"We made fun of it. We called it 'the spark' because in the directions there would always be these moments and it would be written in: 'and with a spark.' And we're sitting there as actors going, 'OK, how should we do this spark here," Shetty jokes to TVGuide.com.
Shetty's on-screen alter ego, Divya, has had no such difficulty finding "the spark" with recent Hank Med client and do-gooder documentarian Adam (Patrick Heusinger). After meeting in last week's episode (and spending the night together in Hamptons Heritage Hospital) the only thing standing between them is one big thing: Divya's impending nuptials to Raj.
"Adam is the epitome of what Divya's always been looking for. He's the guy who moves her heart more than anything," Shetty says. "With Adam, Divya is definitely capable of having a spark with someone and it was there."
Adam is also the epitome of Divya's long struggle to accept her arranged marriage and her future with Raj in London, thousands of miles away from her family and from Hank Med's home base. Shetty recalls a particular scene from last season when Divya forcefully kissed her soon-to-be fiancé in search of that special something.
"Lots of people have interpreted it in different ways, but the way I interpreted it was that after the kiss, I realized that's the one thing that myself and Raj don't have," she explains. "It's that spark that's just not there."
It remains to be seen whether Divya will embrace or ignore her feelings for Adam. Shetty says Divya's choice about whether or not to marry Raj, and possibly whether or not to stay in the Hamptons, will remain an open case past next week's summer season finale. (New episodes return in January.)
Making Divya's decision that much more difficult is the pressure from her family.
"Here's this woman who really hasn't been given the choices. Her parents didn't allow her to choose what she wanted to do," Shetty says. "Now, she's again in this situation of should I marry this guy? He's perfect in every way and it's the life that my parents have instilled in me that I should have, but is that what I want?"
For the British-born actress from Indian parents, the storyline hits very close to home.
"It's so ironic, especially for first-generation [individuals] whose parents come to America and the West to provide their kids with opportunities they didn't have, yet they still want their kids to have the same safety structure that they grew up with," she says. "It's really cool to live that character because it's my life too. I'm first generation, so I feel everything she does."
Shetty is thankful the writers have allowed her to explore Divya's emotional side, beyond the put-together, intelligent and meticulous woman whom fans have seen since Day One.
"I'm so excited that people like her character so much and appreciate her for just being her. It's not just the cultural thing about, here is an Indian character on the screen," she says. "It's that they like Divya and they want what's best for Divya."
Royal Pains airs Thursday at 10/9c on USA.