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"Mob Doctor" Review: It's Definitely a Show About a Doctor Who Works for the Mob

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 17, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 17, 2012 |

Doctor, Cop, or Lawyer Show? Doctor show.

Premise: An attractive thoracic surgeon, Grace, who already has her hands full with a surgical practice in a hospital also has to treat mobsters because the mafia has leverage over her due to a debt her brother owes to the mob. In the pilot episode’s A-plot, she is asked to treat an informant in the witness protection program, and has to decide between saving him and killing him during surgery per orders from the mob. Her decision sets something with potentially huge repercussions into motion, but because this is a network show, those repercussions will probably only be dealt with during mid-season and season finales, and season premieres.

Cast: Jordana Spiro (“Harry’s Law,” “My Boys,”) as the Mob Doctor, Justin Rapaport as a mobster, Zeljko Ivanek (“Damages”) as the chief of surgery, Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”) as a doctor/love interest, William Forsythe (“Boardwalk Empire”) as a retired mobster-type slash father figure to the mob doctor, and some blandly recognizable actors as doctors, federal agents, and mobsters.

Sample Medical Case A high-school student who gets pregnant by outercourse, i.e., her boyfriend ejaculated near her, and the girl has a particular kind of thin hymen that creates an air duct that is capable of attracting a sperm even if there’s no actual intercourse.

Is It a Procedural? It’s a hybrid procedural mixed with a serialized arc, though it’s too early to say what the mix will be. My guess is that it will be 80/20 procedural.

If It’s a Procedural, Does It Transcend the Format? On the rare occasion, a network procedural transcends the format enough to make it decent background watching (“Castle”) a guilty pleasure (“Bones”) or something decent to watch with your parents (“Persons of Interest”).

“Mob Doctor” actually has the potential to fit into the latter category, but it’s unlikely to come anywhere near meeting that potential. The serialized arc — working for the mob — has some intrigue, not because of the medical cases but because of her own personal involvement in the criminal activity of the mob. If the show were on FX or AMC, I’d stick with it because the mob doctor might actually travel down a dark, narrative path toward becoming a true anti-hero instead of simply a good person bent over a barrel.

As it is, it’s a Fox show, so it will undoubtedly focus mostly on the weekly medical cases, and on Grace’s ability to work around her duties to the mob without actually killing anyone or breaking any laws. That’s no fun at all.

Should you watch it? It’s very unlikely to ever be as good as the pilot episode, and the pilot episode wasn’t very good to begin with. If you’re a junkie for medical procedurals, it might be worth watching just to see if it improves. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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