It took eight seasons for Dr. Hank R. Lawson to find his long-overdue happy ending on Royal Pains, but, as actor Mark Feuerstein promised, the USA series has indeed come to a satisfying conclusion.
Although the eighth and final season presented Hank warring with the idea of laying down permanent roots in the Hamptons and carrying on HankMed while the rest of the team scattered off to their various new adventures (with Evan devoting his full attention to his administrative job at Hamptons Heritage Hospital and Divya moving away to Baltimore to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins), he realized such a choice wouldn’t provide the sense of fulfillment he was really after.
So, instead, he followed the signs that were pointing him to Sierra Leone, where his former flame Jill had established a blissful new life as head of a medical clinic, and, ultimately, he decided to join her and give their relationship a stronger second effort — uninterrupted, as he and the episode coined it.
Mark Feuerstein, for one, certainly felt the emotion of the moment when he finally said goodbye to his long-time screen counterpart. He told EW that the last day of filming — which was actually shooting a scene from the penultimate episode, featuring himself and co-star Paolo Costanzo — was marked with an extremely long, brotherly hug between the pair. The last shot of the series, he explained, “was the moment when Eddie [played by Henry Winkler] was trying to get rid of Hank so that he could have a moment of bonding with Evan, but he wasn’t successful because Evan was onto him and he left with me.”
“The scene ended and there was this moment where, in the video village outside of the set, [co-creators] Michael [Rauch] and Andrew [Lenchewski] were hugging, and on-set on the monitor next to them were Paolo and I hugging. And people around could just see how much love there was in the room, and it’s between these two pairs of the creators – the producers – and me and Paolo. And because they were writers, they ended after a minute, and Paolo and I kept hugging. It was a very close family.”
The show has long boasted a strong familial vibe between the characters, whether they were biologically related or not, and, in Feuerstein’s mind, “art absolutely did imitate life” on that note.
“From the get-go, we were all pretty grateful to be making this show, but I don’t think we could have known just how close we all would have gotten over the course of eight years together,” he said. “It’s twice as long as one spends in college, and we grew together. I mean, people had children, people got married, people lost family members. We had sicknesses. But we had so many great moments that we all shared as individuals, and then we got to come together and make this show that was filmed with so much heart and so much love that there was really no line between the love on-screen and the love off. Sure, there were moments, there were disagreements. Sure, there were even periods of time when people were not as connected, but that only made us stronger because we kept going and kept growing together.”
And even though the book is now officially closed on HankMed and Dr. Lawson’s practice in the Hamptons is to be strictly limited to his summer stays at his brother’s estate (thanks Boris!), Feuerstein feels certain everyone who was involved in the company will remain a tight-knit unit for decades to come, long after that treat of a three-year-ahead epilogue sequence.
“I think for characters like Evan and Hank… that they finally settle into a life where they’re not searching as much, but settling in, deepening their ties, deepening their connections to the Hamptons and to the patients, [and] that HankMed will build an even bigger family and will all be a great support for each other.”