One of the great things about having so many streaming services or easy to access DVDs these days is that when one is watching something and gets inspired to see more that an actor has done… it’s pretty easy to do. In the case of this post, I was watching the Legends of Tomorrow repeat last week and was reminded that before Prison Break, Dominic Purcell had another TV show on FOX, John Doe.
If you only know Purcell as LoT‘s “Heatwave” or PB‘s “Lincoln Burrows”, then first of all, get your butt on the couch and watch some TV. Purcell has done a lot of work over the years and I’m pretty sure that there is something he starred in on at least once a day. And once you’re caught up on that… well, Hulu has John Doe and you should probably watch it.
A really fun part is that this series is from 2002 and lordy… the presentation of the character is so different from the later ones. Much less grump. And while the character has some physical bits, it is much more of a cerebral one than the latter roles.
John saves the day with brains over brawn. Which essentially the complete opposite of his current role of “Mick Rory”/”Heatwave.
Anyways- this series only lasted one season because FOX did their usual lack of support BS and left fans desperate to know what happened after the cliffhanger season finale. The premise of the series follows a man, John Doe, after he wakes up alone (and naked) on an island off the Pacific North West. After being rescued from a swim in the Sound, he discovers he knows everything… except who he is.
And I mean- he knows EVERYTHING. Random facts that no one should have rattling around their noggin are just there. But he has no idea about anything about himself before waking up on the island. And he has some weird scar symbol thing on his chest.
The series starts with John trying new things, including placing bets on horse races and making very interested investments… which help create a nice nestegg (that allows the character to not need a real job throughout the series). He gets caught up in a police investigation, which connects him with Detective Hayes, who he will spend the series sort of partnering with (I mean, who wouldn’t want a genius helping to solve crimes?). He ends up getting a loft above a bar where he gets a gig as a piano player. Yeah, it’s a little random but basically it works. Him being able to sit down at the piano and immediately plunk of “My Funny Valentine” clues him in that there is something about that piece of music that connects him to his past.
As he moves through his new life, little things come up that add to the mystery of who he is. And… well, he gets to experience things for the first time. There’s an ongoing quest to determine if he likes different alcoholic beverages. He jumps head first into trying new things, just to see if he likes it- in trying to learn more about himself he has an MRI discovering he’s claustrophobic. Oh, he’s also colorblind. Except sometimes things that are important or may be connected to him- he can see those in color. Sometimes. (This was a little inconsistent)
Besides Detective Hayes, Doe makes friends with Digger (the bar owner) and Karen (a waitress who becomes his assistant), and has an interesting antagonistic friendship with Lieutenant Avery as she tries to remind him he’s a civilian but can’t deny the help Doe gives the department.
On the other side of things… there’s the Phoenix Organization. A mysterious organization that watches John and may know the answers to the questions he has. Or they might just be leading him down a path of their creation.
There was also a wonderful arc with a villain, Lenny Pescoe. He played chess throughout the city of Seattle dropping bodies and clues. Quite a fun set of episodes.
Not to feed into anything but the creators made comments following the cancellation about the mysteries. Apparently these comments weren’t good enough for the fans…
As I stated before… this show is definitely worth a watch. Bonus if you enjoy the later performances of Mr. Purcell. As I do. Can’t wait til season two of LoT and the new season of Prison Break (in 2017)!