Hank is a rising star in the New York City medical community, until he loses everything fighting for the life of a patient. With his career stalled and his personal life in shambles, Hank is in need of a new beginning. That’s where his younger brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) steps in. Fed up with Hank’s personal pity party, he convinces Hank to join him on a last-minute trip to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend. When the brothers crash a party at the home of a Hamptons billionaire and a guest falls critically ill, Hank saves the day. His dramatic medical rescue draws attention from the crowd. Inadvertently, Hank becomes the hot new “concierge doctor” in town. With encouragement from Evan and an ambitious young woman who volunteers to be his physician assistant he decides to stay in town solving medical crises and helping those in need. Hank is back to doing what he does best. And now he’s reinvented himself as the Hamptons’ hottest new “doctor-in-demand.”
Now it can be told: the mega-rich get sick and hurt too. It's just that their illnesses, injuries, and conditions are a lot weirder and more exotic than those suffered by mere mortals. At least that's the message delivered in Royal Pains, USA Network's medical-comedy series offered here with all 12 first-season episodes (plus bonus features) on three discs. Mark Feuerstein plays Hank Lawson, a Manhattan physician who unfairly loses his hospital job, and soon thereafter his gold-digging fiancée, when a powerful trustee dies on his watch. Enter younger brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo), a nerdy accountant and shameless social climber, who enlists Hank to help him crash a fancy soiree in the Hamptons; Hank saves the life of a partygoer, which leads to more and more work, and all of a sudden he's a "concierge" doc at the service of people whose wealth is matched only by their vanity and acquisitiveness.
Hank soon establishes himself as not only a remarkably creative doctor (since he makes house calls, he's often obliged to be a medical MacGyver, jerry-rigging equipment out of whatever's lying around) but a man of unimpeachable ethics--a real rarity in this crowd. He also finds Divya (Reshma Shetty), an eager and reliable assistant, and Jill (Jill Casey), a fellow doctor and potential new love interest who seems to be a real person. That leaves the patients, and therein lies the rub. How much can we really be expected to care about a ballerina who's allergic to pizza, a woman whose jealous husband has had a tracking device implanted in her chest, a scientist nipped by a shark kept in a tank in some rich dude's basement, a billionaire with substance abuse problems, or a frivolous socialite whose maid becomes ill during her dog's "bark mitzvah"? Sure, some of these bits are amusing, but they seem at odds with Hank's utter seriousness about his duties. What's more, while Hank is an appealing protagonist, his relationship with Jill is uninvolving, and the snobby Divya and always-on-the-make Evan both wear thin in a hurry. Royal Pains has a lot of potential--let's hope it's more fully realized in subsequent seasons. --Sam Graham