ROYAL PAINS: Mark Feuerstein provides a glimpse into what the show will offer this winter (2011)

The blue sky series about a concierge doctor catering to the rich and famous in the Hamptons, “Royal Pains” picks up right where it left off last summer:  Hank (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan Lawson’s (Paulo Costanzo) father Eddie (Henry Winkler) has stirred up a bit of trouble for the two brothers of Hank Med; their physician assistant Divya (Reshma Shetty) is on the verge of moving away; and Hank’s love life continues to create complications as his attention is pulled between his current girlfriend Emily (Anastasia Griffith) and his former girlfriend, Jill (Jill Flint).

In a recent conference call, Mark Feuerstein talked candidly about what is next for all these characters who are caught up in the drama unfolding at Hank Med.  Ever since their ne’er-do-well father Eddie Lawson arrived in town, the lives of Hank and Evan have been a non-stop roller-coaster ride of emotion and surprise; and this winter’s conclusion of the story-arc involving Eddie promises to only get bigger and more unexpected.

It is Mark’s own fault for voicing his concern that his character was getting too complacent, which resulted in Eddie being written in to spice things up for the Lawson brothers. Mark admitted that his character Hank tends to come across as perfect and he thought it would be fun to “put dirt under his fingernails or edge him up.”  Only too happy to comply, executive producer Michael Rauch dreamed up the perfect foil – Eddie Lawson, played brilliantly by Henry Winkler.  Eddie brings out the darker side of Hank, from under the controlled confident exterior.  Mark described it as, “You see rage, an adolescent anger that has not been able to resolve itself into adulthood because [Eddie] left us.”

After the big reveal that their father has been acting as a FBI informant against their benefactor Boris, Hank and Evan have a bit of an emotional journey ahead.  Even if Eddie survives his heart attack that does not necessary mean that Hank and Evan are ready to forgive him. As Mark humorously put it, “Will Eddie live or die after having a heart attack and, if he lives, will Hank and Evan kill him?”

In addition, there will be the issue of whether Eddie returned to be a part of his sons’ lives or just to save himself from a prison sentence.  Mark succinctly described it as:  how do Hank and Evan know if their father was simply desperate to save his own ass or genuinely trying to repair the damage he did to them as kids — and how much of either was the whole reason he came out here?  Mark further shared that the ultimate showdown will be between, “Evan, who thought [Eddie] had the best intentions and Hank, who thought he was full of shit and he’s coming here to manipulate and find a way to make money.”  Mark said that is the very question that will continue to unfold throughout the remainder of the season.

Talking about the complex relationship between Hank and Evan, Mark noted, “there’s a fluidity to the dynamic between older and younger brothers. Sometimes you’re the older brother and other times you’re the younger one. Hank may have been the younger brother when he was so angry and couldn’t forgive Eddie for things he did 20-25 years ago and Evan was the more mature one in that particular case.” However, the secret ingredient to “Royal Pains” is what Mark described as, “the fluid and ever-changing relationship [between Evan and Hank] on the show and that’s what keeps the audience guessing and keeps it real because that’s what happens between brothers.”

Then, in contrast to Hank’s love life which is entangled between Jill and Emily, Evan’s new romance with Paige is still going strong.  Mark was only too happy to share, “The romance budding between the two of them carried all the way through the end of the season is one of the most delicious, adorable, poignant relationships I have seen on television.” Mark was also effusive in describing Paulo and Brooke D’Orsay’s chemistry by revealing a teasing tid-bit, “You won’t be able to look away from them.”

As for what will become of Divya who is on the verge of leaving after marrying Raj, Mark cryptically revealed, “We will see that Divya’s heart is not necessarily in it, but maybe it will be? Or maybe there’s no hope for them.”  Matters of the heart will also play a prominent role this season as the Hamptons crew tries to figure out the best way to pursue their own personal happiness without rocking the boat at Hank Med too much.

Finally, talking a bit about his character Hank, Mark said that he is pleased to portray a romantic, dramatic, comedic and medical MacGyver all wrapped-up into one. In fact, it is Mark’s personal delight that he gets to portray the “high stakes emotion” each week in diagnosing and treating such a wide array of patients and still juggling his personal life involving his father, brother, Divya, Jill and Emily.

For those wondering if so many major storylines can be brought to a neat resolution by the end of the current season, Mark reassured that, “Every single one of the dangling threads that was left open-ended will be brought to fruition, carried out, or answered in some way and new great climactic questions will emerge.”

Be sure to tune in as “Royal Pains” returns from its mid-season hiatus on Thursday, January 20th at 9:00 p.m. on USA Network.

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