ATLANTA — USA Network’s new show “Complications” isn’t the typical medical drama.
True, the story involves an emergency room doctor, his trusty nurse and a bunch of medical jargon. But the series is more dark thriller, merging the worlds of street crime and medicine together.
“The most interesting stuff happens outside of the hospital. There’s a lot of depth here with a lot of dilemmas,” said Jason O’Mara, the star of “Complications,” which airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays on USA.
O’Mara plays John Ellison, an ER doctor struggling to cope with his daughter’s recent death. While out driving, he randomly witnesses a drive-by shooting between rival gang members and takes vigilante measures to save a young boy’s life. Ellison’s noble act ultimately places him in the middle of a bloody gang war.
Ellison enlists the help of Gretchen Polk (Jessica Szohr), a so-called reckless but capable nurse with a checkered past.
“John and Gretchen are on the same page, but on two different paragraphs,” said Szohr, who starred in the teen drama “Gossip Girl.” “She comes from a hard and broken up past. She’s made a change, but still be kind of a loose cannon. She wants to help save people. That’s where John and Gretchen balance each other out.”
Series creator Matt Nix was inspired by two different real life incidents: Ten years ago, he confronted a gang member who invaded his Los Angeles home, then made the impulse decision to follow the intruder and get his license plate. The intruder was eventually caught, as Nix built a relationship with LAPD and learned more about the prominent gangs in his neighborhood.
Nix took what he learned there and combined his understanding of emergency medicine, garnered as a teenage volunteer at the local hospital.
“It was really stupid and dangerous, and I’m still unsure why I did it,” Nix said. “I actually made friends with the guy. But I was interested in making those split-second decisions that could affect your life hugely. So with everything I learned as a volunteer, I wanted to show how a doctor would deal with situations inside of the hospital and of the world that are non-medical.”
Nix, the creator and executive producer of USA’s “Burn Notice,” said his primary inspiration for O’Mara’s character was to turn a doctor into a “humanized superhero.”
“We all know that Batman doesn’t exist in the real world,” Nix said. “But if there was a Batman, I think it would be an ER doctor. It would be somebody that engages with danger and violence on a daily basis. He wants to stop it and get his hands dirty. That’s how we wanted to explore the nature of him being a hero. I wanted to turn an ER doctor into Batman.”