Zach Gilford as Dr. Brett Robinson in a scene from "The Mob Doctor." (Fox )
Before questions can even be asked, Zach Gilford can't stop talking about how he'd really like his gig as a doctor to stick this time around.
Gilford, best known for his role as Matt Saracen on the cult football drama "Friday Night Lights," gives scrubs one more go following his brief stint as a cocky plastic surgeon in last season's short-lived ABC drama "Off the Map."
"I just want to make my grandma proud," the 30-year-old actor joked. "I had to tell her I was on sabbatical when 'Off the Map' got canned."
Gilford returns to the medical world in the new Fox drama "The Mob Doctor," which debuts Monday night. He stars as Dr. Brett Robinson, the unsuspecting boyfriend of a physician (Jordana Spiro) who moonlights as, you guessed it, a doctor for the mob.
Show Tracker caught up with Gilford during a recent Fox soiree. Read on to hear what the actor had to say about the pre-launch press process, how he might finagle his character's ties to the mob, and his thoughts on former "FNL" co-star Connie Britton as a singer.
Is it fun to be part of a show that's a little bit darker? As a guy, it must be a little cool to be a part of something that involves the mob world.
Oh, of course. And, of course, I have nothing to do with that world on the show! I remember, I read the script and I was like, "So, wait. I'm just finding tumors? ... OK." A scalpel is kind of like a knife, right? I could fight someone with that. Reassure me, please.
Have some faith. Maybe later on you'll get initiated?
One could only hope. It might be kind of cool. You know, I thought the show was going to be called "The Mob Doctor's Boyfriend" -- don't you think that'd be kind of cool? Be honest. No, really. I think that would be awesome.
How would you write in your ties to the mob?
Maybe they find out later in the series, my past as a high school quarterback and that I had an ex-wife that I accidentally killed and had to cover that up? I'm going to have to pitch this to Josh [Berman, the show's creator]. I don't want to let you in to too many more details in case he goes for it.
Thank you for bringing up Matt Saracen--I was worried we weren't going to go there. I have to say, I only recently became addicted to "Friday Night Lights."
That's OK, no judgment. But let me guess: you think Matt Saracen is the nicest guy in the world. You want to hold him. You want to be the shoulder he cries on, right? You want to help him care for his grandmother. The girls love that guy.
How does it feel to live up to that? Do you feel pressure to be just as swoon-worthy?
Not really. And thankfully my fiancé never watched the show--it would be bad if she had. I like to think I'm just as nice in real life. My grandmother, though, every chance she'd get, she would remind me: "Matty takes such good care of his grandma." So maybe the pressure comes from my grandmother ... she might be the one person wishing I was Matt Saracen in real life.
When people heard I was a Saracen girl, they said that would change. That by the time I reached the end, I would be Team Riggins. What do you make of that?
Tell them to go to hell. Once a Saracen girl, always a Saracen girl.
You're not the only "Friday Night Lights" alum we'll be seeing this fall on the small screen. Connie Britton heads to ABC with "Nashville." Did you have any idea she could sing?
I've never heard her sing! And I heard she does all the singing for her character on the show. I remember thinking, "Oh, really? Oh, really. Interesting." I don't know, I think that's pretty rad. It's really cool just to see the way she changes things up.
You'll have to buy the soundtrack.
I don't know if that will happen. I mean, we'll see.
Now comes the time when you tell readers why they should--with all the new shows launching this season and with all the time they'll already be dedicating to singing competition shows--tune in to 'The Mob Doctor'?
Uh, 'cause it's good! People love mob stories--from "The Godfather" to "The Sopranos." And medical shows seem to do pretty well. And I think we found a good way to marry them. We're not trying to be too campy or over-the-top, we're trying to stay in the vein of those before us.
Fox looks to laughs to boost ratings
Fall TV: Fox unveils 2012-13 schedule
'X Factor' falls 32 % in season 2 premiere
Follow Yvonne Villarreal on Twitter: @villarrealy