"Will & Grace" star returns to TV in "Perception"

Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:19pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sometimes all it takes to solve a puzzle is a different way of looking at it.

Former "Will & Grace" actor Eric McCormack is hoping audiences will do just that when he returns to television next week, not as a witty gay lawyer but as an eccentric professor with paranoid schizophrenia.

"Perception", which debuts on July 9 (Monday) on the TNT network, sees McCormack playing lovable neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Pierce, who is recruited by the FBI to use his brilliant but delusional mind to help solve complex crimes.

McCormack describes Pierce and the new show as "'A Beautiful Mind' meets 'Columbo'" - a combination of the Oscar-winning movie about a mathematician and the TV detective series. Others have likened "Perception" to medical TV drama "House" for crime show enthusiasts.

Arrogant, outspoken and largely closed-off from other people, Pierce is a character who despite having a real job as a university professor can't help solving mysteries, whether it is a crossword puzzle or an unsolved crime.

Proud as he is of "Will & Grace" - a TV sitcom about a gay man and straight woman who are best friends - and its role in re-shaping the US cultural landscape in terms of gay acceptance, McCormack says that six years after the it ended, he is hoping audiences will accept him in a new light.

"Actors are supposed to show versatility, but you are saying to audiences 'you have lived with that guy on screen for eight years, and now I want you to live with this new guy.'"

"I can't expect everyone to go along with it, but I hope people will give it a try and see there is fun in the same actor creating something totally different," McCormack told Reuters.   Continued...

Actor Eric McCormack poses with his star on the red carpet with his wife Janet Leigh Holden and his son Finnigan during the 13th annual Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, October 16, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch