Two things inspired executive producer Matt Nix on the forthcoming USA Network series “Complications:” volunteering at a hospital and witnessing a gang member break into his Echo Park home 10 years ago.
“I thought he was one of the gardeners,” Nix told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Thursday.
After confronting him, he was walking away, and for reasons I cant explain, I started following him. He totally saw me getting his license plate and he did the gang bang member head nod at me.”
“At the trial, I kind of made friends with the guy. He apologized and I said, ‘No worries, it happens,'” Nix said jokingly.
But the show’s lead character, emergency room doctor John Ellison (Jason O’ Mara), experiences a far less remorseful response. Following the loss of his daughter, John saves the life of a young boy during a drive-by shooting. John compromises his hippocratic oath to save him, but the boy is still marked for death.
“The genesis of this show came from what would you do if you were placed in this situation … kind of writing yourself into a corner and finding your way out,” Nix said. “The thing about this show is it’s scary as shit. What happens next?! I don’t know, let’s see.”
Joining Nix for the panel were O’Mara and fellow co-star Jessica Szohr (“Gossip Girl”). She portrays Gretchen, a street-smart ER nurse who would do anything for her sister. Szohr said there’s not much overlap between her personal life and her character’s storyline.
“She’s stubborn, she’s in the moment when she wants something done and will do it at almost any cost,” she said. “And for me, that’s scary … it’s very opposite of anything I’ve done. It’s very different from my day to day.”
The same can’t be said for O’Mara. During filming, he lost a close friend to cancer. “Complications” opens with John grieving over the loss of his daughter to leukemia.
“All of those feelings were there. They were readily available to me. I thought I could either crumble in this situation or treat it like it’s meant to be, keep working, and try to use what has been given to me in this moment,” O’Mara said.
From Fox Television Studios, “Complications” also stars Matt Angel (“R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”), Beth Riesgraf (“Leverage”) and Lauren Stamile (“Burn Notice”).