June 13, 2013




Sometimes even a moderately successful sports team will decide to shake things up and change the line-up (just ask the Clippers, Nets and Grizzlies at the moment), and that time seems to have come for NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, which ushered in its third season tonight with a virtual reboot.

Also like a real sports team, Necessary Roughness‘s loudest move was the acquisition of a big-name free agent, in this case perennial TV star John Stamos.  The changes are much broader than that, though.  Our heroine, sports therapist Dr. Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), no longer works for the New York Hawks football team, unceremoniously fired by their new coach.  Instead, by the end of the season premiere (written by series creators Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, and directed by Kevin Dowling), Dani was working at V3, the sports management team owned by Connor McClane (Stamos).  Her children will apparently be little-seen this season, as her son is still in Europe with his heiress employer/girlfriend, and her daughter seems to be otherwise occupied.  Dani’s love life is shifting as well, as Dani’s former romantic interest Matt Donnally (Marc Blucas) is moving to Boston with his pregnant girlfriend and leaving the show, but conveniently enough Nico Careles (Scott Cohen) now also works for V3.  And, of course, wherever Stamos is, there are also possibilities in that court.

This was very much a transition episode–we haven’t even met Dani’s new secretary, who’ll be a series regular as of next week–and it’ll take some time to see how it all plays out.  One obvious advantage of the management company job is that it will allow Dani to take on all sorts of assorted clients-of-the-week, rather than being tied to some degree with Hawks players.  (This week she cured a prospective pitcher’s fear of flying.)  There’s also some kind of serialized plot brewing, as both Connor’s CFO Troy Cutler (David Anders) and Nico were less than thrilled to see Dani arrive as a permanent employee of V3–since the last time we’d seen Nico he’d been with the feds, this viewer’s guess is that it’ll turn out that Nico is investigating V3 for something nefarious which Connor will or won’t be a part of.  However, despite all these changes, the show has kept Hawks player TK (Mehcad Brooks) as a regular, and as good as that character has been, finding a place for him on a weekly basis seems like it’s going to be somewhat awkward–unless he’s also going to become a client at V3.

Season 2 was kind of a mess at Necessary Roughness in terms of the Hawks stories, as the team went through multiple owners in the course of the season, each of them wackier than the last.  On the other hand, having the team as part of the story in every episode gave the show some continuity that may be tougher to find in a more procedural format.  The show’s biggest asset, though, has always been Thorne, who’s still here, and Cohen has been very good as the team’s brooding fixer as well.  In addition, the sports setting continues to have potential–however unevenly realized.

Consider this episode an exhibition game, as the series creators get their rosters in place.  Next week, with the new setting now established, is when it starts to count.  Necessary Roughness was a bubble show last season, with ratings in the 0.5-0.6 neighborhood, and unlike the 12 and 16-episode orders in Seasons 1 and 2, this time USA has only ordered 10 hours of the series.  Clearly USA hopes that the addition of Stamos will spark some audience interest, but if the new moves don’t work, the show will likely be on its way to the showers.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."