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Nip/Tuck Facts Only Hardcore Fans Of The Show Know

Ryan Murphy's career skyrocketed in the early 2000s with his second television show, "Nip/Tuck," which aired on FX from 2003 to 2010. Set in Miami and later Los Angeles, the series follows two plastic surgeons, Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), who run a well-established and successful business as partners. Their professional and personal relationship with each other, family, and colleagues, combined with a realistic (and often gory) depiction of cosmetic surgeries, is at the heart of the show.

Murphy's over-the-top and sensational portrayal of this glamorous yet shallow and morally corrupt world was a breath of fresh air for viewers at the time of its release as he explored multiple taboo themes and uncommon medical procedures in a stylish and appealing manner. It's safe to say that he created a series that was well ahead of its time when it came to cosmetic surgery, body image, and gender politics.

After its impressive debut season, the show took off and quickly became prestigious television with high ratings and numerous award nominations and wins (including the Golden Globe for best TV series in 2005). Throughout its run, "Nip/Tuck" featured dozens of legendary actors from Alec Baldwin to Bradley Cooper, and earned many accolades for its unique representation of the elite world of plastic surgeons. Here, we gather some intriguing curiosities and lesser-known trivia that might surprise even the biggest fans.

John Hensley and Joely Richardson dated in real life

John Hensley and Joely Richardson are two regulars of the original "Nip/Tuck" cast. Hensley plays Matt, the troubled son of Sean and Julia McNamara (the latter portrayed by Richardson). Despite their on-screen relationship as mother and son, Hensley and Richardson were rumored to be dating in the early 2000s (via Entertainment Weekly), although neither confirmed the speculation. The reason for that could've been the 12-year age difference between the two in 2004 (Hensley was 27 and Richardson 39) or that their real-life romance would've looked a little odd considering the dynamics between their characters in the show.

Not that Murphy hadn't crossed several boundaries repeatedly when it came to displaying unusual and perverted relationships in the series. Hensley's character dates women twice his age, and in Season 5, he even sleeps with his half-sister and seriously considers having a relationship with her. On the other hand, Richardson's Julia cheats on her husband with his best friend (having an on-and-off affair) and was also in a serious relationship with a sophisticated woman while unsure of her sexual orientation. But in the world of "Nip/Tuck," these things aren't out of the ordinary in the slightest.

Teddy Rowe is played by two different actresses

As a character, Dr. Theodora "Teddy" Rowe is introduced in Season 5 when Sean and Christian are looking to hire a new anaesthesiologist to replace Liz (Roma Maffia). In their first encounter, Teddy starts to flirt with Sean, and there's a palpable chemistry between the two which later blossoms into a relationship. However, by the end of the season, we learn that Teddy is actually a murderer (living a double life) who marries unsuspecting men and kills them for their money. That's exactly what she plans to do with Sean once she gains his trust through manipulation.

In Season 5, Teddy is played by American actress Katee Sackhoff. In Season 6, however, she's replaced by the Italian-born Rose McGowan. At first, this swap is a little confusing since McGowan portrays the character quite different from what we've seen before. Nevertheless, after a few episodes, she finds that villainous and dangerous personality that Sackhoff captured so flawlessly before.

The reason for this star exchange was simply a scheduling conflict. According to Entertainment Weekly, Sackhoff was offered the lead role in NBC's "Lost and Found," which would've interfered with her work schedule on "Nip/Tuck." She preferred to do the former, so she parted ways with the production, and her appearance on Murphy's show came to an end. Ironically, Teddy's character was written out early in the final season.

Julian McMahon is the son of a former Australian Prime Minister

Julian McMahon wasn't exactly the first choice for one of the show's lead characters, Dr. Christian Troy (which we'll talk about in a bit). Nevertheless, the Australian actor eventually landed the role. What many fans might've not known, though, is that he's the son of the former Australian prime minister, Sir William McMahon.

According to the National Archives of Australia, McMahon served as the 20th prime minister of Australia and served in office from March 1971 to December 1972. He was a parliament member for over two decades and the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. In 1965, he married Sonia Rachel Hopkins (who was 25 years younger than him), and they had three children, Melinda, Julian, and Deborah. McMahon died in 1988.

