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Executive Producer: Social Worker Character has Vital Role on “Touch”

Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as social worker Clea Hopkins on "Touch" on Fox. Photo courtesy of TV Guide.

Social worker Clea Hopkins (actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw) will have an integral role on Fox’s new sci-fi series “Touch,” which will preview Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox, executive producer Carol Barbee said.

“Touch” stars Kiefer Sutherland as Martin Bohm, a widower who discovers his mute son Jake (actor David Mazouz), who is obsessed with numbers and cellphones, can predict the future. Martin realizes his connection with his son could help shape humanity’s destiny.

However, Clea Hopkins will keep the sci-fi series firmly rooted in reality, reminding Martin of his main mission, Barbee told SocialWorkersSpeak.org. She gets involved with the family because Jake has a habit of running away, ending up in odd places such as cellphone towers.

In fact, you could describe the relationship between between Martin, Jake and Clea as a triangle, Barbee said.

“Clea keeps bringing Martin back to, ‘You have a son, he has these issues, and the state has stepped in and no matter what happens out there we need to care of your son,’” she said.

Carol Barbee. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“Touch” is the brainchild of television producer and screenwriter Tim Kring, creator of the “Heroes,” an NBC sci-fi series that ran from 2006-2010. Sutherland, who was taking a break after the conclusion of his wildly successful run on “24” on Fox, read the script for “Touch,” got excited about the series, and decided he wanted to return to network television to do the project, Barbee said.

Mbatha-Raw, the daughter of a South African doctor, was raised by her mother Anne Raw in Great Britain after her parents divorced.  She has played in the popular, long-running British sci-fi series “Dr. Who” and had a starring role as part of a husband-wife spy team in the cancelled NBC series “Undercovers.”

The pilot of “Touch” will air on Jan. 25 and the series will premiere on March 19. In early episodes Clea will spend a lot of time with Jake and by the second episode viewers will see more of her life outside of work and what motivates her, Barbee said.

The series is set in New York and Barbee said writers researched state child welfare laws and met with New York social workers to help shape the Clea Hopkins character. Barbee is also familiar with the social work profession because she was an executive producer, producer and writer on the CBS series “Judging Amy,” which ran on CBS from 1999-2005.

“Judging Amy” featured Tyne Daley as a child welfare social worker and mother of the main character Amy Gray (actress Amy Brenneman), a family court judge in Hartford, Conn.

Kiefer Sutherland (right) as Martin Bohm and David Mazouz as Jake in "Touch." Photo courtesy of MaxiSeries.com

“It’s serendipitous” that Kring made Clea Hopkins a social worker, Barbee said. “I have experience with the social work profession due to Tyne Daley’s character on ‘Judging Amy.’ I did a lot of research.”

However, Barbee said the staff of “Touch” is willing to consult with additional social workers as the series proceeds. She also hopes social workers take the time to watch the program.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am about the show,” Barbee said. “That’s exciting that we are able to reach (the social work) audience.”

 

Q: Social workers, please watch the show the preview and tell us what you think about “Touch.”

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