Royal Pains season 3 returns tonight on USA. It follows Hank Lawson, who moved to the Hamptons to become a concierge doctor. Reshma Shetty plays Divya Katdare, a physician’s assistant, on the show.
Reshma spoke with BuddyTV about Royal Pains, why it’s different from other medical shows on TV, a tease for the remaining season 3 episodes and her medical background. Below is our exclusive interview.
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Royal Pains is a medical show. Hank Lawson moves to the Hamptons and becomes a doctor, mainly to the wealthy. And we’ve seen over the years, especially on network TV, a lot of medical shows. We’ve got ER that had a great run. Grey’s Anatomy has been on for quite a while. What makes Royal Pains different from all the other medical shows?
The first one is it’s based on a concierge doctor, so we’re not based in a hospital. We do have a hospital base, but that’s not where he works. The concept is he’s kind of the on-call doctor, so he goes anywhere. We’re a very location-based show. A lot of emergencies happen in people’s homes or outside.
And because he is a concierge doctor, yes, most of his patients are wealthy patients. And that is the trend at the moment, especially in the Hamptons, to have somebody always on-call because you can. But he also, just because of his character, will help anyone. And I think to just do a show based on a concierge doctor to the wealthy, I think that would be horribly boring and also lacking in humanity, right?
I think that’s the twist that Royal Pains has. It’s showing a guy who’s just as willing to help people, whether they’re wealthy and they can afford to pay or they can’t afford anything. He takes suspicious payments from a recurring character who comes. I think that’s the biggest difference on what makes Royal Pains unique.
Since you get to deal with medicine and such, what’s it like having to deal with all that medical terminology?
I’m kind of used to it. I grew up in a household of medicine, so I always had my dad’s medical books all around me and stuff. And so I studied a lot of Bio in college so it’s not as difficult, but definitely. I mean, it’s not only the terms. It’s more to do with you actually know what you’re doing and so these terms are just like regular words in your vocabulary. And they’re not. You kind of have to drill it in because it’s easy to learn a term.
I would say a very simple one like penicillin, you don’t say penicillin every day. It’s not something that’s part of your life. And I think that’s the thing that’s difficult, really coming across like you know what you’re talking about.
To make that sound natural coming out of your mouth. The show is set in the Hamptons. Have you gotten to film anything actually in the Hamptons?
We go at the beginning and the end of the season, I think mostly because it gets so busy. There’s only one road out to the Hamptons and it’s three hours away. We definitely do footage in the Hamptons. We go out there for two weeks on either end of the shooting schedule to get that done. We definitely have hung out there.
Your character is Divya Katdare. Since the show hasn’t been on since last August, can you catch us up on where we’re at on the show and what your character’s been doing? You’re character, in particular, has some drama going on.
Yeah, so much has been happening on the show. It’s kind of the upheaval of HankMed as an entity. Why don’t we start with my character since it’s closest to my heart? With my character, she had a very large arc to do with her romance, I guess, with her impending marriage. She decided to be brave enough to say, no, I’ve got to do what I want to do and I’ve got to be what I want to be. She tells her parents all the secrets and they basically tell her that she is disowned. So it’s kind of been a growing up season for her because it’s the first time she’s ever had to live by herself.
She gets a bit overwhelmed because then we have the drama of her ex-fiance coming back and telling her that she owes money to his parents for the wedding because she left him. And she has no money because her parents disowned her. It’s kind of her reckoning of becoming responsible and trying to find a way for her to make ends meet because it’s something she’s never experienced or had to think about, so it’s been a really maturing time.
And with everybody else, of course you’ve got the Jill-Hank romance and with Evan, his romance with Brooke D’Orsay’s character, Paige. It’s kind of the upheaval of what HankMed is and becoming, and, of course, all the crazy characters that are in the Hamptons in our show.
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Since the show is coming back this month, we’re heading into the last part of season 3 here. Is there anything you can tease us with on what’s going to come up soon?
Well, I guess it’s going to be a continuation. We ended, if my memory serves me, on the realization that I had given incorrect medication. Because to cover my bills, I doubled up at the hospital but I didn’t tell Hank. Not only am I being his PA, but I also got a second job at the hospital being a PA. And it’s kind of wearing me down. And Divya is one of those go-getter people who will have to do what she has to do. But I think her body starts to give way and she makes a mistake. And so we left it at that.
