‘Royal Pains’ series finale exclusive: Andrew Lenchewski, Michael Rauch on key Hank, Evan decisions

“Royal Pains” fans, it’s all over. Hank has found love in the form of Jill during the series finale of the show Wednesday night, mostly because of the fact that he made a big move and took off halfway around the world to find her. Based on the flash-forward in the closing minutes of the episode, the two remain happy while Evan and Paige have ownership of Shadow Pond after it was gifted to them by Boris. Not only that, but Evan and Paige have a much bigger family than expected after making the big decision to be foster parents.

In the end, it was a happy ending in the Hamptons and beyond for most of our characters, and we were thrilled to talk about all of it with executive producers Andrew Lenchewski and Michael Rauch.

CarterMatt – What were some of the goals that you wanted to accomplish?

Rauch – It was really important for us to feel that the characters had endings for the series that were true to who they were, but satisfying for us as the writers, and also the audience who has stuck with us for eight seasons. We went one-by-one with the characters, starting with Hank, to figure out ways we could leave the end of the series, not that the stories were over, but that the audience had a true sense that these characters were going to be okay and moving on with their lives. Whether it’s Hank traveling outside of the Hamptons or Boris leaving or Evan and Paige’s family or Jeremiah finding love or Divya’s [family and success], all of these felt like an end and a beginning for all of our central characters.

How important was it for the two of you over the course of this final season to give Hank his specific journey? What I’ve always appreciated about his as a character is that he is relatable, and that he often meant well but couldn’t quite figure it out.

Lenchewski – For us Hank was a little bit of an old-fashioned hero. He usually does the right thing for the right reason. Having said that, he’s not without his demons, and in the story that we’ve told, the demons have been the somewhat-dysfunctional family that he comes from. When we first met him in the pilot, he and Evan had at best a strained relationship, and over the course of the series we saw them become not just partners, but brothers and best friends again. He had an estranged relationship with his father, and we repaired that over eight seasons.

So really, what was left for him was to rediscover his passion as a doctor and also to find love. Obviously in the pilot we saw him break up with his fiancee, and those were the parts of his journey we wanted to complete and felt like the audience expected; probably above all was finding love for Hank. That’s what the audience had seen him try to do through many unsuccessful relationships, and bringing Jill back in the finale was our way of buttoning up that journey. The closure was poetic because Jill was the reason he stayed in the Hamptons in the first place, in the pilot, and that was what we were looking to do. This show is very much about family and second chances, and when it comes to second chances Hank’s reinvention was more important than anyone’s. By the end of the series, Hank had completed that reinvention.

What was a very big surprise for me in the finale was seeing Evan and Paige become foster parents. What went into that decision?

Rauch – We had struggled with different directions to take Evan’s pregnancy story. We played the story because it’s truthful, but it’s a story that is often told in TV and movies. We wanted to find a way to make it feel different and unique. So bringing in that family, who we introduced earlier in the season, that really felt like an opportunity to take the story in a couple of different directions, that way once they had an opportunity to adopt these kids, it’s when things were getting more complicated. We wanted to find a funny way to do it, and that’s with Evan and Paige finally getting their own house. He’s been crashing with Hank, who’s been crashing with Boris for the entire series. They finally have this house, which is a certain size, and it’s going to be big enough to have a baby and then this family, too.

It felt like a way for Evan, who began the series as a bit of a cad and a selfish guy, to end the series making sacrifices and being not just a wonderful husband but a father to many.

This is a little bit of a broader question, but what does it feel like for this show to be sort of the last stalwart of a USA once known for some of those fun, breezy sort of shows like a ‘Burn Notice’ or a ‘Psych’? You guys have carried that torch.

Lenchewski – That may be giving us more credit than maybe we deserve. The TV business is very much about luck and timing, and we couldn’t have gotten luckier in that we were the right show that came around at the right time for the right network. When we came in on the heels of the success of ‘Burn Notice,’ we got to really exist with the blue skies of programming on USA Network. It’s one of the many reasons we think we had such a great run and such a loyal following is that we had the support of the studio and the network who felt we were completely on-brand for them. If our run had gotten cut short because of a sudden shift in the tone and sensibility of the network, that’d be one thing, but we got to do an eight-season run, which is as long as any show has run on USA Network, and more importantly we got to tell that we wanted to tell, and we got to tell it completely. We’re just enormously grateful that we came along when we did and we had the partners that we did.

Is there any interest in revisiting the property down the line, like a movie or a limited series?

Rauch – That’s really a question for the network, but for us we feel like we completed the stories we had to tell. There are definitely more stories to tell, and we would love to see Hank’s new life and Paige and Evan’s new life and where Boris ends up. Whether it’s a year from now or five years from now, it would be a lot of fun to revisit the characters we love so much and the Hamptons, and to see where the blue skies move.

What’s next for the two of you? I’m sure you probably had a break, but are also starting to look at other things.

Lenchewski – We finished writing last summer, finished filming last fall, and finished editing right before Thanksgiving. I think the both of us had a few well-deserved months to recharge our batteries after this very blessed run.

For me personally, I’m working on a couple of new projects for USA that I’m excited about, and I’m hoping to find something as fulfilling as the past eight years have been.

Rauch – And I’m working on a couple of new shows for CBS. Writing new projects.

Thanks to Lenchewski and Rauch not only for their time talking with us over the past week or so, but also for working so tirelessly on a show we really enjoyed and felt was a breath of fresh air every summer on USA.

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