‘Pure Genius’: Medicine Meets Technology in New CBS Drama

Sonja Flemming/CBS
PURE GENIUS is a cutting-edge medical drama about James Bell (Augustus Prew, left), a young Silicon Valley tech titan, who enlists Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney), a brilliant veteran surgeon with a controversial past, to run a state-of-the-art hospital with an ultramodern approach to medicine. After football ends in October, PURE GENIUS will be broadcast Thursdays (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

After working on successful adaptations of Parenthood, About a Boy and Friday Night Lights, executive producer Jason Katims is putting an original spin on the medical-drama genre with Pure Genius.

The show follows James Bell (Augustus Prew), a tech billionaire who builds a state-of-the-art hospital and a crackerjack medical team—including James’s crush, Dr. Zoe Brockett (Odette Annable), and top surgeon Walter Wallace (Dermot Mulroney)—to help solve mysterious and critical cases. “James wants to change the way healthcare works,” Katims says. “He sees the system as broken, and he wants to bring the technology and philosophy from Silicon Valley to medicine.”

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However, James has his own secrets (which will be revealed in the series’ first hour) and is not above manipulating people as needed. “He’s a person who understands the psychology of power and is able to leverage that against those around him,” Prew says. “Making a morally dubious character sympathetic is a really interesting task.”

And like many of Katims’s previous projects, he is optimistic Pure Genius will move its viewers. “Being able to lean into the emotional parts of the storylines,” he says, “will hopefully become one of the signatures of the series [and] one of the things that set it apart from other medical shows out there.”

Pure Genius, Series premiere, Thursday, October 27, 10/9c, CBS