For me, this week’s episode of Miami Medical marked another staging post in its journey from good to special. Nominally about Serena Warren’s first experience of calling time of death, the heart of the show was the visit to MT1 of Chris Deleo’s big brother Rick (played to perfection by chisel-jawed hottie Bailey Chase). At first, we think he’s a one-dimensional flirt, hitting on Eva through a competitive need to steal his brother’s girl, but as the show progresses, we learn that Rick is not well and has come to Eva for help. He wants his predicament kept secret, which leads to misunderstandings when Chris disturbs Eva and Rick together. Chris even diagnoses his brother’s complaint, not realising who Eva is scanning. Mike Vogel is wonderful throughout the episode, but in this strand in particular we realise just how much affection we have for Dr C. Jeffrey Lieber cited M*A*S*H as one of his inspirations for the show, and this week, as the chopper containing Rick took to the skies and Eva slipped her arm around Chris and began to tell him his brother’s secret, Miami Medical was not found wanting by the comparison.
We also see Dr C in a mentoring role, helping Serena Warren come to terms with calling her first time of death, as the various victims of a freak boating accident find themselves rushed to the trauma hospital. Sadly, one of a pair of twins fails to make it, despite Serena’s best efforts, and she is left devastated but with no opportunity to stop and deal with it. Proctor, as her boss, offers her (in typical quirky style) an analogy involving hot coals, in an attempt to explain that it never stops hurting, you just get used to it. She probably needed a hug (and, definitely, he’s a man who could do with several…).
The remaining twin has some odd symptoms, which are eventually diagnosed as Broken Heart Syndrome, a weakening of the heart muscle brought on by severe emotional stress. Proctor explains that our emotional state, though we may not believe it, does have an effect on our bodies. This is the man, don’t forget, whose own heart stopped. More of Proctor and his heart later…
Lis Harnois’ Serena Warren is such an appealing character, and Lis has been excellent in the role every week.
Our other trauma patient, Carla (Michaela Watkins) causes some consternation when both her husband and boyfriend arrive at MT1. The boyfriend, on learning that Carla may be paralysed for life, categorises himself as a ‘fling’ and a ‘fun guy’ and soon can’t be seen for dust. Needless to say, Carla’s estranged husband (beautifully played by Eric Lutes) comes up trumps. Okay, so slightly cliched, but it was a well played strand to the episode, the emotion was pitched just right (and you know how sensitive I am to these things!). Of course, Jeremy Northam’s presence as Proctor always ensures emotional authenticity, and he was prominent in these scenes. I can’t finish this part of my review without congratulating whoever it was that applied the alarming lump to Carla’s head!
And so we return to my favourite, the endlessly fascinating Proctor, and matters of the heart. We see him playing anatomical darts and we find out what happened on that date with Dr Sable. The poor man arrives at work the morning after the date asking for a saline drip to re-hydrate himself, and looks so genuinely wretched that his team can’t bring themselves to tease him too much about it. And in any case, there’s no point because, as usual, he’s not giving much away.
We were promised a peek into Proctor’s darkness, and I hope no-one missed it, during all the emotion surrounding the Rick storyline. It was beautifully handled by Jeremy, as Proctor revealed to Eva a little of what went wrong on his date. Even the accomplished heart surgeon wasn’t able to warm Proctor’s ailing heart, it seems, and the hangover wasn’t the result of a good night, but of Proctor’s attempts to loosen up and take the opportunity…
Proctor is a fascinating character, ‘the anti-House’, as someone described him, no less complex, but so much more appealing and intriguing, and of course (sorry Hugh) played by a far better actor. I adore this mixed up guy, and I suspect it won’t only be me who suffers from Broken Heart Syndrome in a couple of week’s time…
Despite the drop in viewing figures for this episode, Miami Medical still did well against the competition in the ratings. We wait to see what, if any, action CBS will take now that the cancellation of this great show seems to have been way too premature.
Check out SueVo’s review of this episode at The Exploding Egg.
The next episode of Miami Medical is Down to the Bone, originally intended to follow on from this week’s episode. More on that soon.