Another great episode of Miami Medical has been watched by yours truly (take a bow, Jeffrey Lieber, who wrote Man on the Road). For anyone in the thrall of the acting genius that is Jeremy Northam, Man on the Road was a treat. While we wait to hear whether or not the show will be back for a second season (we’ll know next week), it has to be said that Jeremy has done a great job as Proctor (and at dispelling the myth that he habitually wears wing collars, says “I say”, and knows the Queen).
We saw many sides of Proctor last night, and I empathised with his frustration at the hospital bureaucrats “with their thumbs up their arses”, procrastinating while his patient’s life waned. Out there in the litigious Real World, this kind of situation is happening all the time.
It would have been easy to create a character for Jeremy who was a sarcastic, power crazy egomaniac (and Jeremy would have done a fabulous job), but I much prefer Proctor, and I’ve grown very fond of him. I think we have to thank both Mr Lieber and Mr Northam for having the perspicacity to use Jeremy’s skills in this way.
Jeffrey Lieber has told us that the story of where Proctor came from and who he was would trickle gently through each of the episodes in season 1, and last night we finally got to see what caused The Famous Scar. It wasn’t easy, watching Proctor felled by a heart attack and lying prone in the snow, cellphone just out of reach.
For many, I suspect that there was another aspect of this week’s episode that made it a hard watch. I’m thinking of anyone who has experience of degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MND, or Alzheimer’s. I’m very grateful that this part of the episode was in the very safe hands of Jeremy Northam and guest star (and fellow Englishman) James Frain. James, of course, gave an excellent performance as Thomas Cromwell in The Tudors. There have been one or two occasions where I’ve felt the patients could have been cast and played a little more successfully (no names, no pack drill), but James Frain’s Brian was beautifully realised. Being a cynical Brit (raised by Calvinist Scots), Mr Lieber sometimes pushes my “schmaltz-cringe” button, but Frain and Northam both accorded the subject of Alzheimer’s and DNR the dignity and emotional truth it required.
This week’s “variation on the format” saw intrepid child-doctor Serena Warren in the field, attending a plane crash with helicopter pilot Moose (guest Kevin Weisman). I hope that, in season 2 (see, I’m being positive), we get to see the docs on location again. I was thinking that if this had been a UK show, the little boy, Truman, would have been found dead, but I forgave Mr Lieber when I saw how well the juxtaposition of Brian and Truman worked. But I don’t quite forgive Elizabeth Harnois for shrieking “OMG!! OMG!!” like a character in Glee when she saw Truman from the helicopter…
There were some nice exchanges between Serena and Moose, as they pondered whether saving lives is always a good thing. I liked the way this worked with the DNR story, and we were treated to a lovely line, which makes it into my Miami Medical quotable hall of fame: “life is not a race and nobody’s keeping score”. Quick check…nope, schmaltz-cringe button not pushed!
After a lot of angst and worry, happy, happy, joy, joy, Nurse Tuck is in recovery, smiling and joking (what a relief, I adore Omar Gooding’s character) and obviously bearing no grudges, so maybe Serena can stop with the guilt?
And, of course, Tuck’s recovery after heart surgery brings me to my favourite strand of this week’s show, yes, Proctor and guest star Kari Matchett as Dr Helena Sable, cardiac surgeon. What fun that was (“nobody calls me Matthew” and the look on Proctor’s face were priceless), I loved seeing the crackling chemistry those two cooked up. Dr Proctor likes a feisty lady, does he? I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes!
Kari’s back next week, for the season finale, so maybe she’ll get that dinner…? If ever there was a man crying out for love and, erm, affection, it’s Proctor.
Man on the Road gave us a roller coaster ride, and so it was fitting that we caught our breath and went to the Crab Shack with the docs. Proctor has finally let his guard down, and hasn’t quite spilled all his secrets…but he has confessed that it’s good to be alive. I’ll go along with that, 100%.
Oh, and for those who have followed the show’s development through Twitter, do you remember reading about Jeremy’s rendition of the Monty Python classic, “Sit on my face”…? I have to say, he’s a man with a good sense of humour because that’s a big dog!
Next week is the season finale, An Arm and a Leg. Watch this space for more on that very soon. And while you’re waiting, check out SueVo’s review at The Exploding Egg.
Here’s the trailer for next week’s episode. Apologies for the poor quality, but it’s all I can access (legally) here in UK.