As USA Network’s series ROYAL PAINS returns for its third season, we find out what is next for the Lawsons, Hank and Evan, and their father Eddie Lawson, last seen headed off to prison. The show picks up nine months later to see the aftermath of so many momentous changes in their lives. But as the Lawsons discover, no matter how many surprises and curve balls that life throws at them, they are still bound by their enduring love and intertwined destinies.
What can you tell us about the one year time jump and how will this effect the various relationships on the show between the characters?
Andrew Lenchewski: Well, it’s not quite a year. I mean what we’re doing is the first two seasons were in one summer and now we’re jumping to the next summer. So we’re going about a little under a nine-month time jump from the end of Summer 1 of the Royal Pains life to the beginning of Summer 2.
Michael Rauch: That’s been one of the challenges and one of the fun parts for us — how do you keep the characters in larger arcs going even though there’s been basically a bunch of seasons that we haven’t played and we haven’t seen and the audience hasn’t seen. It’s one of the reasons why we ended Season 2 the way we did with a lot of people going away so we could come back in Season 3 with getting into what happened while they were gone. A continuation of some storylines and some surprises that happened in the time we didn’t play.
The first season seems the theme seemed to feel like forgiveness and the second season had a theme that felt like trust. Does this third season have an overall arcing theme?
Andrew Lenchewski: One of the other ways to look at the first 2 seasons that we’ve talked about is the first season being about the absence of family and the second season being about the presence of family. And it feels like a big theme in Season 3. At least in the episodes we’ve broken and written and shot so far, it’s the importance of family. We’ll see how that manifests in the Boris/Marissa – the pregnant Marissa storyline and how it manifests with Hank and Evan and them going down to visit Eddie in Florida and meeting yet another member of their family they haven’t had contact with in a very long time. Ultimately, and most importantly, the importance the family bond between Hank and Evan. We played a little bit of conflict between them at the end of Season 1 but it’s going to be a much bigger part of Season 3. There’s a divisive issue that sort of materializes between them that’s going to drive their arcs for the entire summer season and then extend into the winter season as well.
Can you talk about some of the upcoming guest starts and the role that they play, like Shiri Appleby and Julie Benz?
Michael Rauch: Yes. We’re really excited about the guest stars we’ve had up to this point. We have Natalie Zea in the first episode. We have Greg Jennings playing himself, the Green Bay Packer wide receiver, in the second episode. We have Shiri Appleby and Jennifer Ferrin, who play best friends who open up an organic house – home product store in the third episode. And the amazing and legendary Ed Asner in the fourth and fifth episode and Julie Benz and Camille Chen in the sixth episode and some fun casting that’ll be announced this week for our seventh and eight episodes. So all actors who are amazing have these great careers and all who have fit really well into the tone of our show — and are definitely helping to make the episodes even better!
Will this season staying exclusively in the Hamptons or will Hank be able to venture out a bit more?
Andrew Lenchewski: No. He’ll definitely venture out. I mean it’s very much a show about the world of the Hamptons and so the large majority of our storytelling takes place there. And as we have in the previous two seasons, we will go a couple of times to New York City to take advantage of New York City’s proximity both to us in real life and to our characters in the story we’re telling. Then, as with last season where we went away for a couple of episodes to Puerto Rico which we shot to be Cuba, we went away for a couple of episodes in story to Florida this season so that Hank and Evan could visit Eddie in prison. But, in reality, we actually shot those episodes here in New York. But Matt Penn who directed those episodes did a fantastic job of making New York look like Florida. So those will be some of the little road trips that we’ll see Hank and the other characters take in this season.
We spoke a little bit about guest stars. You’ve had some previous storylines in the past. Are you going to be bringing around any people who have previously been on the show?
Michael Rauch: Absolutely. We have some of our regular guest stars, like Campbell Scott coming back as Boris, and Christine Ebersole coming back as Ms. Newberg. We have the amazingly talented Brooke D’Orsay who comes back as Paige and as a special treat, Meredith Hagner who plays Libby is just finished an episode as well. So a lot of the kind of reoccurring ROYAL PAIN characters that we’ve had in Season 1 and Season 2 are coming back for Season 3 also.
Is there anyone that you’re trying to get as a guest start that you can share?
Andrew Lenchewski: Yes, a couple people. For the male guest star category, Michael and I are big fans of JB Smoove and we’ve been chasing him for quite a while. Hopefully we’ll find the right role for him at the right time and we can make that work. And in terms of female guest stars, we’re also equally big fans of Jordana Spiro and hopefully we will find an opportunity to get her on the show too. We think she’d really fit great with the tone of the show and really mesh with our existing cast very well.
Can you tell me what some of your personal favorite things about the show are for each of you?
Andrew Lenchewski: Yes. I mean, for me, it’s the fact that we’re shooting a show in the — and I think I can speak for Michael on this too — we’re both from New York and so to be able to film in areas that we knew growing up and areas where we frequent now since we both live here as well is an enormous treat. And I think more important than that is just the people that we work with. We have an incredible cast. They’re just gentlemen and ladies and they’re incredible professionals and they’re all very down to earth and incredibly easy to get along with. And our crew, I would say the same things about every single one of them. They’re all very hard working, very dedicated to the show and so much fun to be around on a daily basis. So I think those and of course our writers, which are in LA are an incredibly bright, experienced, sophisticated group who are really the engine that drives our storytelling. So we’re out there to spend as much time with them whenever we can and they come here for their episodes. So it’s really the place and the people to sum it up that make it the experience that it is.
Is there anything unexpected that the viewer who normally watches wouldn’t expect that’s going to happen that you can share a little bit about or tease us a little bit about?
Michael Rauch: There’s a really fun twist on the Boris medical storyline that we have coming toward the end of the summer season. That’s about all we can tell you about that.
How many seasons do you think ROYAL PAINS or would you like to see ROYAL PAINS go on for?
Michael Rauch: I’m not sure there’s a number that high. We would love the show to run for as long as we feel we can make a fun good show that the audience wants to watch!
And with those teasing tid-bits to share and excited optimism about the upcoming season, fans will just have to tune-in and see for themselves what is upcoming for Hank, Evan, Jill, Divya, Eddie and Paige. It is sure to be another enticing summer of fun in the sun and lots of family and relationship surprises. ROYAL PAINS returns Wednesday, June 29th at 9:00PM on USA Network.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).