“Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” was the title of Necessary Roughness’ season three premiere and it might be the most accurate in television history. The USA Network drama became a different show in its shortened 10-episode third season run. While Dr. Dani Santino (Callie Thorne) remained the center of the show, nearly everything else about the series was changed.
The behind the scenes actions of the fictional New York Hawks football team more or less disappeared and was replaced with V3, an agency run by the charismatic Connor McClane (John Stamos). Dani and Nico (Scott Cohen) both took jobs there and soon TK (Mehcad Brooks) became a client so he could stay close to Dr. Dani.
Admittedly, I was on the fence as to whether or not all of these changes were a good idea, but I wanted to go into the season with an open mind. Dani, Nico and TK have been my favorites since the first episode and I’m a big fan of Stamos, David Anders and Autumn Reeser so I wanted to see the new premise succeed.
But the more we learned about V3 and the people there, the more questions we had. Most of them were not answered until the season finale and some of the episodes along the way felt like a chore to watch. Some of this is on me; I’ve never been a fan of the ‘patients’ aspect of the series. While I understand why it’s important to show Dr. Dani doing her thing, I preferred when her patients were members of the Hawks and not just random athletes.
On the other hand, not all of the changes were bad. We got to learn more about Nico and his relationship with Dani finally got a real chance. TK still had his own stories away from Dani and every actor brought his or her ‘A’ game to each episode, no matter how slow the story seemed.
#1 Dani and Nico
Call it fangirl bias if you will, but nothing makes me happier on this show than seeing Dani and Nico together. I don’t care if the scene is romantic or if they’re investigating someone/something or if they’re having one of their signature arguments, their chemistry is fantastic and I love having them on my screen. Nico has been full of secrets for as long as Dani has known him and it’s a constant struggle for her to balance her attraction to him with her reservations. Instead of pushing the back and forth until it got stale, season three let them take their relationship to the next level and then threw in more roadblocks. Many of Nico’s secrets came to light, but there are still more to be revealed if the show gets renewed for another season (two words: private jet).
#2 Dani and TK
Their relationship is a close second to Dani/Nico for me. They’ve had their ups and downs, but they’re way past the doctor/client part and the show was smart enough to find a way to make it work, even if Dani (and eventually TK) didn’t play for the Hawks anymore. We didn’t see many of TK’s therapy sessions; instead, we saw a man turning to a friend for help and Dani being there for him every step of the way. Major bonus points for Nico looking out for TK and including him in the plan to bust V3.
#3 Glimpses of the Hawks
While I was not a fan of the new coach, I did appreciate that the show still gave the Hawks some air time. It was nice to see Rex (Travis Smith) back and acknowledge the major bond that he and TK have formed. And one of my favorite moments of the season was when TK was traded to New Jersey and reunited with Coach Purnell (Gregory Alan Williams). It was also satisfying to watch their new team beat the Hawks in the finale and score a playoff spot. Suck on that, new coach.
#4 Losing the family aspect of the show
Dani’s kids might not be as awful as Grace and Zach (Good Wife fans know what I mean), but they were definitely my least favorite part of the show during the first two seasons. We saw Hannah in one episode and Dani had several phone conversations with Ray J. I definitely did not miss them. Being a mom is an important part of who Dani is, but it was not something we needed to be reminded of in every episode and no one cared about the kids’ problems (or at least I didn’t).
#1 The V3 mystery
There was something off about Connor and his agency from the moment we were introduced to them. It was quickly established that Nico was there because of a deal he’d made with the government. Dani seemed pretty uncomfortable with the flashiness of the agency too and it was obvious that she wasn’t crazy about having them micromanaging her practice. But this whole storyline fell flat to me because we weren’t really given a reason to care about it.
As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of all the actors involved, but this storyline felt like it would have benefitted from having a new show developed around it instead of dropping it into the middle of an existing show. When it comes to writing, one of the first lessons anyone is taught is ‘show, don’t tell.’ The V3 storyline was the exact opposite. We met Connor and Troy (Anders) and Abigail Bruce (Reeser) and we were told they had a history and some bad stuff happened and there was tension and backstabbing, but these were basically strangers to the audience.
What did it matter if Connor was the bad guy or if it was Troy? Sure, TK became affected by the drug story, but that wasn’t until the latter part of the season and by then, the show was already bogged down by this new world. What were the motivations? Troy was a sleaze, but was Connor worse? Could Bruce be trusted? The audience had nothing to go on other than what the characters themselves said. Maybe it would have benefited to give viewers flashbacks to past moments instead of hearing the characters describe them, but that would take away from Dani.
The wrap up of the storyline was abrupt too. The producers left some questions unanswered in case there is a fourth season, but the reveal that Connor was involved with the wrong doing wasn’t all that shocking. He set Troy up to take the fall, but given Troy’s misdeeds, why should we feel sorry for him? Too many questions, not enough answers…
#2 TK and Sheera
Most of the new characters were great, even if their stories were not as compelling as I’d hoped for. But Sheera (Kate Miner) was neither of these things. It was an interesting choice to put TK in a committed relationship for the season, but Sheera was the worst. Seriously, she had zero redeeming qualities and she was constantly bringing TK down. This pairing was awful and it was dragged out much too long. TK’s friendship with India (India de Beaufort) in the last few episodes had a million times more potential than SheK ever did.
#3 Nico’s wife
Contrived, much? The only good thing about this plot point was that in only lasted for a scene and a half before it was cleared up.
Season three’s negatives far outweighed the positives for me so I’d have to give it a ‘C’ for the summer. The network has not made a decision on season four yet, but if they do decide to renew, I hope they continue to focus on Dani and Nico. If they want mysteries, there have to be plenty in Nico’s past (that don’t involve wives). Bring India back and see if TK can have a relationship with someone who’s not a celebrity and if they want to continue the V3 story, simplify it and show, don’t tell.
Hit the comments below and share with us your best and worst moments from the season. Are you hoping for season four? What would you like it to look like?