USA Network has a new doctor making house calls and his name is Rush. Welsh actor Tom Ellis stars as the titular character Dr. William Rush, a risk-taking doctor caring for an elite clientele in Los Angeles on the down low.
Rush struggles with his own demons while using drugs and women to forget the once promising future he had for his career and personal life.
The new series Rush premieres on Thursday, July 17 at 9 p.m. Find out more about the bad boy doctor and his strange affinity for 80s pop tunes.
1. Rush Started His Unorthodox Practice Six Years Ago
Before he became a go-to doctor for the troubled wealthy, Rush worked as a “top attending surgeon at a prominent LA hospital.” He had a beautiful fiance named Sarah Peterson, and he worked alongside his father Dr. Warren Rush and best friend Dr. Alex Burke. Then one day, he lost it all. The hospital fired him, Sarah left him and the relationship with his father fell apart.
The show picks up six years later when Rush’s off-the-books practice is doing well. He can still depend on his friend Alex at the hospital and his assistant Eve Parker brings him clients in need and willing to pay his steep price, without discrimination or judgement.
Ellis told Buddy TV that his character is just “a good guy” who “made some bad choices”:
Any character you play, you have to find some empathy or sympathy towards that character as to why they are the person they are, and why they do what they do. Not to excuse them, but to understand why they make those choices.
2. Ellis Doesn’t Mind the Mind the Comparison to ‘House M.D.’
The premise for Rush may sound familiar: an actor from the United Kingdom puts on a American accent to play a no-rules doctor who has a drug problem. Ellis accepts the comparison to Fox’s medical drama House M.D. but he told The Fresno Bee his show will focus more on Rush’s relationships with his friends and father:
Rush is more about Rush’s world, his relationships with his friends, with his father. I think that once people start to watch, the comparisons will stop. But I don’t mind it if people need an easy reference point to remember the show.
Watch Hugh Laurie‘s casting audition, using his American accent, for House M.D. below:
About Ellis’ American accent, executive producer Jonathan Levine finds his “kind of amazing,” he told Entertainment Weekly. The actor travelled back and forth between America and Britain to work on the accent and had played an American in a play in London shortly before he was cast for Rush.
Ellis explained how to perfect an American accent in a USA Network special feature:
It’s not about doing an American accent, it’s about being American. So obviously there’s very kind of finessing of the actual accent, but it’s more about embodying it and being American.
3. Rush Loves His ’80s Pop Music
Infusing the show with a little humor is Rush’s delight in ’80s pop music. When his car CD player cooperates (it tends to skip), Rush just wants to listen to a song he can sing along to, executive producer Jonathan Levine told Entertainment Weekly:
To him, life is like a pop song, and if he could just sing along and put the roof down on his Mercedes and just blast some Debbie Gibson—that is where he’s happiest… And I think it makes sense for his character, because all he cares about is the high points, and a good pop song is just kind of all high points. Even a bad pop song is that.
Levine Really Wanted Harry Hamlin to Play Rush’s Father
Harry Hamlin will play Rush’s father Dr. Warren Rush, who makes his first appearance in episode three. Levine had been a huge fan of Hamlin’s since he starred on L.A. Law. Rush shares the same casting director Carrie Aduino as AMC’s Mad Men, which Hamlin recently recurred on, and Levine asked her if his show could get Hamlin as well, he told Entertainment Weekly.
I was like, ‘Is there any chance we could get Harry Hamlin? Because I loooove Harry Hamlin.’ That is sort of a real dream for me.
Rush will have to confront his father about their past problems, which will prove difficult since Warren has remarried and started a new family in the past six years.
USA Network Goes Dark Again With ‘Rush’
Bright colors and lighter fare shows have been a staple of USA Network. The cable channel looked to change that last year with Graceland and are doing it again with Rush (and other new show Satisfaction). Both shows have characters who use hard drugs, partake in promiscuous sex and simply have a darker color scheme to their shots.
Despite USA’s push toward the edgier dramas, Levine told TVGuide.com that he still had his doubts about whether the network would pick up his show:
When they were interested in it, I think we were really surprised and I think we were all a little worried because sometimes you can find yourself in a situation where people are saying they want to do something and when push comes to shove, they don’t want to do it. [They] have never told us to dial anything back. In fact, I think that they want us to push the envelope.