It must've been hard for Julian to step out of his father's shadow, but he still went on to have a successful career as a model and actor. Arguably, his role as Christian Troy in "Nip/Tuck" is one of his most memorable roles.

Joely Richardson's actual mother plays Julia's mother

While we're on the subject of real-life parents, Joely Richardson had the opportunity to act alongside her actual mother and legendary actress, Dame Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Julia's mom, Dr. Erica Noughton, in "Nip/Tuck." Redgrave's character is a clinical psychologist with a Columbia University degree who often uses her intellect to lecture Julia and Sean on their parenting, marriage, and questionable life choices.

She often comes across as a cold-hearted, materialistic, and career-obsessed snob who belittles and judges people for making poor decisions. One of those people happens to be her daughter, who she criticizes for becoming a full-time parent instead of pursuing a career in medicine. Given the intensity of their on-screen chemistry, it's not that surprising that they're related in real life. That aspect definitely adds to the show's dynamics, especially when it comes to their complicated relationship — filled with drama, bickering, and loud fights — that they maintain throughout the six seasons.

Kimber was only supposed to appear in the pilot

Kimber Henry (Kelly Carlson) is an essential part of "Nip/Tuck," and the series would've been much less entertaining without her vivacious character. In the early '00s, Carlson was a model who had just begun acting when she auditioned for the role of Kimber. Admittedly, Ryan Murphy didn't plan on keeping her for more than one episode. During a panel at the William S. Paley Television Festival in 2007, the creator revealed that he only wrote a short part for Carlson in the pilot, but when he directed the actress in that episode, he was "so taken" by her that he kept the actress on board and developed the character further until she became a regular.

We, as fans, can all agree that was the right decision by Murphy. As the show progresses, Carlson gets better at playing this initially shallow bombshell who tries to fix her inner emptiness with artificial beauty. She thinks that her problems will go away the more perfect she looks on the outside. But once she realizes that doesn't make her happier, that's when her character becomes really intriguing and engaging from a viewer's standpoint.

The truth behind Peter Dinklage's character

Season 4 was the point when Ryan Murphy truly embraced the idea of featuring several guest stars and celebrities on the show who reached out to him hoping for a role. Although he initially resisted bringing on famous celebs (which he explained during the 2007 William S. Paley Television Festival panel), eventually, he reconsidered and agreed to write parts for specific guest stars who wanted to work with him. However, with Peter Dinklage's regular role as the nanny of Sean and Julia's son, that's not what happened. Murphy revealed during the panel that he met Dinklage on occasion and told him how much he liked his work and that he'd love to have him on the series. The actor was pleasantly surprised by the offer and decided to accept it.

However, Murphy didn't let just anyone on the show and had certain actors in mind who he always wanted to work with. Thus Season 4 became a sort of parade in terms of guest appearances. Besides Dinklage, Murphy cast performers like Larry Hagman, Sanaa Lathan, Alanis Morissette, Jacqueline Bisset, Rosie O'Donnell, Brooke Shields, and many more. Most of these actors had recurring parts throughout the entirety of the season. But hands down, Dinklage's nuanced performance was among the most compelling ones.

Rob Lowe was supposed to play Dr. Christian Troy

For "Nip/Tuck" fans, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing Christian than Julian McMahon. However, before the casting of the leads was finalized, Murphy had someone else in mind for the role of the arrogant and handsome doctor. First of all, in the original version, Dr. Troy was written as a Cuban male character. After that was changed, the showrunner specifically wrote the part imagining Rob Lowe for the role. The reason why that didn't happen is that the actor's agent never showed him the script.

According to CheatSheet, Lowe shared the anecdote during a 2020 Television Critics Association panel of his finding out that he could've been in the FX series. He set up a meeting with Murphy after Season 4 of "The West Wing" wrapped because he was a huge fan of the show and wanted to meet the man behind it. Over lunch, he explained to Murphy that he was utterly obsessed with McMahon's character. He said, "I'm going on and on about how much I love that character, why can't I do something like that. He's [Murphy] getting whiter and whiter and whiter, if that's possible. He says, 'You know, I wrote it for you.'" It turned out that Lowe's agent hadn't shown him the script because Murphy wasn't known at all before "Nip/Tuck" became a hit, and it was also the first scripted drama that FX had ever done.

