Tag Archives: Kari Matchett

Ten reasons I love ‘Miami Medical’

8 Apr

Can you believe it’s been a year already? Yes, it’s been a year since the man in the Phish t-shirt with the James Bond voice first came through the ambulance bay of Miami Trauma 1 and stole our hearts. When Dr. C. asked, “Ok, so who the h*** is that guy?” twenty minutes into the pilot episode, we could have given him the answer. After months of waiting, Dr. Matt Proctor, or as we’d already dubbed him, HotDocProc, had finally arrived. At last we were seeing Jeremy Northam in Miami Medical! Big smiles all around. And even though he was only with us for thirteen weeks, he and his Alpha Team colleagues left us with many happy memories.

To honor the anniversary of our first meeting DocProc on April 2nd, 2010, I thought I’d give you a list of ten things I love about the series he appeared in. Those of you familiar with the Reasons pieces I posted at Jeremy Northam Chat for the individual Miami Medical episodes know that the following list will be quite Proctor- (and Northam-) centric.

Ten things I love about Miami Medical

1. Jeremy Northam smack dab in the middle of it. What’s not to love? A terrific actor in an intriguing role will pique my interest in any new series, but this particular actor playing this particular part? Heaven! As the series unfolded we slowly got to know the gifted, mysterious Dr. Proctor. Handsome, sexy, funny, compassionate, and great at his job, he was a very attractive man. He was also a man with secrets he guarded closely. The few secrets Proctor revealed, like how he got the scar on his chest, only made him more compelling. And then there was his unique approach to the world.

“People consider me quirky?” he asked in Man on the Road.

Yes, we do, DocProc. And we love your quirkiness! We love your rooftop consultations, your paper airplanes, your bike rides that go nowhere, your arcane bits of information (the force of an alligator’s bite has 2000 pounds per square inch), and your use of food as “inappropriate props” during fundraising speeches. We found Matt Proctor completely irresistible—as irresistible as only Jeremy Northam could make him.

2. No wing collars or hats from the past for Mr. N. I love this about the series as much for Jeremy’s sake as for ours. We know how much he dreads seeing another part in a historical drama come his way and, although we might not share that dread, it was refreshing to see him in a contemporary setting, playing a character dealing with contemporary situations. While he didn’t look quite as dashing in Proctor’s scrubs as he does in period costume—Sir Robert Morton’s frock coat, Ivor Novello’s white tie and tails, Wigram’s fedora—at least the scrubs were that shade of blue Jeremy always looks so good in. As for the hats, which he once predicted will be mentioned in his obituary, well this role may have given him his best one yet. Who could ever forget the duck-feather medicine hat?

3. Jeremy flexing his comedic muscles. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jeremy Northam is a great dramatic actor. Much less well known are his comedic talents. I love that Miami Medical gave him the chance to be funny. Here are my favorites among the moments where Proctor made me laugh. From Diver Down, when he updates Tuck on their patients’ status instead of the other way around, ending the detailed recitation with a frustrated:

“And the vending machine in the back hall? It’s jammed. I’m either owed 85 cents or a bag of Funyons.”

The Golden Hour demonstration, using edible visual aids, of what a hemicraniectomy is. The way Helena Sable continually gets under his skin in An Arm and a Leg. His hangover and the cranky little “Ow” he lets out when Serena prods him about Dr. Sable in Time of Death. The pained look on his face when he admits to Chris that he considers the younger man a friend in Down to the Bone, and the way he turns tail and runs when Chris can’t help teasing him about it. And two perfectly delivered lines from Medicine Man: his comment to the psychiatrist that Jesse’s “religion” comes “complete with football chants and an apparent reverence for waterfowl,” and of course his “All hail the King of Quacksylvania!” proclamation that perfectly matches the adorably goofy way he looks in the medicine hat.

4. A few quiet words from Dr. Proctor. Most of the episodes featured a point when the pace of the action slowed and Proctor shared a quiet word with one of his colleagues. Everyone’s favorite example of this is probably from Calle Cubana, when he tells Eva that sometimes when there’s chaos all around you have to be as still as a rock in a great rushing river.

Other wonderful quiet Proctor moments: during What Lies Beneath, when he uses the example of his own heart attack to help Chris understand why he thinks Fortunato, the man impaled by a pole, is indeed a lucky man; in All Fall Down, when he pleads with Karen Simon to “Please, let me save your life;” and when he explains to Tuck in Medicine Man why he will wear the crazy duck hat during Jesse’s surgery.

