When the executive producers of “This Is Us” told Gerald McRaney they had a part they’d like him to read, the veteran actor was game. After all, he’d worked with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa already and trusted their instincts.
But when he read the character of Dr. Nathan Katowski, or Dr. K, he was floored. The part was so well written and fleshed out, McRaney called it the “role of a lifetime.”
The series, one in a long line for McRaney, stands out in many ways, but perhaps most notably for drawing so many fans into the story. We’re not talking about fans who simply want to compliment McRaney (or his cast mates). These people are moved.
“Big, tough guys approach me,” McRaney said when he stopped by The Times’ video studio recently for an Emmy Contenders chat with Times television reporter Yvonne Villarreal. “You know, ‘You made me cry,’” they say. Fans, he says, often “go into depth and share some personal thing that relates directly to the show.”
The outpouring, he says, is a reflection of how good the writing is. The writers have captured a true human connection, tapped into a common humanity. They don’t need superheroes or even villains to make their stories compelling.
They’re just writing about decent people who have problems and find ways to solve them. “Good people in extraordinary circumstances,” he says.
See what he says about how his wife, actress Delta Burke, helped him relate to the widower doctor, and what he thinks of a possible “Simon and Simon” reunion, in the full video below.