Ryan Murphy specifically wrote Sean's character for Dylan Walsh

Besides Christian, the other lead in the series was always meant to be portrayed by Dylan Walsh. During a panel at the William S. Paley Television Festival in 2007, Murphy said that the only person he was sure about casting was Walsh after he saw him in an HBO film. He also watched and loved him in Robert Benton's Oscar-nominated drama, "Nobody's Fool," acting alongside Paul Newman. While writing the pilot, he envisioned him as the perfect person to play Sean McNamara.

Funnily enough, after Murphy had finished writing the pilot and the day the show got green-lit, he bumped into the actor at a café and walked up to him, telling him, "You don't know me, but I wrote this pilot and you're going to be cast." Murphy said Walsh was "really incredibly rude" as he clearly didn't understand a word Murphy was saying and brushed him off quickly. Then the following day, Walsh actually learned that the man who bothered him was Murphy, who indeed wrote a pilot episode that was going to be made. Walsh apologized to the showrunner, and the rest is history.

Julian McMahon wasn't a fan of Season 3

Toward the end of the panel of the 2007 William S. Paley Television Festival, Ryan Murphy addressed the darker turn of "Nip/Tuck" Season 3, with the show having won the Golden Globe for best TV series the previous season. Season 3 was controversial and clearly divided the fanbase (despite the finale's high ratings), with Murphy even admitting that the regular cast hated it because it veered from the usual path and from the series' core family, focusing more on an outside character for most of its episodes.

Julian McMahon backed the creator's words saying, "I wasn't a big fan of Season 3." He further explained that during that period, he even became concerned about whether he still enjoyed playing this character or being on the series at all. To put it plainly, he wasn't necessarily happy with the work he was putting out there. However, he admired that Murphy and his co-producer, Michael M. Robin, managed to bring the show back to its roots with Season 4, continuing the familial arc they started in the first two years. Despite his disappointment with Season 3, McMahon expressed that he believed Season 4 was the best season, saying he felt that the work they put in together in the fourth season was exceptional and very satisfying.

The show formed John Hensley's view on plastic surgery

Undoubtedly, "Nip/Tuck" was the first dramatized television series that depicted cosmetic surgery in a convincingly realistic way. The procedures were always painstakingly detailed — often disturbingly — and the psychology behind why people decided to have certain physical changes to their bodies was thought-provoking and insightful. So it doesn't come as a surprise that it shaped the views of the cast members on the subject.

In an interview at the Season 3 premiere, John Hensley said that the series drastically changed his opinion on plastic surgery. He claimed that it "softened" his perception as he previously had a very black-and-white view of cosmetic surgery before he started the series as Matt McNamara. He explained, "I couldn't quite understand why somebody would elect to make a dramatic change to their features. After working on the show, what you realize is that all of us have been guilty of looking for answers in the wrong places." He expressed that now he's got a better understanding of why someone would opt for drastic physical changes in order to attempt to make themselves feel better and happier.

The inspiration behind Sharon Gless' villainous character

Sharon Gless plays an obsessive and dangerously delusional character named Colleen Rose in Season 5. She pretends to be a talent agent — just so she can represent Sean as an actor — and lands the plastic surgeon his first gig in a soap medical drama titled "Hearts 'n Scalpels." The further this pseudo-partnership between the two goes, the more unhinged Colleen becomes. Once her façade gets threatened by another agent, she decides to kill the guy in a crude and inhumane way in her own home to avoid the truth coming out. She even attempts suicide to grab Sean's attention and prove her gentle feelings toward him.

In an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Gless revealed what gave her the inspiration to play this terrifying character, explaining that she was reading one of Judi Dench's books, in which the legendary actress wrote about how to play a villain. Gless said, "You can't play a bad person. You play the scene they write, but each one, at the time, was very, very real. I think she [Colleen] even believed herself when she was pretending she was the agent. She got so good at it. And obviously, she was demented." Although she only appeared in five episodes in Season 5, Gless was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for her outstanding performance.