Jeremy played all these scenes in an understated manner, keeping the emotion from becoming maudlin or melodramatic. Instead, he makes these moments thought provoking, with real emotional resonance. Even the odd parable about the lion tamer and the fire walker he tells Serena after she calls her first Time of Death is more than just another of Proctor’s quirks.

5. “How Does He Do That?” Scenes. This is my name for the amazing scenes where Jeremy manages to convey a lot of information about Proctor without doing or saying anything. Over the years Jeremy has learned to use the subtlest changes of expression or posture to communicate his character’s mental and emotional state. Miami Medical is full of instances of his brilliance at this neglected aspect of good acting.

Three scenes that stand out for me are when Proctor watches “lucky man” Fortunato with his family before his surgery, when he hears “fun guy” Marcus explain that he didn’t sign up for wheelchairs and catheters when his girlfriend Carla becomes paralyzed in Time of Death, and as he listens to Eva’s heartbreaking story of how she and her parents came to the US in Like a Hurricane. The other actor has all the lines and actions in these scenes; Jeremy simply reacts. Yet we know exactly what’s going on with Proctor because of how Jeremy holds his body and adjusts his wonderfully expressive face.

Back when he was doing publicity for Emma, Jeremy described himself as a good “reactor” rather than a good actor. But that’s just typical Northam self-deprecation. The truth is this: he’s a superb actor, and he’s the best reactor I have ever seen. He is truly without equal. And he keeps getting better.

6. A great cast playing wonderful characters. Oh right! There were other characters besides Proctor, and other actors besides Jeremy Northam, on Miami Medical. Mike Vogel, Lana Parrilla, Elisabeth Harnois, and Omar Gooding ably rounded out the cast. Each actor brought his or her A-game to the series, making us care about their characters and want to know more about them.

They may have started out as recognizable stock characters—Eva Zambrano as the ambitious woman with no time for a personal life or Chris Deleo as the genius “cowboy” with an eye for the ladies—but they quickly became individuals as we learned details about their lives and watched them interact with one another. We didn’t get a chance to learn much about the backgrounds of first-year resident Serena Warren and Charge Nurse Tuck Brody; clearly if there had been a second season their backstories would have been filled in the way Eva’s and Chris’, and to a certain extent Proctor’s, had been in the first season.

I enjoyed watching the various relationships develop among the characters. Proctor quickly became a mentor to Serena, after a slight hint of something romantic between them, while his interactions with the other two doctors were more complicated. Proctor and Deleo did a bit of head butting like Bighorn Sheep, the testosterone practically palpable in the air between them, and then settled into an uneasy friendship with father/son overtones.

As for Proctor and Zambrano, some of us—including me—were rooting for them to get together as a romantic couple, especially after she ended up in his bed at the end of What Lies Beneath. That didn’t happen, but it was fun to watch their mutual admiration society grow on both the professional and personal levels.

Then there were the non-Proctor interactions that were just as satisfying: Serena and Eva’s sisterhood, girl-power scenes; Chris looking out for Serena like a big brother; and the flirty, friendly are-they-aren’t-they, will-they-won’t-they relationship between Chris and Eva.

And in among them all, holding everything together and sorely missed when he was gone, there was Tuck. We saw how much he meant to the others when he was attacked in Calle Cubana.

In addition to the five regulars, three delightful characters had recurring roles. I was always happy to see Jonathan Runyon as Paramedic Kleebus, Kathleen Early as Nurse “Chatty” Kathy, and Shanola Hampton as Nurse Graceffa.

7. And great guest stars. The series was blessed with many talented actors who appeared for one or two episodes as patients, colleagues or family members. I especially enjoyed the performances of the following (in chronological order): Michael O’Neill as Serena’s nemesis Dr. Bruce Angry Ortho Kaye in 88 Seconds and Down to the Bone, Emiliano Diez as Eva’s father Alberto Zambrano in Like a Hurricane, Mike Farrell (of course!) as Dr. Carl Willis in Golden Hour, Tim Guinee as the troubled Jackson Russell in Golden Hour, Valente Rodriguez as Fortunato Delgado in What Lies Beneath, Louise Lombard as adoptive mother Karen Simon in All Fall Down, Angelic Zambrana as Fia Roja in Calle Cubana, James Frain reunited with his Tudors costar as Brian Dempster in Man on the Road, Kari Matchett as the bewitching and bewildering Dr. Helena Sable in Man on the Road and An Arm and a Leg, Bailey Chase as Chris’ big brother Rick Deleo in Time of Death and Medicine Man, Jonathan Adams as construction foreman Colin Williams in Down to the Bone, and W. Earl Brown as the weird and wonderful Jesse Shane in Medicine Man. All of these actors helped to round out the world of Miami Medical and make it such a memorable place.

