Friday nights just got better with a new series on NBC called “Raines.” Jeff Goldblum stars as an LAPD homicide detective (Michael Raines) who has an unusual way of solving murder cases. In fact, it’s so unorthodox that his co-workers have taken notice of his strange behavior. They see him talking to himself quite frequently, which is creating quite a stir in the department. What they don’t realize is that Raines is talking to the murder victims he visualizes in his mind. They appear in front of him at the crime scene, in his car and anywhere else he happens to be while working on their case. These hallucinations converse with the detective as he investigates what caused the victim’s demise.
It seems that Raines is going through a difficult and emotional time in his life due to personal problems. He is also trying to cope with the misfortune of losing his partner on the police force that was killed in the line of duty. His ex-partner will occasionally visit Raines in his hallucinations when the detective needs someone to talk to concerning a new case.
Things get even more complicated for the investigator when his superior officer orders him to get professional help from the police department’s psychiatrist. Raines realizes that his mind is playing tricks on him. He’s dealing with his unusual ‘gift’ the best way he knows how. As unsettling as his mind may be, it is helping him solve murders and putting criminals behind bars.
Graham Yost is the show’s executive producer and creator. He recently teamed up with Goldblum to give an informal interview about the new series, which included some specific points of interest.
One of the concerns is that people will think the show deals with the supernatural like “Medium.” Yost was asked if he had any thoughts on how NBC should promote “Raines” so that it won’t be put into the category of a ghostly type of genre.
The executive producer said, “You know, listen, that’s something that we have faced right from the beginning, even in developing the idea, even before I wrote it when it was just a pitch, and then an outline, and then a script, and then shooting the pilot, and on. It’s always been something that we have – whenever we’re speaking to the press, or in public anyway, we try and make it clear that it’s hallucinations. It’s not ghosts; it’s all an internal process. It’s a man and a mental crisis, and that’s what we’re watching.
“I think NBC has done a pretty good job of differentiating it. You know, NBC.com, they had a two-minute, or a three-minute, little promo for the thing that I thought was pretty great. You don’t get two and three minutes to really lay it out. You get 20 seconds. I think they’re doing a good job. You know, there are clips of Jeff saying, ‘Maybe that’s my hook. I’m the crazy detective. Watch out.’ And they’ll use that in a promo and sort of hit upon that. My feeling is that the people are going to tune in because of Jeff. They’re going to stay because of Jeff because the work he does is so great.
“My hope is that once they spend an episode or two of this, they’ll see the emotional side of the concept. That seeing him interact with the victims is a pretty interesting thing to see week in and week out. It can change week by week. We had one episode where it’s a really gut wrenching episode, but perhaps the most beautiful where there’s a ten-year old girl that is murdered and he really doesn’t want to deal with that. He doesn’t want to have a ten-year old girl in his head because it’s just so disturbing. Yet where they get to in their relationship is his own coming to peace with that, and then solving her murder is, I think, some of the best stuff I’ve been involved with. And so that’s my hope for it. They’ll come for Jeff and they’ll stay for Jeff, and then they will fall in love with the concept.”
Preparing for the role of Detective Raines sent Goldblum on a quest to learn more about how an officer conducts and solves murder cases. He worked closely with two police detective consultants who helped shed some light on what really goes on during a crime scene investigation.
“They are great policemen, detectives who are currently doing this work. Who have done great work,” said Goldblum. “I went through the scripts with them. They were always around. I met and talked at length with both of them. There is no end–they are so admirable with what they do. I try to play one believably, but I could never do what they do with all the experiences they’ve had and the lives they have led. They are just full of facts and aspects of the reality of this and their stories are totally fascinating. They couldn’t have been kinder and more helpful and more fruitful in how they contributed to us.”
Goldblum said the men were very beneficial in helping him create a more true-to-life character. They gave him a better insight as to how to use different techniques when approaching individuals to conduct interrogations concerning a murder crime.
He also spoke to doctors who could better explain to him the workings of an individual’s mind that is going through a mental crisis due to a tragic experience.
“I talked to a doctor or two,” said Goldblum. “…They told me a bit about post traumatic stress syndrome and what this kind of hallucination dilemma entails. Yeah, I found out a little about it.”
According to Graham, the series and its main character aren’t based on any one particular individual(s). He said he did learn an interesting tidbit of information from a police technical advisor while shooting the pilot. The man told Graham that when he started investigating homicides, an old detective gave him some great advice about murders and the victims. He said that detectives gather all the evidence they can about a case. Then they sit down and have a conversation with the victim. The vast majority of homicide victims are killed by someone they knew. It makes sense that the victim would be the best witness in solving their own murder. Finding out as much as you can about the victim in order to solve the crime is essential in police work. Graham was blown away by what he heard. The technical consultant had just validated the concept of what the show is all about. The main difference is that Raines converses with the victims through vivid hallucinations. No matter how you look at it, the end result is what counts.
“Raines” will premiere on NBC at 10/9c on Thursday, March 15th. The second episode will air the following Thursday on March 22nd at 10/9c. After that the series will move to its regular time slot on Fridays at 9/8c beginning March 30th.