I don't know if it's possible to watch Patrick Swayze in The Beast and separate his performance from what we know about his personal drama. Swayze has been simultaneously battling pancreatic cancer and filming the show, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on A&E.
That makes it all the more impressive that he's being called the best thing about The Beast, delivering a confident performance as an undercover FBI agent who takes a new protege under his wing. Swayze's character, Charles Barker, is the latest in a string of unorthodox but brilliant detectives we've seen on TV over the years, specializing in high-intensity undercover work. As The Beast begins, Charles attempts to train his rookie partner, Ellis Dove, (Travis Fimmel), even as the FBI's higher-ups are trying to convince Dove to help in an internal investigation of Charles's methods.
At TCA last week, the producers of The Beast said Swayze's health hasn't had much of an impact on their plans for the show, which was cast before Swayze was diagnosed; if the show is picked up for a second season, it could be in production as soon as March. To check out some clips of the show and the actors talking about their roles, read more.