8. Elevator moments. Did you notice that every episode had at least one scene that featured the elevator? Often it was just a small part of a larger scene: Serena calling out to Eva “Okay, but you get Uncle Angry for Christmas!” as the elevator doors close on her in Down to the Bone after Eva makes her scrub in for surgery on their patient with Dr. Angry Ortho.

Or Proctor telling Chris that his favorite kind of freebie pens from the drug companies are the ones with “the little multicolored clicky things” in Like a Hurricane. The closing doors set up great exit lines: “No you won’t. And you won’t buy breakfast either,” insists a bemused Proctor after Helena Sable says she’ll drive them to their luminescent-jellyfish date in An Arm and a Leg.

Occasionally the elevator was setting of the whole scene: the discussion of tattoos by Zambrano, Nurse Graceffa and Proctor that takes place in Diver Down and ends with a clearly curious Proctor repeating the words “big, block letters?” Or the tense exchange between administrator Carl Willis and Proctor regarding the hospital’s desperate need for funds in Golden Hour. Sometimes the effect was comic, sometimes the tone was serious, but the elevator moments were always unforgettable.

9. Series creator Jeffrey Lieber and his team. I have nothing but praise and gratitude for the man who came up with the idea for Miami Medical and the group he assembled to bring the series’ 13 episodes to air.

Jeffrey continually impressed me with his professionalism in dealing with some of the uglier realities of running an American network television show. He has a wonderful sense of humor and the kind of attitude that will take him far. And he was extremely generous to all of us Jeremy fans. I know a lot of JN fans are now “JL” fans as well. Thanks for everything, Jeffrey! I wish you the best of luck with your next series and beyond. I’ll be watching.

10. The only gun we saw pointed at anyone turned out to be a water pistol. (Jackson Russell’s water weapon in Golden Hour.) Given that the setting is a trauma hospital, you’d expect violence to play a role in the series. Indeed, an act of violence set up each episode: an explosion, a shooting, an automobile crash, extreme weather, etc. What made the series different was that the emphasis was not on the violence itself, but on repairing its effects. I appreciated that the main characters’ job wasn’t about committing violence, but about healing people after violence has torn their bodies, and their lives, apart. That’s very rare on television these days and it’s probably what I love most about Miami Medical (Yes, even more than Jeremy’s presence in it.)

There are other items I could have chosen—I didn’t even mention DocProc’s shirtless moments! (I’ll take it for granted that’s something we all love about the series.) But I think I singled out the most important reasons I loved watching Miami Medical. They’re what I miss most now that the series is over. I’m sure you have your favorite things about Miami Medical. I’d love to hear what they are.

by LauraP

Miami Medical, Time of Death review, from the heart

21 Jun

Though I only have eyes for Proctor, I allowed myself a glance at guest star Bailey Chase

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.

Eva has something to tell Chris

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.

Poor Serena has a tough shift

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!

Carla's ex-husband Greg (Eric Lutes) with Proctor

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.

The morning after the night before, it's not only the jellyfish that are all washed up

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…

Lonely heart Proctor

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.

by henrysmummy2003

Miami Medical, Time of Death preview

17 Jun

Having been treated to a couple of early episodes (cut from the run when the season became 8, not 13) in the past two weeks, we now fast forward for this Friday’s episode, Time of Death, which fits in right after the season 1 finale, An Arm and a Leg. The episode is written by Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, and is directed by Chris Leitch.

So, we left Dr Proctor and Dr Sable going off to look at jellyfish together, with Proctor valliantly, and humorously, attempting to assert himself.  Although we don’t get to see Kari Matchett reprising her role as nobody’s fool, Dr Sable, we’ll find out what happened after those lift doors closed. Rather like the British yeast spread, Marmite, it seems Dr Sable is either loved or loathed by Miami Medical fans. The smart money is not on a happy ending…

About that crude shunt...

Time of Death revolves around the victims of a boating accident, and features a guest appearance by Bailey Chase (Saving Grace) as Rick Deleo, Dr C’s brother. We’ll also be seeing him in episode 13, Medicine Man.

Bailey Chase guests as Rick Deleo

The title refers to Dr Warren’s first time at pronouncing the time of death, so we can look forward to yet another great episode for Lis Harnois, who is really making a mark on this show.

Rather fabulously, last week’s episode had the most viewers since episode 2, and almost a million more than the week before. Miami Medical is really growing in popularity and the premature cancellation now looks like a colossal error by CBS…kind of like calling the time of death way too soon.

Here’s the trailer for Time of Death.

Sue has a preview of Time of Death up at The Exploding Egg, and she’s also blogged some thoughts about CBS.

by henrysmummy2003

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