It’s been a week since I sat through FOX’s The Mob Doctor (9PM, Mondays); it took me that long trying to come up with something positive to say. William Forsythe gave an understated and impressive performance in the series pilot, although he was barely in it. It’s always great to see Željko Ivanek, one of our greatest character actors, appearing on television, even if his role was rather one note. But, that’s about all I’ve got. The Mob Doctor is one of those shows that’s supposed to be a hybrid of a medical drama and a crime series, but the plotting and the characters all felt very flat and uninspired. The biggest disappointment was the waste of two fine actors like Jordana Spiro (from the excellent TBS romantic comedy, My Boys) and Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights).
Spiro stars as Grace Devlin, a surgical resident in a big Chicago hospital. In the opening scene we find her yanking a screwdriver out of some thug’s forehead in the back of an animal hospital. We quickly find out that she made a deal with a local hood (played by Michael Rapaport) to cover the gambling debts of her younger brother. Sounds intriguing. Then, the rest of the show began.
Grace rushes off to work where she’s constantly under the gun from her supervisor. Like any surgical resident, the pressure is high at her job, but not so much that she doesn’t have time to leave work every fifteen minutes to attend to her family or go administer insulin to Forsythe’s aging gangster (who has a history with Grace and her family) or go have secret meeting with Rapapoort’s mobster or have a secret fling in the back storage closet with Gilford. Wait, did I mention that this is all within a twenty-four hour period?
My friends, I’ve spent a great deal of time at hospitals and let me tell you, it takes almost twenty minutes just to get to your car and get out of the garage. And the writers want us to believe that Grace is just going to drive off whenever she wants and jettison across town… in Chicago traffic… and be able to whiz back to the hospital whenever her pager goes off? Yeah, this is one of those kind of shows that wants to be gritty and real, but throws logic out the window whenever it’s convenient to the story.
The Mob Doctor could be an interesting show, if we ever felt that Grace was going to go against her morals when asked to do something really objectionable. When the mob boss tells her to let a patient who’s about to testify against him but now requires a life saving heart procedure that only Grace knows how to perform die on the operating table, you just know she’s not going to let that happen. Thus, even though Grace should be living in a gray area, she seems cut from the same cloth as every noble doctor we’ve ever seen on TV. Thus, no matter how intriguing a premise, the show falters because the characters don’t live up to the show’s potential.
The Mob Doctor lost my interest fast, and I’m a pushover for just about anything. Given the show’s dismal ratings last week, I wasn’t the only one. Once CBS premieres its healthy slate of sitcoms tonight, I foresee a flat line for The Mob Doctor.