Necessary Roughness

Publish date:

USA Network takes a run at the
sports-drama genre with Necessary Roughness.
Unlike the silly 1990s college football-themed
film of the same name, USA offers a more dramatic
and character-
driven take
on an off-the-field
football storyline.

The series’
protagonist is
Dr. Dani Santino
(Callie Thorne),
a sharp-witted
psychologist who’s seemingly perfect life as
a mother and wife gets upended when she
catches her husband cheating and her children
run into problems at school.

Her life gets even more interesting after she
goes out to a bar with her girlfriend and eventually
gets cozy with a bar patron, Matthew Donnally
(Marc Blucas), who turns out to be the
trainer for the fictional New York Hawks pro football
team. The Hawks are looking for a therapist
to help self-centered, highly paid wide receiver
Terrance “TK” King (Mehcad Brooks), who is
having on-the-field troubles catching passes
thrown to him.

Donnally convinces a reluctant Santino to
counsel the headache that is TK, who, among
other things, has anger issues which eventually
manifest during one of his sessions with the
good doctor.

But Santino gives as good as she takes, and
reveals some of her own anger issues in her
attempts to reach the resolute King, whose
destructive actions test the both team and Santino’s

Santino finds an unlikely ally in Nico (Scott
Cohen), the team’s shadowy professional problem-
solver who often shows up unannounced to
drag Santino into emergency situations regarding
TK. Halfway through the premiere episode,
Nico hustles Santino to Atlantic City in the middle
of the night to rescue the troubled football
star from a woman-tinged booze binge.

The doctor’s preoccupation with King leaves
little time to spend with her two teenage children
— who have some behavioral issues of
their own — as well as her nosy, gamblingobsessed

Sports fans looking for a lot of hard-hitting
football action in Necessary Roughness will be
disappointed, as the first episode only offers
a few minutes of on-the-field action. The main
confrontation throughout the show is the battle
of wills between the sharp-tongued Santino and
the cocky King.

Necessary Roughness is a little edgier than
USA’s typical dramedy-infused shows, but viewers
should find it an entertaining change for the
“Characters Welcome” network.