Described by some as "Rescue Me for the ambulance-driving set," TNT's Saved (premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET) stars Tom Everett Scott as Wyatt Cole, a paramedic dealing or not with a domineering father, a lady doc "ex," and the dilemma of whether to give med school that one last long-after-college try. Oh, and he also has a gambling problem, one so bad it puts his self-stitching expertise to good use. TVGuide.com talked to Scott about exploring such dark yet compelling territory.
TVGuide.com: I watched the premiere episode, or at least 90 percent of it, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Tom Everett Scott: Back up how come you only watched 90 percent of it? How did you not watch the last few minutes?
TVGuide.com: Don't tell me: Your character dies in the last scene?
Scott: Boy, oh boy... you're really going to be surprised. I do a crazy hula dance at the end. There, I told you.
TVGuide.com: How are you summing up this series for people?
Scott: I would say that it's about these adrenaline-junkie-type paramedics who... you know, it's hard for me to sum it up, because it's hard for me to be objective about it. I think the show has a certain sense of velocity there's quite a bit going on, and it's a little frenetic but then it has some really great moments where it slows down and interesting things happen between the characters. I was sucked into the idea of how Wyatt has a really hard time dealing and communicating with the people in his personal life.
TVGuide.com: He's definitely a guy with issues parental, esteem, intimacy....
Scott: Right. Like, with the intimacy thing, he has a real problem in his personal life, but he's totally open and available with these strangers who are his patients. That's a very interesting duality. His story is set in this medical-drama kind of world, and there's also some dark humor, too. It kind of reminded me of M*A*S*H when I saw the pilot.
TVGuide.com: I love that dark humor and the overall grittiness to the show. There's a palpable realness to it.
Scott: I like that, too.
TVGuide.com: What do you think of the camera technique they're using whenever a victim or do we call them "patients"?
Scott: It's funny because I have referred to them as victims sometimes, and the person playing the patient didn't really like it!
TVGuide.com: We get this quick little flash of what in their life led them to this tragic point.
Scott: Here at Saved we call that the "photomontage" which is a fancy way of saying "getting to know the character without laying a bunch of exposition into the dialogue." It's a very stylish and smart way for the writer to create that kind of exposition.
TVGuide.com: There is obviously the potential for Wyatt to get too dark. Is there anything you're doing to keep him on just this side of likable? Or is that even a concern of yours?
Scott: Um... I don't really want him to be that likable. The nice guys that I have played, I've found, are so much less interesting to play than a character like Wyatt, who's really unpredictable. I like playing somebody who's constantly trying to cover up what he's thinking and feeling.
TVGuide.com: Have you done any type of research with paramedics, or gamblers?
Scott: I did a lot of riding around in ambulances, talking to paramedics, trying to become very fluent in their medical doings because I want it to look real, I want it to look like I know what I'm doing. In any job I do, I don't want to look fake.
TVGuide.com: Something the pilot touches on is the little-known fact that ambulance services fight each for business, to get that next patient....
Scott: Yeah, I didn't really know that before I did this. I've learned a lot since doing this. Like, there are paramedics that are part of the fire department, there are paramedics that are part of a private ambulance company.... And an EMT is not a paramedic an EMT is basic life-support person, and a paramedic is an advanced life-support person.
TVGuide.com: How does one get recruited for those shows? Tell your manager to be on the lookout?
Scott: I think my manager and publicist know that I like poker and that I play it, and they got me in there. I also made some phone calls on my own behalf! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: You were on Celebrity Poker Showdown, but how would you have fared on Celebrity Cooking Showdown?
Scott: I would have burned whatever was being made. Unless it was breakfast food. I'm pretty good at breakfast food.
TVGuide.com: You make a mean frittata?
Scott: I wouldn't go that far.
TVGuide.com: Is it true you almost didn't get cast in That Thing You Do! because you look too much like Tom Hanks? What's the story there?
Scott: This is what Tom Hanks said to me. He said, "When you walked into the room I said, 'Whoa, there's me! That guy looks like me!'" He then went back to his hotel and said to [wife] Rita [Wilson], "Well, I think I found the guy, but he looks too much like me, and I just don't want to have to put up with that line of questioning." So while he was in the shower or something, Rita watched the tape and later told him, "You're crazy. This is the guy." Rita really helped me get that role.
TVGuide.com: Did you send her flowers or something?
Scott: I publicly thanked her not that that was what she was looking for. [Laughs] You're right, why didn't I just send her flowers?!
TVGuide.com: So, getting back to the part of Saved that I missed, does Wyatt mail in the med-school application?
Scott: [Evil laugh] What do you think? Do you think he wants to go to medical school?
TVGuide.com: I'm torn. As much I'd like to see him have that aspiration, I don't know if that's true to him.
Scott: There you go, my friend. You are going to do OK in this world. I'm proud of you. When I see you on the street? Big hugs.