Finally, Dr. Gregory House makes someone mad enough to
Not known for his bedside manner, the typically curt medic (played by Hugh
Laurie) earns a new enemy in the police detective (guest star David Morse) he
treats as a six-episode "House" arc starts tomorrow night at 9 on Fox/5.
Seeking help at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital for an apparent
infection, the cop is enraged by House's standard behavior. He soon gets the
means to even the score, and House gets an education in rubbing somebody the
wrong way - not that it will change him, or he wouldn't be House.
Most recently a series star in "Hack," soft-spoken Philadelphia resident
Morse knows medical drama, having been on board for the whole six-year run of
"St. Elsewhere" in the 1980s.
"We had the largest audience in our last season that we'd ever had," he
recalls. "I felt what we did, in a way, was to prepare audiences for shows like
'ER.' They took it in their direction and had great success with it.
Roots in "St. Elsewhere"
"One of the things 'St. Elsewhere' did was to push the boundaries of
storytelling, and I feel series like 'House' have benefited. That show is
pushing the edges in its own way with the medical stories it tells, and I think
it's great. The more we challenge ourselves as storytellers, the better the
stories are going to be."
With his recent run in feature films from "The Green Mile" to "16 Blocks,"
Morse wasn't looking for television work, but he knew "House" creator-producer
David Shore from "Hack."
"I don't tend to watch anything except news and some sports, but when I
started telling people 'House' was interested in me, they went, 'Oh, my gosh,
it's my favorite show! You've gotta do it!' I said, 'Well, OK. I'll talk to
Not only did Morse do that, he began watching the series and liked what he
saw. "I watched this guy getting really cranky with people who looked like
interns following him around, and I thought, 'Are they really getting away with
this?' I developed an opinion about the guy, and it's been kind of fun to get
to express that."
Laurie as inspiration
British talent Laurie evidently provides immediate inspiration. "He's
terrific," Morse says, "not just as an actor, but also as a person. He'll
always be the heart of that show. Everyone there, including the crew, loves him
and has great respect for him. There's no ego; it's just about getting in
there, having fun in the scenes and letting the characters live. As an actor,
you can't ask for more than that."
As Dr. Jack Morrison on "St. Elsewhere," Morse was the image of
righteousness, but he has played several devious turncoats since. "It's what
all actors face," he reasons of the "House" stint that makes him nasty again.
"When I was doing 'St. Elsewhere,' I played nice and sensitive, and I couldn't
get a break from that for a long time. You start playing some bad guys, and
people think you'll always be that. I don't know if there's a way around it; it
just seems to go with the territory.
"In the conversation with [the 'House' producers], I expressed that
concern. I didn't want to just be a bad guy on the show. Their feeling was that
they wanted someone who was the equal of House, somebody who could really
stand toe to toe with him and be as complicated, as lonely and as obsessed with
his work. He 'gets' who House is on all levels and can really shake his
foundation. That was interesting to me."