"The Mob Doctor" (premieres Mon., Sept. 17, 9 p.m. ET on Fox) might not be the catchiest new show title of the season, but it says exactly what this new drama is about.
Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro) is a talented young surgeon who just so happens to split her time between a hospital operating room and the mob hangouts of Chicago's Southside. She owes a major debt to the Chicago mob, and she's paying it off one bullet extraction at a time.
She's got two men in her life who make this juggling act even harder: Her boyfriend, Dr. Brett Robinson (Zach Gilford), who is completely oblivious to her mobster moonlighting, and Constantine Alexander (William Forsythe), the ex-mobster who looks out for Grace ... until a twist of events puts him back on top.
I caught up with Spiro, Forsythe and Gilford to talk about what's to come on their new show, an awesome alternate title that was pitched and dream guest stars. Keep reading for more.
What drew you to this show, and what do you think audiences will respond to?
Jordana Spiro: "When I started reading the script, I was like, 'Oh, it's gonna be like another medical procedural with a twist.' And that didn't really pull me in a creative, exciting way. But when I read the last scene between Grace and Constantine, William Forsythe's character, I said, 'Oh wow ... what they're saying is not what they're actually talking about.' And that got me very excited. Yeah, the mob boss guy is actually oddly paternal, but then he completely flips and scares the crap out of her. That's when I knew it was something I would really die to do."
William Forsythe: "She made a decision, long before Constantine came into the picture, and that decision was to cross over into this world, for a good reason because her brother was going to be killed. But she does make a moral crossover, and she's sort of dangling in the middle with all these brilliant qualities that she has as a doctor and as a person. I think it appeals to the American soul. There's a little dash of larceny in us all. [Laughs.] And no one's invincible."
Constantine: good guy or bad guy?
William Forsythe: "It's kind of interesting because she was in a lot more trouble until he came along. She was definitely dealing with the wrong crowd. Though it's now 'his debt,' her debt to him, she's in better hands. He looks out for her. He's her guardian angel."
What's in a name?
Zach Gilford: "Because the main character's name is Grace, I was really pushing for it to be called 'Grace Anatomy' -- ''Grace Anatomy,' now on Fox!' [Laughs.] So we would get that whole crowd! I really need to be in marketing."
Jordana Spiro: "I did all my own driving -- it was so much fun! OK, there was one shot I didn't do, because I was supposed to be backing into a $200 thousand car. For whatever reason, they were like, 'We only have one car that we can ruin ...' [Laughs.]"
Brett knows nothing about Grace's other life ... yet
Zach Gilford: "Yet ... I have no clue, which is kind of funny, because I don't even think Grace is that good of a liar. [Laughs.] She's always late, she's always got some problem. In the next episode, she blows him off for dinner and he just doesn't even know what to do about it. I want Brett to get in on the mob action though ... that would be the best."
Jordana Spiro: "He loves me that much. [Laughs.] I mean, we all know a thing or two about being in denial when it comes to the ones you love, but yeah, his rose-colored glasses will probably come off eventually. There'll be a certain point when Grace will want him to know, but I feel like right now, if he knew too much he'd break up with her. She's in such an identity crisis right now -- if someone she loved pointed that out to her, she'd tell them to go f--- themselves."
How do you research to play a mobster?
William Forsythe: "When I played Capone [in "The Untouchables" TV series], I had a lot of time to research, and I met with close to 100 people who knew Al personally. I also got into his family a little, and I talked to people who knew him very intimately. I was really able to get an understanding of this guy from Brooklyn who went there and really made the outfit."
Paging Dr. Gilford -- again
Zach Gilford: "The first time I was cast to play a doctor [on ABC's "Off the Map"] I was flabbergasted. I was like, 'I was just playing a high school kid!' Now I'm like, 'Wait, you guys bought that? I'm really good.'"
Dream guest stars
Jordana Spiro: "I would die if Alfred Molina came and did the show. I've been trying to make it happen! I took a class with him, and he was the scariest teacher in the world, but in the best way."
"The Mob Doctor" premieres Mon., Sept. 17, 9 p.m. ET on Fox.