Why Watching "Complications" Shouldn’t Be That Complicated

Everyone has had a bad day every now and then. One of those days when you’ve just felt so beat down and dragged out that you can’t think of a single way to calm your nerves. What do you do when you’ve done everything you can?  Do you go home and relax with your family or call up your friends for a night on the town?  Do you just give up and quit?  We’ve all been at that stage where all we want to do is just find a nice quiet place and let it all out in some way, shape, or form.  We do it for a number of reasons: as a cry for help, to get the stress out, or simply to just be able to get on with our day until the next crazy thing happens that causes us to lather, rinse, and repeat that process of insanity.

In Complications, a new TV show from Burn Notice creator and executive producer, Matt Nix, Jason O’Mara (Life After Mars) stars as Dr. John Ellison, a disillusioned suburban ER doctor, whose days begin to look just like that as he strives to overcome the blow dealt to his family by the untimely death of his young daughter via cancer.  O’Mara shared that the fact his character is a doctor and wasn’t able to prevent that from happening has really affected him.  It leads him to make some of the choices he makes in the show such as saving a young boy from a drive-by shooting, killing one of the boy’s attackers in the process.  As things begin to escalate, Ellison learns that his actions have unwittingly thrown him into the middle of a gang war.  Forced to re-evaluate his beliefs and where exactly his outlooks on life and medicine stand, Ellison and others around him begin to wonder whether or not what he did was right.  “Sometimes, when people think you’re a doctor, they automatically think of you as a hero,” he says at one point in the series.
As he struggles with these emotions, he’s surrounded by a remarkable supporting cast in Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl) who plays Gretchen Polk, a colleague of Ellison’s who’s easily described as a quick-tempered wild card but who remains his biggest ally while events unfold.  In addition, we have Beth Riesgraf (Leverage) who plays Ellison’s wife, Samantha, a wife and mother who will stop at nothing to protect her family and who’s noticed the change in her husband since he saved the boy and is worried about what it means for their relationship.  “The show is about all of these things that come out of this one decision that this doctor makes,” Nix continues to say.  “The idea in this series is that nothing that anybody does comes without complications.”

At the Televisions Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2015 Press Tour in January, Nix shared the genesis of his idea for the series. Ten years ago, Nix was the victim of an invasion at his Echo Park home and he decided to confront the person, not realizing he was a gang member.  The guy ended up leaving, surprised he had been confronted and Nix followed in order to take down his license plate.  The burglar was found and arrested but when the police came to let Nix know, they told him that the headquarters of the gang was a few blocks away and that he should be careful.  A couple of months later, Nix made a joke at the trial, recounting that when the guy apologized for breaking into his home, he responded, “It’s ok, it happens.” While that was the end of that, it was also the beginning of Complications as Nix thought about creating a show exploring what would have happened had things not worked out for him.

USA Network appears to be continuing its trend of action-packed shows in the vein of Burn Notice, White Collar, and Covert Affairs with this series.  If you’re having reservations about the show or it’s premise, take Matt Nix’s own words into consideration and, “Think of it less like a medical drama and more like a crime thriller with a doctor in the lead.”  Having previewed the pilot, I have to say that the Nix is spot-on with his interpretation and that the episode is indeed thrilling.  While things seem to be getting difficult for Dr. John Ellison, those same obstacles are going to make Complications a gripping thrill ride for the rest of us.

Don’t miss the Series Premiere of Complications, Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 9/8c on USA.




  1. Thanks. I’m so happy that you got it and expressed the show’s psychology so eloquently. I am impressed and will look for your future reviews. Thanks for the backstory on Nix. I just discovered the show and can’t wait for Thursday.

  2. Thanks. I’m so happy that you got it and expressed the show’s psychology so eloquently. I am impressed and will look for your future reviews. Thanks for the backstory on Nix. I just discovered the show and can’t wait for Thursday.

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