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July 08, 2012

The Brainerd Dispatch - Today's Entertainment Magazine

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COVER STORY McCormack holds discourse with the incorporal air By Kate O'Hare © Zap2it In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the ghost of the Prince of Den- mark's slain father appears and sends his son off on the trail of an uncle who became king through murder. Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric Mc- Cormack), the neuroscience professor who is the lead character in the TNT drama "Perception," premiering Mon- day, July 9, doesn't exactly see dead people, but he does see people who aren't really there - and sometimes they're helpful in solving the crimes brought to him by a former student, FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook). Pierce has paranoid schizo- phrenia, which causes halluci- nations and delusions. But at the same time, he has a keen intellect and knowledge of how the human brain works, which allows him to discern patterns and underlying motives in hu- man behavior. Against medical advice, Pierce decides to go off his medications and use his hal- lucinations to help give him an insight into crimes that his con- scious mind may not be able to process. "They are the voices in my does," says McCormack. "He's not on his meds, so the best way he can help himself, be- sides diet and scheduling and routine, is solving puzzles. The dichotomy is that when she comes to him with these cases, it can really throw his routine." Pierce also doesn't like how the meds affect his thought pro- cesses. "That's actually one of the things that comes up in the pilot and in several episodes," says McCormack. "Maybe my disor- der makes me who I am. Maybe this is part of me. So that'll be a very big part of the season, when people start to ask, 'How can someone who knows so much ... why can't a physician heal himself? How can he not be on meds when he, as much as anyone, knows the value?' "I don't want to become who I become (on meds). I don't want my senses dulled, even though I know it's happening." For Kate, even though utiliz- ing Pierce might not be FBI procedure, it's a smart career move. "No one can do what Pierce head," says McCormack, talking in his trailer between scenes on the show's sets in a smaller city north of Los Angeles. "It's the other part of my brain talking to me and saying, 'You know the answer to this; you've just got to work through it.' "It's a procedural, but there's also a real emotional core. Nobody wants a boring leading man." says Cook. "And I'm not the only one assigned to the case. Other people are investigating, so they can get their own shows. "But I'm on these cases, and "She's incredibly ambitious," my character is very ambitious, so she sees him as a secret weapon. She gets information to take things to him. She has enough trust in him. These things are somewhat classified, and she knows she can bring it to him." says McCormack, "it's a kid who is 16 who hears the voice of God. A cult has built around him. My character, he couldn't be more atheist if he tried. "So the scientist comes "In this particular episode," face-to-face with this kid who truly believes God speaks to him. He's such a sweet and messiahlike kid that it rocks my character's bedrock belief in nothing, or in science alone. They have this really interesting relationship. "And then I diagnose that he basically has what Joan of Arc had, which is temporal-lobe epi- lepsy, which does cause you to feel that you're hearing voices. But if you fix the temporal-lobe epilepsy by removing the tumor, are you then taking God away? Not unlike, if I take my meds, am I taking my hallucinations away? That's the theme of the show, 'How much reality is too much?' " any of his former roles, Mc- Cormack says, "He's not quite like anyone I've ever played. I've been referring to it as 'A Beauti- ful Mind' meets 'Columbo.' He's close to that, not just because he has schizophrenia, but with that kind of brilliance comes an arrogance. As to whether Pierce is like Rachael Leigh Cook, Eric McCormack and Kelly Rowan (from left) star in "Perception," premiering Monday on TNT. But working on these "Rubik's Cubes of mystery," as McCor- mack calls them, is still risky for Pierce because it interrupts his careful routine, which helps him cope without the help of drugs. Also starring are Arjay Smith as Max Lewicki, Pierce's teach- ing assistant, who also functions as a sort of minder and valet; Kelly Rowan as Natalie Vincent, Daniel's best friend, former lover and intellectual sparring partner; and LeVar Burton, in the recur- ring role of Paul Haley, a dean at Pierce's university. On this day on set, Pierce is watching an interrogation while also having a philosophical de- bate with a hallucination of the French military leader, mystic and Roman Catholic saint Joan of Arc. the world, but in the classroom, those disappear, and he is a great speaker, and he's pas- sionate." "Pierce has social issues in 3 x 3" ad 2 – JULY 8 - 14, 2012 – BRAINERD, MN/DISPATCH 1 x 4" ad 2 x 4" ad

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