We don’t know what happened to this character played by Wilmer Valderrama, whether he made it, if he didn’t make it, who’s to blame? So we’re going to start off with finding out what happens to all that and some of the aftermath of something pretty major because this will be about a secret we’re talking about, her lying to Hank. We’re talking about her hurting somebody. We’re talking about so many repercussions because Jill hired her. There are so many thing that are going to be answered, I guess, in the next six episodes.
It ends on a very interesting note as well, but I can’t tell you. You just have to watch. It’s going to be very crazy towards the end. Really fun guest stars. Really fun episodes coming up. We have Sutton Foster. We have the whole Shakespeare play thing happening. Molly Sims is on; she’s a guest star in the storyline with me. So there’s lots of really fun things. Kyle Howard, who’s been playing a bit of a love interest to Divya, is back on and that storyline is going to be worked out here, a little bit of whether the romance goes anywhere, etc. etc. So there’s actually a lot. So for the people who love Royal Pains and the people who will learn to love Royal Pains when they start watching, it’s a really cute, blue sky but drama-filled show.
It seems like a lot’s going to be happening coming up, so I guess we really have to stay tuned then. Now, to go off really quick on a different topic, you mentioned in college you had studied pre-med. And you changed your major and earned a degree in opera performance. Why did you switch over?
I’ve always been a musician. There has always been music. I had participated in high school musicals as well and I started to sing towards the senior year of high school. And it’s one of those situations that the arts are a very scary situation. And I came from a background where nobody was an artist. Everybody was in medicine. I had an interest in biology. I’ve always had an interest in just the essence of being able to help someone. And I feel doctors and nurses, they have such a gift.
Just watching my dad in emergency situations help somebody was very inspiring to me, so I continued on that path. But I knew I had talents in other areas. And he just started to notice and they just started to tell me and kind of guide me in this area. And by sophomore year, I was getting into things that vocal majors were getting into. Getting roles, being a bio major at the same time was really hard because I had all these chemistry tests and bio tests.
So it just became something that it was either do it or regret it for the rest of your life. So I’ll try. And I tried and thankfully it worked out. It was one of those situations that you have one life to live, and what do you want to do with it, and what are the gifts that God gave you? I was lucky, too, because I had really amazing mentors who took me under their wing. A lot of kids don’t get that. People who really believed in something that I had to offer and helped me with all their skills to try to just get better. So that’s why I made the transition.
And since you had that interest early on and we’re dealing with medicine and such, does it seem kind of ironic now that you’re on a medical show?
Well, I am Indian and I am in showbiz, so we do tend to play doctors. So I guess it is pretty ironic, but I kind of knew at some point I was going do this. I still haven’t played a real doctor, though. She’s a physician’s assistant, but my doctor role’s coming. It’s out there. It’s really helpful to just have that background. It’s actually really cool to learn stuff that way.
And I was talking to Mark [Feuerstein] about this, but I had a situation at Saks Fifth Avenue, and I think it’s about a year and a half ago, maybe. This lady, she fainted. And my sister was there with me and she yelled at me and it was really weird. I have no medical knowledge or merit that could help anyone, but it felt like an emergency.
And I did what I’ve been taught to do which was to make sure she doesn’t gag on her vomit, I guess. So I got her to the right physician, asked her questions about any medication she’d taken. I kept asking people if there was a doctor and nobody was showing. And so I just stayed with her until the EMT’s came and just tried to keep her calm. And thankfully, it was nothing worse than she was having convulsions and then she calmed down. If it was worse, that would have been a bad situation.
It also made me go, we should all know first aid. We should all know CPR. We should all know what to do when a situation like that comes because to have those skills is pretty amazing. And that’s what drew me to being a doctor. Doing the right thing can save someone’s life and that’s like the ultimate, right?
Yeah, exactly. I think that’s good. I think everyone should know first aid, CPR and all that.
I mean, in the instant that you’re there and you go, what do I do? What do I do? It’s a very simple thing to do, and it made really want to go out and do that.
And now you’re doing a great job on Royal Pains. Will there be a season 4?
Yes. We start filming in March. We go another 16 episodes in season 4 and hopefully many more.
OK, great. We all look forward to that.
Royal Pains returns tonight at 10pm on USA.
(Image courtesy of USA)