Is Everyone on ‘Emily Owens, M.D.’ Hiding a Secret?

Mamie Gummer in Emily Owens, M.D. (CW)

The new dramedy “Emily Owens, M.D.” premieres tonight at 9/8c on the CW. It tells the story of a smart but insecure first year medical resident who discovers that the pecking order at a hospital is just like high school. In fact,the mean girl who tormented her as a teenager is now her colleague, as is her college crush. Think of it as “Grey’s Anatomy” meets “Ally McBeal.” It’s the perfect companion piece for the CW’s other quirky medical show, “Hart of Dixie,” though Emily Owens would probably be intimidated by Zoe’s confidence and  fashion sense. Here are five things you need to know.

DVR the Premiere of “Emily Owens, M.D.”

Emily’s Confession Scene Will Make You Cringe: Emily (Mamie Gummer) has had a crush on Will (Justin Hartley) for years, but never told him. In the premiere, she finally decides to confess her feelings. It does not go well. Says Hartley, “I was in the scene and every time I watch it I still do the cringe thing. We’ve all been there.” Says showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, “We tried to build it so everything was building to this moment. I feel like I have been rejected so many times and that’s what makes us who we are. Then the challenge is re-upping it in the next episode so she can still like him and the audience will still like him even though he rejected her and we can have a true triangle.”

Watch a Sneak Peek from the Premiere of “Emily Owens, M.D.”:

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Love Triangles Galore: Yes, she said triangle. Will turns out to be dating Emily’s high school nemesis Cassandra (Aja King). But that doesn’t mean Emily will be lonely. “There’s a love triangle between Emily and Will and [chief resident] Micah (Michael Rady),” says Snyder Urman. “Then there’s a love triangle between Cassandra, Will and Emily. Because we have the procedural element, we can really sort of draw those out. “

The Show Has a Contemporary Spin on Classic High School Stereotypes: Emily the unpopular nerd is tall and blonde. The ex-cheerleader is African American. The hot guy wears glasses. The show manages to put a fresh spin on the high school cliches. Snyder Urman explains, “I think the cliché of the popular, pretty girl in high school is the blonde cheerleader. Aja came in. She was literally the second actress we saw. She was so good. We weren’t really planning anything but she was so good that none else could beat her. Then I thought, oh my God, we are so lucky because this makes it so much more modern and current that the popular girl is not always the white cheerleader.”

Mamie Gummer Finds Stardom as “Emily Owens, M.D.”

Watch Out for the Principal’s Daughter: One of the show’s most interesting characters is Tyra (Kelly McCready), the daughter of the hospital’s chief of surgery who has told everyone but her father that she is a lesbian. “She is a really smart cookie who really, really wants to do well but most of all, the core of her character is going to be working out the relationship with her dad,” explains McCready. It becomes a problem when she inadvertently develops a crush on her father’s girlfriend. “Tyra’s crush on the girl doesn’t go away. So she’s going to have to find out the truth eventually.” Snyder Urman reveals, “We play it out in episode five or six.”

Every Character has a Secret: At the end of the pilot, viewers learn something surprising about Micah. He is not the only character who is hiding something. Says Hartley of Will, “He’s got a secret. We find out a little bit later why he’s there, why he wants to be a doctor. It’s very powerful. All the characters, you find out why they’re there and it’s like ‘Oh, I see.'”

The premiere of “Emily Owens, M.D.” airs on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9/8c on the CW.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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