Kelsey Grammer spent two decades playing Frasier Crane, a lovably pompous psychiatrist whose first impulse was to analyze — and then analyze a little bit more — before taking action.
Grammer’s latest character, Chicago Mayor Tom Kane on Starz’s first-year political drama “Boss,” would have the good doctor running for cover.
“It’s fun to play a guy who’s honestly fearless,” Grammer says. “Yes, he’s driven by a fear of losing power, but this guy will do anything. And I love an unedited guy without boundaries of that sort.”
In the show’s opening moments, Kane learns he has a degenerative neurological disorder that, sooner or later, will render him incapable of basic day-to-day activities, much less the ability to run a major city. This wouldn’t be good news for anyone, but for an arrogant control freak such as Kane — a man accustomed to getting his way by any means necessary — it’s a death sentence.
“But he’s a fighter, if nothing else,” Grammer says by phone from Chicago, during a break from filming the show’s second season. “Though his will, which has always been his strong point in many ways, is something that may not be helping him now.”
Grammer helped develop “Boss” through his production company, Grammnet Prods. Initial meetings with show creator Farhad Safinia led to the conversations about Jacobean and Shakespearean tragic dramas featuring executions, murder, intrigue, betrayal and banishments.
“We thought: ‘What stage can we play out those same things?’ ” Grammer remembers. “And, of course, that became the political scene in Chicago.”
The show’s second season, premiering in August, will include flashbacks to Kane’s past that, Grammer says, reveal some of the things that haunt his conscience.
“It’s great to get into a situation where you go, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to do this,’ ” Grammer says. “So far, it’s been a pretty great run.”