Alan Cumming’s ‘Instinct’ Character Brings A Groundbreaking Addition To The Primetime Lineup

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Mark your calendar, because the incomparable Alan Cumming has a new show that's making history. The beloved actor is the star and executive producer of Instinct (set costumer: Caroline Horton), an upcoming program based on James Patterson's Murder Games. Slated to premiere in March, the CBS series Instinct will feature the first gay lead character in a network drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This is undoubtedly exciting, but it's also understandably frustrating that it took until 2018 for this to happen.

Still, this show does sound awesome. (Some might even say it's as awesome as a pair of Crocs on the Emmys red carpet.) Instinct follows Dr. Dylan Reinhart a former CIA operative who has stepped away from the spy life to be a professor and author. However, when a serial killer seems to be using Dr. Reinhart's book as a guide, Dr. Reinhart agrees to come out of retirement and help the NYPD track down the murderer — much to his husband's chagrin. Cumming stars alongside Bojana Novakovic (Shameless), Naveen Andrews (Lost), and Whoopi Goldberg. As Deadline reported back in January 2017, CBS ordered the pilot last year.

Per THR, when Cumming addressed the series at TCA on Saturday, he said portraying the first openly gay lead in a U.S. network drama "was one of the reasons" he was interested in doing the show. He continued,

He also said he applauds the network for “having the courage to put that on right now in a climate where that may not be the best time to do that. But I think it's the perfect time to do that.” Of course, it's never too late for progress, but the "perfect time" could've been a long time ago.

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Nevertheless, Cumming added that the portrayal of his character's relationship and sexuality is "refreshing." The award-winning actor explained,

While Dr. Reinhart's sexual orientation is the "fourth or fifth most interesting thing" about him, this role is still a major moment for television. LGBTQ representation in media is important, and a primetime drama featuring a gay lead is a necessary and overdue step forward. It's worth noting, however, that Viola Davis' role on How to Get Away with Murder, Annalise Keating, is bisexual, and that's important representation in itself. And it definitely shouldn't be overlooked.

In the 2017 Where We Are on TV report, GLAAD pointed out why Instinct is a progressive addition to not just the primetime lineup, but to the procedural genre as well. The report stated,

This groundbreaking series is set to premiere on March 11 on CBS. If you're fired up about Instinct, your gut instinct doesn't need to be recalibrated.