that. You don't know who the donor may be: man or woman, black or white, Christian or Jewish. It's all just an immediate connection."
Hollander also said that one of the things he enjoys about Williams’ character is the way he develops professionally and personally given the fact that he can see the deceased donors as he gives life back to the recipients.
Apart from dealing with patients, William’s Nathaniel Grant also undergoes many emotional struggles outside of the operating room. His friend and mentor, Dr. Bart Jacobs, played by Dabney Coleman, is dying but still refuses to receive a life-prolonging transplant. His ex-wife, Kate Armstrong, played by Kari Matchett, is the hospital’s organ-recovery coordinator, which means that she and Nathaniel have to work closely together.
Matchett feels her character combines psychology with compassion.
"She looks at people, checks them out and asks, 'How am I going to get what I need to get here?'” Matchett said. “Is that manipulative? Is getting someone's organs to save other people's lives manipulative? It's a very interesting question.”
Aside from Williams, Coleman and Matchett, other cast members include Rockmund Dunbar (Prison Break
) and Gage Golightly.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: USA Today
(Photo Courtesy of TNT)