David Morse, <EM>House</EM> David Morse, House

Dr. House isn't known for his bedside manner. In fact, he's better known for belittling his clinic patients because of lack of interest. But on tonight's new House (9 pm/ET, on Fox), the curmudgeonly doctor might have met his match in guest star David Morse's Detective Tritter, who has little sympathy for House and his cane, or his Vicodin addiction. TVGuide.com spoke with Morse, who has notably starred on such series as Hack and St. Elsewhere, as well as in many films, while he was making his six-episode House call.

TVGuide.com: How are you enjoying working on House? Are they treating you nicely over there?
David Morse: They are treating me exceptionally nice. It has been a very pleasant stay here with the House family.

TVGuide.com: What's it like working with Hugh Laurie?
That is probably the question that is asked of me more than anything else.

TVGuide.com: I'm sorry....
Morse: Oh, it's fine. People are just nuts about him. And I think there is a good reason people are so crazy about him. He's obviously incredibly talented and good at what he does, but he pretty much matches that as a person. He's really a good guy, and he's welcomed me here. Just getting to do the scenes with him is fun, because he's so good.

TVGuide.com: I just watched your first episode, and you are pretty good yourself.
Morse: Thank you.

TVGuide.com: What was it about this particular role that drew you back to TV?
Morse: I got a call while I was on vacation with my family from [executive producer] David Shore, who I had worked with on Hack. He and [executive producer] Katie [Jacobs] were developing this character to really take on House for a while, to really call him on his stuff, which has gotten to the point where it is illegal, really. They had to deal with that in a real way, and they wanted to create a character who could do that. It really was based on a conversation with them, talking about the character, combined with the people around me telling me I had to do this show!

TVGuide.com: You hadn't seen House?
Morse: No. I didn't know anything about it.

TVGuide.com: What do you think it is about Detective Tritter that enables him to stand up to House, who has been rather insensitive to pretty much everyone?
Morse: It is a combination of things. If you are a detective, you've seen a lot and experienced a lot, and there are not many people who can intimidate you. And what House does [in tonight's episode] is so offensive to me professionally, that it is not hard to stand up to him.

TVGuide.com: The last time we saw you on TV was in Hack. Were you worried about playing another cop? 
Morse: Yeah. But at a certain point I'm going to have to let that go, because the reality is that so much of today's movies and television involves law enforcement, it is hard to avoid these roles. To say that I'm not going to play a cop again, then I'm not going to work. That's just the reality. Look at all the shows out there for crying out loud, that have to do with it.

TVGuide.com: Was the fact that you knew David Shore a big selling factor for doing House?
Morse: It was the conversation. I was concerned not so much about playing the cop, but about playing a bad guy. I've played a lot of bad guys and I just didn't want to play a creep on the show that made House look great, to come in and be the guy with the mustache that everybody hates. They reassured me that that wasn't what they wanted to do. They had in mind somebody who stood on equal ground with House in terms of talent, commitment and single-mindedness, somebody who House had to respect. Tritter is tough, but he's ethical and he expects the same from anybody in any profession, especially a doctor. He's holding House to the standards he holds anyone else to.

TVGuide.com: Being from Philadelphia, is filming a show that takes place just outside of Philly, in Princeton, at all surreal?
Morse: No. We're on sets here. We look out the window and we're not seeing Princeton. I don't want to destroy anybody's illusion, but this is California. I did so many years on St. Elsewhere, which was supposedly in Boston. Part of the fun of doing movies [and shows] is creating that sort of illusion. But it is more fun to actually go to the places, like doing Proof of Life in Ecuador. To actually get to go to Ecuador and shoot in Ecuador, that's the real fun.

TVGuide.com: Is there any possibility that he will be back after the six episodes?
Morse: You never know. We talked about it. For this season, I don't think it is possible. They had plotted out the year and this character is just too much of a presence to casually put into a show.

TVGuide.com: You've done so many roles over the years. Is there anything you'd really still love to do?
Morse: I haven't been in a successful Broadway show, and I would like to do that. I've been in the biggest dramatic flop in the history of Broadway [the mid-'90s production of On the Waterfront] but I've never been in a successful Broadway show. The other thing is getting to do some more period things. Most of the things I do are fairly contemporary, this century or late last century. I'd love to do some other periods.

TVGuide.com: So when you were working St. Elsewhere, did you imagine that Howie Mandel would someday be hosting a game show like Deal or No Deal?
Morse: [Laughs] I don't know how you could possibly imagine that. He was the guy who would put things on his head and take the audience out of the theater and down the street. He was so unpredictable and irreverent. That is what his humor was. To have him be "that guy" now, good for him. That he's got that kind of success.

TVGuide.com: St. Elsewhere is coming to DVD on December, any especially fond memories?
Morse: It is more the feeling that we did something that for that time was pretty special and unique, and really made it possible for a lot of the shows that followed to be as good as they were. I think it really set a standard and pushed boundaries in a way that a lot of shows had never done before.

Fox's House is the cover story in the new issue of TV Guide. Pick it up now doctor's orders!

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