'Crisis' preview: No, Dermot Mulroney doesn't know Dylan McDermott
Do you know the difference between Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney?
Hint: McDermott is the one who has a sense of humor about that question.
The two actors sort of resemble each other. They're about the same age. They're about the same height. They both have dark hair. They have sort of similar names.
They were the subject of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch a faux game show in which contestants were asked, "Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?" And the contestants couldn't tell them apart.
(Mulroney appeared in that sketch â¦ when he still had a sense of humor about all this.)
Coincidentally, McDermott just finished starring in a network TV drama about "Hostages"; Mulroney stars in a network TV drama about hostages titled "Crisis," which premieres Sunday on NBC. Both shows are set in the nation's capital.
And McDermott found that kind of funny.
"We always discuss what we are going to do," he joked just before his now-ended CBS drama debuted. "I call Dermot 'What are you doing next?' He says, 'I'm doing a hostage show.' I say, 'I'm doing a hostage show.' â¦ Because we are trying to add to the confusion as much as we can."
Mulroney, on the other hand, couldn't have looked less pleased when he was asked about the coincidence during a recent Television Critics Association panel.
"I'm not acquainted with him, if you can believe it or not," he said. "I don't know him."
"OK. Next question," said "Crisis" co-star Gillian Anderson, humorlessly.
The two shows both involve hostages and the president of the United States, but they really aren't all that much alike. And any similarities are purely coincidental.
"One of the disadvantages of working in television is that you don't get to watch it," said executive producer Rand Ravich. "So I actually have never seen an episode" of "Hostages."
In "Crisis," a school bus full of teenagers the children of Washington, D.C., elite is kidnapped. Their parents are diplomats, corporate CEOs and the president of the United States, all desperate to get their kids back safely.
"The machine of the season is what will you do for your child?" said Ravich. "So we want to see parents week after week being asked that question. Will they say yes? Will they say no? Who will they betray? How will they betray them?"
Anderson and Mulroney play two of those parents. She's a CEO; he is not what he seems to be.
Much as McDermott was an FBI agent who was not what he seemed to be in "Hostages" yet another coincidence.
The first couple of episodes of "Crisis" are underwhelming at best. Where there should be high-drama, there's a feeling of â¦ ho-hum. We've seen this before.
"Crisis" is trying very hard to be "24," although this tale plays out over three weeks, not one day. And "Crisis" is not "24."
Like "Hostages," "Crisis" has produced a 13-episode season. Like "Hostages," it would be no surprise if it was 13 and done for "Crisis."
The big question is whether the ratings will merit NBC leaving "Crisis" on the air for its entire 13-episode run. Because the producers are promising a satisfying conclusion to the series.
"We definitely have a hard ending," Ravich said. "We have a climactic, satisfying both emotional and plot conclusion that leaves a small, 5 percent seed for next year to go back into a world."
If NBC orders a second season. Which is a very big if.
"Crisis" premieres Sunday, March 16, at 9 p.m. on NBC/Channel 5.