Four Reasons to Give 'The Mob Doctor' A Second Chance
October 8th, 2012 1:50pm EDT
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in life is never to give much weight to first impressions. If I did, I wouldn’t have ever hung out with a girl who came to be my best friend in high school, and a pretty good one today as I thought she was a tree-hugging weirdo and she thought I was stuck up. Both judgments couldn’t be further from the truth. This is the same reason why I give new television shows three chances to hook me. I’m so grateful that I have, otherwise I would have given up on some pretty spectacular shows, the most recent being Fox’s "The Mob Doctor" before the freshman drama ever had the chance to find its voice.
After watching the brilliant trailer about a young thoracic surgeon at a prominent Chicago hospital forced to work off her brother’s debt to a mobster, I was thoroughly disappointed by the pilot that seemed to ignore the more enticing mob-based storyline for the clichéd trappings of a standard medical procedural. In a nutshell, it needed more taking of lives and less saving them.
Two episodes later, "The Mob Doctor" has been miraculously cured of most of its failings, growing into an engaging, suspenseful crime drama with some juicy medical gore tossed in for extra drama.
Here are four reasons to give Fox’s "The Mob Doctor" a second chance…
Jordana Spiro/Dr. Grace Devlin. Even as a self-diagnosed hopeless romantic, I get tired of shows centered on young ingénues who prance about some alluring metropolis in designer dresses and five-inch heels, lamenting about their love lives and split ends more than their careers. Star Jordano Spiro (“My Boys”) breaths a strong-shouldered spirit into Dr. Grace Devlin, a woman who protected her little brother from the burden of her abusive childhood all while striving to become a talented and accomplished surgeon. She saves lives, thus she barely wears any make-up and probably doesn’t even own a stitch of pink, and more importantly, she isn’t cowed by intimidating surgeons with God complexes or powerful and/or corrupt men. She is a wild horse, bucking in the reigns of the mobster’s control. It may be to her detriment, but it’s to the audience’s delight.
It’s a love story. Beyond the captivating medical and family drama and entertainingly callous mob dealings, ‘The Mob Doctor’ deftly weaves romance into its medical and crime tapestry. Constantine loves not only Grace as a daughter, but has a complicated history with her mother (Wendy Makkena) and her father’s mysterious death. Meanwhile, Grace is dating the upstanding Dr. Brett Robinson (Zach Gilford) even though she maintains a prickly friendship with first love and Constantine flunky, Franco (the dreamy-eyed James Carpinello). This love trapezoid provides a sexy foil to all of the double-crossing and backstabbing, and more than that, it gives a reason for most of it.
There’s no such thing as a good mobster. Network television executives can often be naïve enough to think that even today’s contemporary audiences aren’t sophisticated or twisted enough to root for a true criminal. I was worried that the career mobster who owns Dr. Grace Devlin’s debt would be painted with the same brush as “General Hospital’s” Sonny Corinthos—a mobster with a heart of gold who receives shipments not of guns or drugs, but a mysterious “good” product. The third episode enthusiastically refuted that theory, establishing career mobster Constantine Alexander (a convincing William Forsythe) as a man with great compassion for his friends and equal disdain for his enemies. He holds grudges, barely flinches when trusted employees are picked off by car bombs and murders as easily as he breathes. This is an anti-hero I can root for.
Dr. Devlin’s not the only mob doctor. So far, Dr. Devlin has saved a criminal being poisoned by his wife, an alcoholic cop who plowed into a family while bombed, and some low-level mook with a screwdriver stuck in his head. SPOILER ALERT—In the closing seconds of the third episode, it’s revealed that Grace is not the only one with mad medical skills and nothing is ever at it seems. Franco, who had been tasked with disposing of a rival mobster's body, actually patched him up and shipped him off to the countryside to heal in an apparent attempt to take down his own boss. It was a sublime reveal for a show that needed a game-changing twist, and had me ecstatic that Michael Rapaport’s character, who was shockingly murdered in the first episode, will return for more mobby shenanigans.
“The Mob Doctor” airs Mondays on FOX at 9 pm EST.
Interested? Check out the preview for tonight's episode below.
YOUTUBE ypiOwVBtnps YOUTUBE
Photo Credits: FOX Broadcasting Company