The actor’s medic character, Hank Lawson — operator of HankMed, the elite and very personal service that typically caters to the area’s wealthy — often must improvise procedures on the seriocomic USA series, which has ended its fourth season but will return with the two-hour holiday movie “Off-Season Greetings” Sunday, Dec. 16.
“It fluctuates,” the friendly Feuerstein tells Zap2it about “Royal Pains” reviews by medical pros. “The ones who don’t really watch will make a comment like, ‘Oh, everything gets better by the end of an episode.’ We do have certain demands placed on us by being a blue-skies show on a blue-skies network, other than the very serious arc we had when Tom Cavanagh was on the show. His character died from lupus, and that was when the show said, ‘We are not afraid to show the truth.’
“Aside from that, yes, most people make it off the show in good shape,” Feuerstein allows, “but doctors who really watch have often said to me, ‘Those are real conditions that you are treating with great seriousness, in the same way that we deal with them.’ We have a doctor on the set, we have a doctor in the writers’ room and we have nurses on staff, all to make sure the medical aspect is treated with great accuracy.”
Which isn’t to say “Royal Pains” doesn’t take some dramatic license. “Once in a blue moon,” says Feuerstein, “Hank will be in such a emergency situation, I will ask, ‘Do I really need to take the time to put gloves on right now? I don’t think Hank is going to waste the 15 to 30 seconds it would take to put them on. He wants to get to work.’
“So you’ll occasionally see him without gloves, but beyond that, I don’t think anybody could really knock us. The conditions on the show are all based in genuine medical fact, and I think they’re pretty fascinating.”
The holiday-season “Royal Pains” offering will delve into Hank’s past and reunite him with former flame Jill Casey (Jill Flint), who has been away serving the medical needs of an African village, and the show definitely won’t end there. USA has renewed it not only for a fifth season next year, but also for a Season 6 beyond that.
Though he’s glad for the series’ upcoming December showcase, Feuerstein reasons, “At the very core, we are a summer show. And we will be back strong in June for another entire summer.”