Stephanie Szostak, Matt Passmore
Would you risk your marriage to save it?
That's the tagline to USA's new drama Satisfaction (10/9c, USA), which producers have described as a "post-modern love story." What does that mean? Well, escorts for one.
Married for 18 years with a 16-year-old daughter, Neil (Matt Passmore) and Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) have hit a wall in not only their marriage, but professional lives. After one helluva day at his tedious investment banking job, Neil discovers Grace having sex with an escort (Blair Redford), unbeknownst to her. But instead of confronting his wife about it, he (sort of accidentally) becomes one himself and suddenly finds renewed meaning in life.
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"The love story really comes out of a couple that have been married for a long time and haven't been happy for a while, have lost touch with themselves and with each other," Passmore tells TVGuide.com. "As the series progresses, even though they do it in very unconventional ways and in ways we might think that that's the opposite of a love story, they really are striving to get back in touch with themselves and back with each other."
Passmore stresses that Neil and Grace still love each other and neither wants to break up. The escort element is not a catalyst for ending their marriage, but saving it. "It'd be very easy for him to check out, but Neil is a doer," the Glades alum says. "He really makes a huge change in his life when he realizes just how unsatisfied he is. Even when his life is thrown upside-down and he realizes his wife has a male escort, he still doesn't give up. He doesn't say, 'That's it! It's all over!' He says, 'Why?' and goes to find out. And Grace in her own way as well — she's not checked out. She's not saying, 'I don't want to be with this man anymore.' We're still going at this."
The show will flash back throughout the pair's marriage to happier and difficult times that have led to this rut. In the present, Grace will remain in the dark about Neil's moonlighting sex-capades, not to mention his knowledge of her own, for the time being, which Passmore believes will only magnify her drive to reignite the spark in their marriage. "Grace really starts to fight," he says. "She realizes she gave up a lot and sacrificed a lot and she's doing something about that as well [to] try and find satisfaction."
But how long can it go on for? The state of their relationship notwithstanding, Grace's escort is, suffice it to say, not too keen on Neil encroaching on his livelihood and clientele. "It always runs that fine line of becoming quite dangerous because now they've got these other people in their lives and they're walking a tight rope of a web of little white lies, big and small," the actor says.
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That danger, though, and the various surprises along the way of their moral experimentation are what Passmore hopes will not only keep viewers hooked but stir new conversations about some taboo hot topics.
"He's finding out things from choices that we'd all question. There are some really surprising, positive things that are coming out of these experiences, which surprises him as well," he says. "It's kind of a bizarre thing — coming out of being with a woman and understanding your wife better, but it can happen."
Satisfaction premieres Thursday at 10/9c on USA. Find out why its our editors' pick below.
Additional reporting by Robyn Ross