Thanks to Royal Pains' beautiful beachside setting in the Hamptons, every episode feels like vacation and every location looks like paradise.
On Thursday's episode, airing at 10/9c on USA, the cast and crew take their love for the sun one step further and way down south when Hank (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan (Paulo Costanzo) travel to Cuba after Boris' health takes a turn for the worse.
This two-episode diversion out of the country, with Puerto Rico subbing for Cuba, may seem like an easy excuse for a paid vacation. However, Feuerstein says the exotic locale was instrumental in keeping the summer-set show on schedule after USA ordered 18 episodes for Season 2.
"To have good weather consistently in New York for six months is a great challenge, so we had to start shooting when there were no leaves on the trees in New York," he tells TVGuide.com. "We literally jumped into our second season by shooting episodes 4 and 5 first, and in Puerto Rico. It was chaotic to say the least, for the writers and the actors to dive in headlong into the middle and in another city."
"I think for a show that was less sure of itself, this could be a sign that, 'Oy, they're already jumping the shark. They're already trying to find a way to make it more interesting because they've exhausted everything in their hometown. They need to go to Cuba to change it up,'" Feuerstein says. "It's quite the opposite ... There's an incredible storyline that leads us to Cuba and it all ties in beautifully with the life that's going on back in the Hamptons."
Besides San Juan's scenery, architecture and food, Thursday's episode will welcome guest stars Ugly Betty's Tony Plana and Ana de la Reguera. The two add to the already impressive guest list this season, including Henry Winkler and Marcia Guy Harden, among others.
"All of the experience of having a season and a half under our belt gives us confidence and a certain amount of comfort in what we're doing," Feuerstein says. "But then to add these guest stars continually keeps us on our toes and raises our game and raises the level of the acting and the quality of the show as a whole."
For now, Feuerstein says he's happy to return to the stateside beaches of New York.
"While the people at CSI or NCIS are all shooting in abandoned warehouses and drug havens in the nether regions of urban sprawl, we find ourselves on golf courses and hotels and gorgeous homes and sitting by the pool," he says.