Trauma - Cliff Curtis

After a three-month hiatus — near cancellation — NBC's Trauma is back (Monday at 9/8c) and creator Dario Scardapane promises a much different show. Star Cliff Curtis, who plays Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuk, told TVGuide.com how the next 10 episodes will dig deeper into the characters' development and what we'll learn about Rabbit's past as well as his future with co-worker, and new love interest, Nancy (Anastasia Griffith).

TVGuide.com: How will this half of the season be different from the first half?
Cliff Curtis: The first had a very big concept that involved a lot of action and extreme circumstances with explosions. As a format it didn't leave much time per episode for getting to know the characters. The next 10 episodes we go on a pretty broad arc in terms of each of the different characters [and] you see a lot more development in terms of who these people are.

TVGuide.com: What will we learn about Rabbit?|
Curtis: I thought it was a fun idea that I had this character that was a bit of a cliché ... in terms of masculinity. With guys like that I think it's a front, it's bravado, and it's a cover for a guy who hasn't figured out a bunch of things in life. He's fronting and the best he can do is be cool. That's what he's come up with in life and of course we see in the second half it served him pretty well in a lot of ways, but it starts to not work. Playing the macho guy starts to implode.

Trauma's Cliff Curtis discusses the "most fun character" he's ever played

TVGuide.com: How does he change in these next episodes?
Curtis: I was very happy to have the opportunity to get underneath the skin of the guy and see what happens to guys like that. They have to have more going on and he's got to grow, he's got to evolve, he's got to figure out that stuff doesn't work anymore. It works when you're 20-something but at some point the game's up.

TVGuide.com: Rabbit and Nancy finally get together, so how will their relationship progress?
Curtis: The thing about Rabbit I can't understand is how they do as well as they do in life. I don't know why women find guys like that so appealing, but these guys are really not good at relationships — that's not their strong suit. That's a really tricky thing because I don't think Nancy is that great with relationships, either. Two characters that are not good at relationships trying to figure out how to be in a relationship. That's what we're working on right now. Rabbit goes and makes a clear decision that he has to change his life, he has to figure something else out, and so he decides to really try to make this work. A number of episodes are about him trying to be a normal guy and trying to fit into a relationship. The tough thing about it is he's a bit of a jerk [and] he's the guy with the most issues on the show. ... If you start a relationship like that do you want him because he's the way that he is? Do you even want him to be normal? Or do you try to fix him?

TVGuide.com: You have a pretty emotional scene as well.
Curtis: Rabbit's range of emotions is between cool, cooler and coolest and so it's really good to see him lose his cool and feel some deeper emotions. It was really just a scene about a guy ... who's trying to hold back his emotions and doesn't want to reveal that he has those kinds of emotions and he's surprised that he does himself. I'm not a method actor so I don't torture myself — I try not to torture those around me, either. How does a grown man cry? It's really not something grown men want to do.

Catch up with full episodes of Trauma in our Online Video Guide

TVGuide.com: What's the most fun thing about playing Rabbit?
Curtis: He's really naughty and he just deals with certain situations in kind of an interesting way ... and hopefully he's not going to be predictable. He just loves life. It's so good to come into work every day and to be playing somebody who's an optimist. He hasn't got it all together but at least he knows that and he tries. He has a solid range from action and heroics to some comedic elements, being playful, some romantic sides, and then some emotional complexity.

TVGuide.com: Any guest-stars we can look forward to?
Curtis: Richard Kind from A Serious Man, he was great. He comes on as a patient. Then there's Wes Brown, who's playing Marissa's boyfriend who came over to us from True Blood.