Can, and should, this marriage be saved?
The question normally isn’t the central subject of a fictional television series, but it fuels USA Network’s seriocomic “Satisfaction.” Premiering at 10 p.m. Thursday, the show from “Suits” executive producer Sean Jablonski casts Matt Passmore (“The Glades”) as investment banker Neil Truman, whose displeasure with his life is stoked when he accidentally discovers his similarly unhappy wife Grace (Stephanie Szostak, “R.I.P.D.”) getting intimate with a male escort (Blair Redford, “Switched at Birth”).
“I was interested in doing something very different,” Passmore said, “away from the procedural world, and something that was much more character-based. This was a real blessing, and it comes at a time when USA is really experimenting with its brand. This show is not something I’ve ever seen on that network. It has a quirky sense of humor, but nothing like ‘Royal Pains’ or ‘Psych.’ This is new territory.”
After four seasons as self-confident, sometimes rebellious police detective Jim Longworth on “The Glades,” Australian native Passmore displays some of the same traits in the Atlanta-filmed “Satisfaction.” Tired of a long flight delay, Neil grabs the plane’s microphone to rally fellow passengers in protest … and at the office, he tells off his boss in front of co-workers.
“Coming from a character who was always a step ahead of everyone, it was really interesting to step into the shoes of someone who had come to a place in his life where he felt quite lost,” Passmore reflected. “He’s really starting to embark on a journey of identity, trying to find out what he truly wants in life and what happiness really means to him. It’s far beyond a midlife crisis; it really goes to the core of this guy’s being.”
Neil isn’t the only one in that situation, since his spouse also seeks renewed meaning in her life. “I had no idea where this was going to go when we finished the pilot,” co-star Szostak said. “We weren’t told that much, but we go deeper into the life of Neil and Grace together in the present. The pilot really deals with their separate journeys, with a lot of flashbacks, then we discover who they are in their everyday life. And it’s different than what I thought.”
The same degree of surprise holds true for Passmore, who reports “Satisfaction” will continue “down the road of the unknown, and where it will end, nobody knows. That’s really been the joy of playing this character. Now that he’s on this road of being true to himself, you open that bit of honesty in your life and it just rips you like a flood. It really takes over.”