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Eric McCormack: A long way from Will Truman

Eric McCormack in

Eric McCormack in "Perception" Photo Credit: "PERCEPTION"

It’s pretty clear from the first minutes of any episode of “Perception,” Eric McCormack’s TNT whodunit about a neuroscientist working with the government to solve crimes, that you’re not just watching an extension of “Will and Grace.”

McCormack’s Dr. Daniel Pierce is a smart, flawed and emotionally distant protagonist in the mold of Adrian Monk, nothing like the clean-cut, quippy lawyer Will Truman that he played on the award-winning sitcom.

Pierce is a flawed lead, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which leads to hallucinations that help give him a unique perspective on crimes.

amNewYork spoke with McCormack about the series. Season 2 premieres Tuesday night.

What’s going on with Daniel this season?
He’s on his meds in the beginning of the season, which allows him to be a little bit more bold with his personal life. So he’s dating the therapist that got him healthy again. Not a great idea, since she looks exactly like the woman he’s been fantasizing about for 25 years.

That’s got to be odd, right?
I love that because in the second episode, it’s got us into this whole debate about if your fantasy woman could be made flesh, would that make it better? Or is she better off as a full-on figment of your imagination?

How does Daniel’s condition affect the show?
I think people like to see someone other than a perfect hero solving mysteries. I think we’ve had that in the last 10 years [with] “House” and “Monk.”

How are you handling all the medical jargon dialogue?
I used to think when I watched “ER” that I would never want to have to memorize the crap that those people have to memorize. But I actually love it now. … I find it actually easier to pontificate about neuroscience in a scene than I do trying to remember the names of the suspects. It’s way harder!

Are you getting a lot of crossover fans from “Will and Grace”?
I get a lot of tweets just saying, “I fully expected to be watching Will for an hour, but in five minutes I was just watching Daniel Pierce.” … It’s a journey where you really have to say, “Please come with me on this,” and I hope that I did my job.

The second season of “Perception” premieres Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on TNT.


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