The Season 1 finale of "Perception" starring Eric McCormack airs on Monday, September 17. His role as Dr. Daniel Pierce is a far cry from McCormack's most well-known role, Will Truman on "Will & Grace." Pierce is a professor of neuroscience, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. But he has a deep understanding of human behavior and so is recruited by the FBI to help solve crimes.
Rather than approach the crimes from the perspective of evidence and forensics, Daniel uses his puzzle-solving skills, uncanny abilities to see patterns, and sometimes his own schizophrenic hallucinations to find the killers. In a recent exclusive interview, McCormack talked about what drew him to the role of Daniel and how he researched for the part.
Eric McCormack was drawn to Daniels intellectual passion
Daniel Pierce is a highly complex role and one that McCormack plays brilliantly. In some scenes, he is a completely lucid, brilliant teacher explaining the workings of the human brain to a lecture hall full of students. In the next, he is standing on top of a desk at the FBI office conducting an imaginary orchestra listening to classical music on his headphones, because that's the only thing that keeps him calm in stressful circumstances.
McCormack explained what drew him to the role. "I haven't seen anything like him. I really hadn't. First and foremost that he was a teacher, that he was a brilliant mind. I love the lectures. I love that what drives him is intellectual passion and a quest for understanding -- how we work, how we think. And underneath all that arrogance and bravado and intellectual superiority was a guy who's brain was absolutely his own worst enemy, a guy who at any moment might be a 180 degrees from the guy in the classroom."
To Daniel, solving crimes is just anther puzzle
One way Daniel keeps his mind occupied and the hallucinations at bay is by solving puzzles. His assistant Max Lewicki is constantly supplying him with crosswords and Sudokus as a distraction. But helping to solve the FBI's cases serves the same purpose. The actor stated, "We have something that was essentially a procedural show, but for him it was nothing to do with crime, it was nothing to do with forensics. It was everything to do with motivation and with solving a puzzle."
Eric McCormack did extensive research for the role
McCormack said he did an incredible amount of research for the role including talking to Michael Green, a professor of neuroscience at UCLA. He also read "Incognito," the book written by the show's consultant, David Eagleman. "[It] was not only great information, but it gave us a lot of story ideas. It represented to me a kind of book that Daniel would write, and the way he would make a subject that could be extremely hard to fathom like neuroscience into something that is everyday. That made the classroom seem interesting."
The show's star felt he had to dive deep into the world he was going to portray. He stated, "It's too important to not represent the community appropriately. There's such a stigma with regards, particularly, to paranoid schizophrenia. I thought it was a great opportunity for a guy that was a neuroscientist, for a guy that was an expert on the brain, to also be someone afflicted with it. We're showing another side. We're showing someone high functioning and another color to it."
Tune into the season finale of "Perception" on Monday, 9/17 at 10PM EST on TNT. And watch for Season 2 in 2013.
More from this contributor:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Daniel Pierce