Death and depth are an uncommon combination on contemporary television. However, “Going Home,” a program focusing on hospice care, which is featured on Pure Flix Entertainment, is deep.
“That’s part of what attracted me to the show,” actress Cynthia Geary said while calling from her Bellevue home. “I remember reading the first six scripts of the first season of ‘Going Home’ and I was so impressed. My part as Charley is a dream role for an actor. There’s not a show on like ours.”
“Going Home” stands alone in the annals of medical programs. Shows in hospitals have primarily been about saving or extending lives. Some of the finest moments from legendary dramas such as “St. Elsewhere” and “ER” were about making miracles happen on the operating table.
However, “Going Home” veers in a very different direction. Geary, 58, who played the charming but green Shelley on “Northern Exposure,” stars as the capable Charley Copeland, an empathetic nurse.
“Our message on our show is that you don’t have to fear death,” Geary said. “Death is a natural part of life. It’s a transition. Hospice care workers give their clients and patients a wonderful gift.”
”Going Home” ends its second season with a finale Feb. 9.
Geary and “Going Home” creator-writer-director Dan Merchant connected with nurses at Hospice of Spokane to help make the show credible.
“I learned so much from the hospice nurses,” Merchant said from his downtown condo. “I’m amazed that the hospice nurses always know what to say and are tremendous when they have these challenging conversations.”
The first season of “Going Home” was shot during 2021 and, because of the pandemic, was primarily captured on a soundstage. Most of those six episodes were shot in a hospice environment.
However, Season 2 of the series, which was shot in January through April 2023, sheds light on the hospice nurses’ personal lives and incorporates more humor.
“You see Charley at home and you learn a lot about her,” Geary said. “She’s very compassionate and a terrific caretaker but she has a lot of personal issues. She’s closed off and has some unresolved aspects to her life.
“In Season 2, you see Charley and the other characters more fully formed.”
Merchant has tabbed a number of notable guest stars for the show. Tom Skerritt and former NFL star Vernon Davis appeared during Season 1.
Mel Harris of “thirtysomething” fame and Karen Allen, who plays Geary’s mother, are part of the second season. Spokane audiences will recognize Allen from her leading role in the locally shot and produced movie “The Basket.”
“Karen Allen is such an icon,” Merchant said. “We’re talking about Indiana Jones’ wife. Allen was in ‘Sandlot’ and ‘Animal House.’
“She’s a wonderful actress and it was so great to work on scenes with her and Cynthia since they’re both so terrific. It was just a blessing. Karen Allen is amazing.”
“Karen Allen is as wonderful as you would think she is,” Geary said. “I adore her and have always been a fan. She is everything that you would expect. I can’t wait to see her again.”
Geary’s wish will be granted. The “Going Home” finale will be screened Tuesday at a private event at the Bing Crosby Theater. The cast will be present and a Q&A will follow the episode.
“I can’t wait to see Karen and also Dan Merchant,” Geary said. “I talk to Dan, but I haven’t seen him since we shot. He’s so much fun to work with and he has made such an amazing show that he should be so proud of.”
Geary also looks forward to returning, since she misses Spokane. The Lilac City is in the backdrop during the show’s opening title sequence with Geary jogging around Riverfront Park in her University of Washington gear.
“I love the city,” Geary said. “I should, since my character is all about Spokane and is a Washington (State) Cougar. Spokane is like a character in the show.
“You see Charley running past the red wagon. It’s so cool. I love that when I came to Spokane this time around I got to see snow and experience March Madness. I’ll admit I don’t follow college basketball closely, but I caught the bug from Dan. He’s such a multitasker. I saw him direct us and then I saw him watching a couple of college games at the same time. I don’t know how he juggles it all.”
Fans might catch a glimpse of Geary at her favorite restaurant, Baba.
“I absolutely love it there,” Geary said. “I love their Turkish coffee. It’s just an amazing place overall, but so is Spokane.”
Geary was based in Los Angeles prior to landing her “Northern Exposure” gig and moved to Western Washington after joining the cast.
“We never shot anything in Alaska during the entire run of ‘Northern Exposure,’ ” Geary said. “It was all shot around here in the Bellevue area. I just fell in love with it here and I left Los Angeles.”
Can the locale of another series featuring Geary lure her away?
“You never know,” Geary said. “Spokane is a very cool town. I can see why anyone would want to move there.”