Tonight sees the final ever episode of the wonderful Miami Medical, the show that’s given us all such enjoyment and which has ended all too soon. It seemed fitting to let the show’s creator and exec producer (and all-round great guy) Jeffrey Lieber have the final word. I caught up with him today, here’s what he had to say…
Jeffrey Lieber, Miami Medical's creator
So, very sadly, this Friday sees episode 13, our final ever episode of Miami Medical. Can you tell us about Medicine Man?
The medical story of Medicine Man was inspired by an article we came across that said that people without health insurance were vastly more likely to die in a trauma incident than people with health insurance. It didn’t intellectually make sense – because trauma is about saving lives and damn the health insurance – until we realized that people without health care COME INTO a trauma event less healthy and therefore are in worse shape to start with. Steve Maeda wrote the script and there’s two great guests turns… one from W. Earl Brown (of Deadwood fame) and the other from a duck.
When we spoke around the time of the show’s cancellation, you were feeling sanguine, if disappointed. Since the cancellation, viewer numbers have actually increased, which must be very unusual. Miami Medical viewers are feeling very angry with CBS about their decision and feel the show wasn’t given a fair chance. If you’d had a 13 episode first season, things could be looking very different. What are your thoughts about it all now?
I’m still mostly sanguine. The ongoing life or death of a television show hinges on a thousand different things… most of them related to business… which we (writers, actors, crew)… have no control over. What we do have control over is what went on the screen and that… I was very proud of. Also, I, for one, got great satisfaction from the response from the people I ultimately work for… which is the audience. On the whole, the people who found the show seemed pleased/entertained/moved and that’s ultimately why I write.
Fans of the show have been asking if there is any chance that Miami Medical might still be rescued by CBS or picked up by another network. Are you able to give us the final word on that?
The sets are gone. The actor contracts are timed out. The writers – including myself – are elsewhere.
I’d say this is pretty much a done deal.
The extra 5 episodes we’ve been seeing since the cancellation have all been excellent. What was the reasoning behind those particular episodes being set aside?
It wasn’t based on “good episodes” or “bad episodes,” but mostly had to do with pairings. All Fall Down and What Lies Beneath are tied together because of the “Zambrano ends up in Proctor’s bed” story and Calle Cubana and Man On The Road are tied together because Tuck gets stabbed. The last five episodes were mostly stand-alone and allowed us the best chance of slotting them in (with some reshoots) into a potential cohesive second season.
Do you have a personal favorite episode from the entire run?
I have a BUNCH of favorite episodes, but Golden Hour has a special place in my heart. It was the last one we shot and I think it encapsulated what the show could have become, given the space and time to mature.
No doubt there have been many highs and lows along the way. Can you clue us in to a few favorite moments, and maybe a few you’d rather forget!?
There were a TON of high moments. The read-through of the pilot happened to fall on my 40th birthday, which was great. The first time I walked on the set was breathtaking. Sitting in a car on Westwood Boulevard and taking photos of one of the BIG ASS billboards for the show was giddy-making. And the people… cast, crew, writers, audience… have all been unmitigated pleasures. As for the forgettable moments… I’ve already forgotten them.
If you manage to get a DVD together, will we get to see any outtakes?
We will have a DVD (soonish I hope) but it will likely not have any extras (one season shows get just the basics). That said, I’m thinking about ways to provide some extra content to fans who purchase the full first season.
Mr Bruckheimer is obviously pleased with your work as you’re back working for JBTV, writing for The Whole Truth and soon, you’ll be putting together a pilot. Can you tell us about how that’s all going?
The Whole Truth is going very well. I’m writing what will be the third episode shot. And, as for development… we’re just getting under way. A lot of ideas are being bandied about, but I’m not able to disclose anything more. I will say… the show won’t be medical.
Fans of the show have all (understandably) concentrated on the actors (who have all been excellent), but there have been lots and lots of people involved in making the show. Would you like to namecheck a few people without whom the show wouldn’t have happened, and will you be working with any of the Miami Medical team on your new projects?
I’m afraid to go into names because I wouldn’t want to forget anyone, nor would I want to diminish anyone’s work by mentioning them 2nd or 3rd or whatever. That said, I owe a great debt to Steve Maeda who came on as my partner in this venture. The history of arraigned partnerships in TV is littered with more corpses and “I won’t ever speak to that person again” feuds that anyone can count, so I am ENDLESSLY grateful to have lucked into a collaboration with someone as kind and talented as Steve.
We’d all like to thank you so very much for making yourself so accessible to the fans of the show. It’s been such fun and all of us are just devastated that it couldn’t go further with Miami Medical. Do you have a message for the show’s fans?
As I referenced above, we ultimately work for you guys, because if you guys don’t show up… we don’t exist. So, thank you for caring and engaging and fighting for the show.
And finally, US tv has been a new venture for Jeremy Northam, and we’ve loved seeing him as Proctor. I wouldn’t be doing my job as the owner of The Jer Blog if I didn’t ask you for a few words about our favorite actor.
He’s an incredibly talented man who brought a lot to the show. I, like you, look forward to what he chooses to do next.
So, that’s it, folks. I’m sure you’d all like to join me in thanking Jeffrey once more for all his co-operation and to wish him, and all the cast and crew, the very best of luck with their new projects. The Jer Blog will be sure to keep you updated about what both Jeremy and Jeffrey do next, as well as when DVDs become available.
In the meantime, don’t forget to tune in tonight for Medicine Man. We have a great episode in store as our series finale. Check out SueVo’s preview at The Exploding Egg.