'Necessary Roughness' Review: Are You Ready for Some Football Therapy?
'Necessary Roughness' Review: Are You Ready for Some Football Therapy?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
USA knows how to make a hit TV show. The formula is simple: Take a working professional with a complicated personal life and give them a new gig. That is in full effect with the network's newest series, Necessary Roughness (premiering Wednesday at 10pm), and with a strong cast from beloved shows, it's destined to score another touchdown for USA.

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Dr. Dani Santino (Rescue Me's Callie Thorne) is a tough therapist whose home life starts to fall apart when she throws out her cheating husband and has to deal with the rebellious angst of her teenage kids. To cope with her break-up she goes out drinking and meets a charming man (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Marc Blucas), a trainer for a professional football team. The one-night stand leads to a session where she helps him quit smoking, which leads to an offer to be the team therapist.

Her primary client is a troubled star athlete who can't catch a pass, the hard partying Terrence King (True Blood's Mehcad Brooks). Dr. Dani also gets help from the mysterious Nico (Gilmore Girls' Scott Cohen), a fixer who works hard to solve any and every problem the team needs help with.

Necessary Roughness may be a little rough around the edges, but at its heart is a strong premise with likeable actors. USA has a habit of creating very memorable and unique main characters, from Jeffrey Donovan's Michael Westen on Burn Notice to Sarah Shahi's plucky mediator Kate Reed on Fairly Legal. Dr. Dani isn't quite as strong as those characters, and the pilot of Necessary Roughness seems a little too simplistic with its therapy sessions, but there's a lot to like.

Blucas, whose all-American good looks never quite fit in on Buffy, is better suited for this kind of show as a potential romantic leading man. Necessary Roughness also has a great cast of supporting and recurring characters, with Craig Bierko as a great foil as Dani's cheating ex-husband, Concetta Tomei as her gambling addict mother and Gregory Alan Williams as the loud-mouthed football coach.

Necessary Roughness has many strong parts, and hopefully, with a little time and therapy, it can grow and mature into a series as great as some of USA's other hits.

None of this should come as any surprise, since USA does a fantastic job of creating strong programming. With Necessary Roughness, USA now has seven new shows currently on every week, with Psych and Fairly Legal waiting in the wings. That's an impressive lineup larger than the CW, and with better ratings. There are also no failures. USA hasn't canceled a show after just one season since The Starter Wife in 2008, and that was originally a miniseries.

Like the players on the team, Necessary Roughness has some issues it needs to work on, but if it can fine-tune them during the season, the great cast could easily create another hit for USA.

(Image courtesy of USA)


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