“Rush” is the perfect title for USA’s new drama because that’s what you’ll want to do after watching even a few minutes of Thursday’s pilot.
The show and its central character are thoroughly repulsive, but the real problem is that after spending almost the entire hour proving that Los Angeles Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis, “Doctor Who”) is an amoral, drug-loving, womanizing sleazebag, we get a minor whoopsie in the last few minutes suggesting that maybe there’s a bit of humanity beneath the slick wardrobe after all.
The series was created, written and directed by Jonathan Levine and taps into Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” and, to a lesser extent, Fox’s “House,” in that it attempts to create an appealing anti-hero in the lead character.
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Rush gets paid cash and lots of it, up-front and under the table, to fix celebrity problems. A pro baseball player has a problem keeping his fists off his girlfriend. A mega-millionaire mogul “breaks” his penis. Rush doesn’t ask questions or pass judgment. His assistant, Eve (Sarah Habel, “Underemployed”), manages his career and life with almost maternal concern, trying to clean up Rush’s moral messes after he’s packed up his medical bag and left the building.
We do feel a very small, barely noticeable twinge of empathy for Rush when his former girlfriend Sarah (Odette Annable, “Breaking In”) shows up and he tries to convince her he’s changed, which, of course, is a lie. It makes no sense whatsoever that Sarah falls for this load of horse pucky, but little in the show makes any logical sense, most of all, why it was created in the first place.
I do like the fact that Rush has a homemade CD (remember those?) in his luxury convertible labeled “ironic happy music” to play while he’s on his way to fix a celebrity’s problems.
Fortunately, that visual joke comes in the first few minutes, so you won’t have to waste any further time on the show.