Is there a better cast on television than the collective one on USA’s Royal Pains? Not only does the chemistry between the show’s leads — Mark Feuerstein, Reshma Shetty, and Paulo Costanzo — sizzle like pepper-grilled filet mignon, but the extended family and guest stars all seem to blend seamlessly into the show’s breezy drama. In its casually efficient season premiere, Royal Pains not only checks in on the recovering-from-brain-surgery Dr. Hank Lawson (Feuerstein) and his newly-married brother Evan (Costanzo), but also welcomes back the brilliantly deadpan Dr. Jeremiah Sacani (a newly-bearded Ben Shenkman, underplaying everything to perfection) and introduces a new foil in the form of a fantastically high-strung socialite played by Six Feet Under’s Frances Conroy. Her addition is especially interesting: She opens the episode as a white whale client for Evan, but ultimately reveals herself to be something else entirely, and Conroy’s particularly sharp combination of grandmotherly gentility and cold-eyed malic will make for a nice series of curveballs for HankMed.
All told, it’s a fantastic collection of talent that keeps the show moving, even when the case-of-the-week is something of a clunker — the stakes are awfully low even for a show as casual as this, though it’s fun to see a guest appearance from Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt 23 refugee Liza Lapira. But Royal Pains is constantly improving its ability to maintain multiple season-long storylines, and this summer promises to dive deeper into the mysterious disappearance of Campbell Scott’s Boris, who was thought to be dead but was revealed as still alive during the show’s wedding special a few months back. Add in an episode-closing surprise for Divya (Shetty) and the further development of Conroy’s character, and you have another scorching season of appointment viewing in the Hamptons. A-