Outside, it’s a cool mid-October day in Albuquerque, N.M., but inside, it’s all Texas for visiting press. NBC’s new medical drama “The Night Shift” is in production for its 10 p.m. Tuesday premiere, and the financially strapped San Antonio Memorial Hospital has come to life inside a soundstage.
Created by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, “The Night Shift” focuses on Dr. TC Callahan (Irish actor Eoin Macken), who has just finished three grueling tours of duty as a combat surgeon in Afghanistan. He lands in San Antonio, along with best pal Topher (Ken Leung), an ER specialist who helped soldiers injured in battle, and Army doctor protégé Drew (Brendan Fehr).
TC’s new boss on the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift is his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint), whose new fiance, trauma surgeon Dr. Scott Collins (Scott Wolf), arrives from Dallas for a visit and sticks around for a while on the day shift.
Also on the team are new doctors Paul (Robert Bailey Jr.) and Krista (Jeananne Goossen), psychiatrist Dr. Landry de la Cruz (Daniella Alonso), and seasoned nurse Kenny (JR Lemon).
Presiding over the facility is Michael Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez), who works the administrative side of medicine – and frequently works TC’s last nerve.
And, according to TC’s real-life alter ego, that’s not especially hard to do.
“He’s actually dark,” said Macken, settled into a couch in a lounge that features a basket of stuffed animals (Lemon and Fehr, in particular, seemed to enjoy a little furry cuddle during some group interviews). “I like the darkness part of it. He’s actually a deeply flawed character.
“He’s quite emotive, but when he is, it’s quite extreme. He’s got this disruption. There’s a very fragmented psyche, which is fun, but he’s also quite charismatic, so I’m not walking around playing this morose guy. So he’s actually quite fun.
“A lot of it comes from his past, to do with family and relationships. For TC … every single person he saves becomes a very personal project, because he has to save everybody.
“In a way, doing that abdicates him of any kind of guilt he has from aspects of his past, which makes him a wonderful doctor but makes everything very extreme. It can be tiring, but it also means there are a lot of places to go with it, which is fun.”
If TC didn’t come with enough baggage, he has to watch his ex-love frolic around with her new beau – right in his hospital.
“His personal life is actually quite destructive,” said Macken. “I think his personal life is very selfish. TC and Jordan’s relationship is … former relationship … but still, technically, it’s a relationship … from TC’s point of view, it’s a very positive thing; from Jordan’s point of view, it’s a very negative thing.”
Wolf, who appears in four episodes, likes the idea of finding his guy’s Achilles’ heel.
“He’s supremely confident as a physician,” Wolf said. “He’s at his best there. He knows exactly what he’s capable of and how to control that environment.
“But you also see him in a relationship. He’s doing OK, but there’s no such thing as absolute control. I suppose you can have a God complex in a relationship, but it’s not going to go well.”
“Which one do you think wins?” said Flint. “(The relationship stuff) is not over the top. Any of the loving you see is usually outside … except for that one scene, but it’s not too much.”