Neal Baer: Patrick Wilson’s ‘A Gifted Man’ Will Get Splashy Season Finish

Jennifer Ehle, Patrick Wilson CBS photo by Heather Wines

Patrick Wilson’s “A Gifted Man” is gearing up to finish its first season with a bang.   They’re about to shoot the final episode, according to Executive Producer Neal Baer.  And, he lets us know, the last two episodes should be especially satisfying for those viewers who’ve embraced the ambitious series that’s attempted to meld medicine and spirituality.

Expect Broadway’s Tammy Blanchard to make an important appearance — and Eriq LaSalle’s role to be key.

Baer says the show — which changes time slots to 9 o’clock Fridays starting Feb. 17 — will revisit questions about the nature of surgeon Michael Holt’s (Wilson) late ex-wife, Anna (Jennifer Ehle).  Is she a ghost?  His conscience?  Why is she there?  “Then you’re going to see something pretty emotionally moving involving the character.  Patrick has a big scene, a wonderful scene,” Baer says.  “We’ve been very careful, up ’til now, that nobody ever sees him in conversation with Anna, other than a word or two, but Eriq La Salle catches him in a screaming match with her, and from his point of view, Patrick is just yelling in the air.”

That will lead to issues being addressed, explains the distinguished writer/pediatrician, whose credits include “ER” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

He adds, “I love doing this through Eriq La Salle.  It’s a wonderful deja vu.  He hasn’t aged in 18 years.  He looks the same as when I first saw him in 1994.  I said, ‘Eriq, have I been here before?'”  However, Baer stresses that La Salle’s current character, psychiatrist Edward “E-Mo’” Morris, is nothing like his former TV doctor.  When Baer talked to La Salle about “A Gifted Man,” the actor said, “‘Don’t make him anything like Peter Benton.'”  La Salle also directed the Feb. 17 episode that features Christina Milian.  “A Gifted Man” may not surmount its ratings struggles, but no one can say they’re not making a worthy effort.

Neal Baer

MEANWHILE:  Baer’s dividing his time right now between multiple writing chores.  His and Jonathan Greene’s just-released (ital.) Kill Switch (end ital.) page-turner is already earmarked for the big-screen with Katherine Heigl attached to play the heroine, forensic psychiatrist Claire Waters.  Baer says, “We’re working on it.  Kevin McCormick, who just finished a film (“Gangster Squad”) Sean Penn and Emma Stone is going to produce.  It’s going out to studios and companies.  The movie business takes time, you know.  That’s what I like about TV.  A script I wrote last week is going to be shot next week and it will be on in February.”

Ironically, Baer and Greene originally wrote “Kill Switch” as a movie, “about 10 years ago.  We wrote about a 35-page outline, and worked on it for a couple of months.”  Time passed.  “I was busy doing ‘SVU’ and life…a couple of kids were born…”  The outline literally sat in a bottom desk drawer until Baer’s literary agent let him know she was looking for a medical thriller.  Now he and Greene are into writing the second book of their three-book deal.

This is the second time Baer’s been involved in a project that lay dormant for a decade before coming to life.  The first was a drama Michael Chrichton had written based on his experiences while a med student at Harvard in 1969 that “was in a trunk in Steven Spielberg’s office for 10 years, as I heard the story,” relates Baer.  Baer, a later Harvard Med grad, wound up updating that script — “ER.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

5 thoughts on “Neal Baer: Patrick Wilson’s ‘A Gifted Man’ Will Get Splashy Season Finish

  1. Grace

    I LOVE this show and I so, so hope it gets picked up for another season. If you love it too, PLEASE pass the word around everywhere you can.
    If you don’t watch it, PLEASE give it a try?
    It airs on CBS Friday night at 8 p.m. EST but will move to 9 p.m. EST on Feb. 17th will all new episodes. (5 in a row I believe).
    The show also star Margo Martindale from JUSTIFIED and she is wonderful in this, as is the entire cast.
    THANK YOU for giving A GIFTED MAN a chance. :)

  2. teresa

    I hear it is being cancelled. Typical, the majority of people arent evolved enough to like it, and that includes the people at CBC.

    Sign me,
    Sick and tired of having great shows pulled and stupid ones left on.

  3. Corren

    I love a gifted man in a way that I can’t even express, please don’t cancel it. Do you know that the audience of this show in brasil is extremely hight???? this people in Brasil and more 8 million american people including me are expecting and hoping for more one season !!!!!!!!

  4. Kim

    I absolutly love this show. It’s just fantastic and very interesting to watch. I really hope it goes on to do more season’s. The characters are just perfect and the whole story of Dr. Holt is amazing. If you don’t watch this show just give it a chance. I can assure you that you will love it !!!

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