The Life and Death of ‘Royal Pains’

Ryan Aday
royal pains

Royal Pains debuted on the USA network in June of 2009 and was one of several shows on the station that followed a similar theme: a character who is very good at something uses that skill to help on a different stage.  Burn Notice with super spy Michael Westen helped people with everyday problems. Psych‘s main character Sean Spencer used his amazing perception in helping the police solve crimes.  Legendary con-man Neal Caffery used his talents by working for the FBI in White Collar.  In Royal Pains, gifted ER physician Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) moved to the Hampton’s to work as a concierge doctor and assist people individually.

Dr. Lawson had been fired from a prestigious Manhattan hospital after he is blamed for the death of a hospital trustee.  In an effort to cheer him up, Hank and his brother Evan (Paul Costanzo) traveled to the Hamptons for a relaxing vacation and, while at a house party, saved the life of a supermodel.  The owner of the house was a German Nobleman named Boris (Campbell Scott) and he offered Hank the opportunity to stay at his guesthouse indefinitely if he could assist with medical situations.  Evan used his background in business to help Hank and they started “Hank Med”, a full-service personal doctor for residents of the extremely wealthy community.  They hired Divya Katdare (Reshma Shetty) as a Physicians Assistant and Hank Med became a success.

The estate at Shadow Pond is where Hank and Evan are allowed to live and is later gifted to Evan by Boris

Along the way, the Lawson’s father Eddie (Henry Winkler) appeared as a recurring character.  Evan meets and marries Paige (Brooke D’Orsay) and Hank has an on and off relationship with Jill Casey (Jill Flint) and, in the epilogue for the series, they are married. When business gets too big, Hank Med hires Dr. Jeremiah Sacani (Ben Shenkmen) to help cover the load and keep up with increased demand.

Paige, Evan, Divia, and Divya were the heart of the Hank Med family

Royal Pains lasted for 8 seasons on the USA Network.  When it debuted it was among the highest rated cable shows drawing over 7 million viewers at its peak.  Airing along with Burn Notice, it made USA Network the most watched cable channel on Thursday nights.  The series was created by Andrew Lenchewski and John P. Rogers.

Towards the end, Royal Pains dealt with dwindling ratings and seemed to have a hard time finding new places to take the story.  The final couple of seasons it averaged under 2 million viewers per episode.  It also struggled with legal issues.  In 2010, Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker of the Star Wars prequels) and his brother brought a lawsuit against the USA Network.  The suit claimed that the two had pitched an idea for a show called Housecall about a concierge doctor who catered to the rich and famous back in 2005.  After a series of back and forth legal victories for each side, the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Christensen sued Royal Pains for stealing the idea for a concierge doctor to the rich and famous

Royal Pains died July 5, 2016.  It is survived by a cast and crew that spend 8 years bringing Hank Med to cable television and now looks to lend their skills to other endeavors.  Feuerstein has secured a role in the FOX’s returning Prison Break. Costanzo and Shenkmen have been cast for the new HBO series The Night Of.  Shetty will play alongside Dermot Mulroney in the new CBS show Pure Genius.  Having done several movies along the way, Campbell Scott will appear in the upcoming feature film A Long Time for Lovers.  D’Orsay had a recurring role on Two and a Half Men concurrent to Royal Pains and stars in the 2016 film The Five Wives and Lives of Melvyn Pferrberg. Aside from capitalizing on his Fonzie fame, Winkler will star in the upcoming show You Know Nothing.  Flint left the show before her final season return and will continue with her role on NBC’s The Night Shift.

Prior to its death, the Royal Pains cast gave the fans one final message summing up the series:

Ryan Aday
Ryan is a former college athlete with a degree in Communication from Point Loma University. He is also a 5-time Game Show Contestant (Incl. Wheel of Fortune) and decorated fantasy football player (Fantasy Football Evolution National Champion Runner-Up). Mr. Aday is kind to animals.
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