CBS’ Instinct seems like a pretty standard procedural on the network famous for pretty standard procedurals, but when you look underneath the show, you’ll find it’s a pretty big departure from what you’re used to from the home of multi-flavored NCISes and CSIs.

The series is based on James Patterson’s novel Murder Games and stars Alan Cumming as Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a criminal behavior professor who ends up consulting with the NYPD on homicide cases and teaming up with a mismatched detective partner named Lizzie Needham (Bojana Novakovic). Nothing too crazy there, yet.

But Dylan is gay and happily married to a gay man, which is unusual to see on a network that has faced issues of diversity in the past. How unusual? Shockingly, Instinct is the first hourlong broadcast series on any broadcast network with a gay lead.

“It’s the first ever [network] drama on American television to have a gay character as a lead, which I think is an incredible thing but also a terrible thing at the same time,” Cumming told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Saturday. “It’s another layer to the character that makes it interesting to play, but socially and politically, especially in the timing we find ourselves in America, where gay people are being persecuted again, their rights are being removed, and the president is actively condoning by his silence the violence and persecution of those in the LGBTQ community, I think it’s all the more important that we should have a character with a healthy successful same-sex marriage on network. I applaud everyone on CBS 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.”

(Excerpt) Read More in: TV Guide

Instinct’s Gay Male Lead Is a Big Deal for CBS and Television, But Not to the Show

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