Tag Archives: Mike Farrell

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: another chat with Jeffrey Lieber

3 May

Jeffrey Lieber, executive producer of Miami Medical, was kind enough to talk with me a bit more about how the show is coming along and what we might hope to see soon. Here’s what he said, in question and answer format.

Enjoy! And please check out the show Friday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

Jeffrey Lieber

The viewership popped up this week from 6.08 million to 6.7 million, which to my math-addled mind I’ve been told is about 30 percent. Is there a magic number that will get the show renewed? If we keep seeing viewership rise, when can we breathe a sigh of relief?
There is no magic number, especially since CBS will be making the final decision in the next two weeks. This means that by the time we would get to any specific number… we’ll know about season #2. That said… our case will be vastly improved if we continue to hold Medium’s lead in and if the next two weeks — with original lead ins — keep trending up.
If the show is renewed, when will it return? I’m not sure I understand how “seasons” work on TV. I’ve seen speculation that it would be back in the fall? Is there a chance CBS will give it a better time slot if it is renewed?
Good question… without a clear answer. Most likely we’d return in the fall… meaning September, but I suppose there’s a world where we get renewed for midseason again (AKA after January 2011). The latter would be hard because part of the numbers game is getting a solid launch with schedule flow… which is just harder in the middle of a television season.
You said previously that the show would start to break from formula a bit in upcoming episodes — any hints or teases for us?
Two of the last three teases include our characters and one of those teases doesn’t even involve a trauma incident per se. Additionally, the last three season one episodes really push character, with more leaning on the lives of Proctor, Zambrano, Deleo, Warren and Tuck.
There are some pictures out there from CBS of Doc Proc in a jogging suit in the snow — does that mean we’ll get to see a flashback of what happened to him before this season is over?
Yes. ;)

Doctor Proctor, played by Jeremy Northam, takes a jog

Mike Farrell was great to watch in Golden Hour. He and Jeremy Northam worked well together — I loved watching some of the glances between the two of them during Proctor’s speech, especially when he performed surgery on the chicken. Will we see Farrell again? Any other well-known special guests coming to the show?
Mike Farrell will hopefully be back in season 2. He was great in the episode and an administrator above Proctor as we go forward. As for other guest stars… I’ve been told that CBS publicity will take a toe every time I pre-announce anything so I must demure.
You outed yourself on Twitter the other day as a Cubs fan and you revealed that Doctor Zambrano’s name came from Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Do any other names from the show have interesting stories like that?
Not in the main cast. My kids are both named in the next episode I wrote (not this week, but next) and Steve Maeda is always trying to get crazy names on his character. The truth is all names have to “clear” legally so a lot of times you start out with a name that has meaning, but it changes once the studio lawyers get a hold of it. The “Eva” in Eva Zambrano was like that. Her original name was “Marisol” Zambrano, but when it didn’t clear… we were sent a list of alternatives and — with Lana — we chose Eva. (In fact, now that I think of it Matthew Proctor was originally… Thomas Proctor.)
We’re seeing the first fan videos of the show come out on YouTube — generally comprised of some grabs from the show overlaid to music. How do you feel about these things? They apparently take a long time to put together and show a sort of labor of love by the fans, but at the same time, I wonder how you feel about people grabbing bits of your show and playing with them?
I LOVE this stuff. You have to realize how hard it is for all of us to separate the “character” from the “actor” and the “costumes” and the “set” and a thousand other production based facts. These videos are like the audience washing away all those details and returning the characters to us in pure form. Its very kind and flattering.
Many thanks to Jeffrey for talking to me again. And make sure you watch the show Friday nights at 10 p.m.!

Here’s a little gallery of some of the fan videos to pop up so far:

And this one, which has embedding disabled by request: This Never Happened Before (Eva/Proctor, Miami Medical)

by SueVo

originally published at The Exploding Egg and reproduced here by kind permission

Miami Medical, The Golden Hour, “my chap” takes the show to a new level

2 May

My apologies, regular readers, for the slight delay in reviewing Friday’s Miami Medical episode, The Golden Hour. The shocking truth is that I have been Seeing Another Actor…I’ve been in London seeing Toby Stephens in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. It was wonderful and Mr Stephens charm and patience personified at the stage door.

But enough of that (and for the benefit of those who know Stoppard’s play), of course it is Jeremy Northam who is “my chap”, so how delighted was I to return from rainy, cold grimy old London (feeling like I “had been run over, very slowly”) and be transported, by the power of tv, to sunny Miami and an episode in which Jeremy was every bit as impressive as Mr Stephens. If you’re tempted to be as snobbish as Toby’s character Henry is accused of being about what could be perceived as “non-serious writing”, there’s no need because this week’s episode of Miami Medical contained the best writing of the season so far.

"My chap" Dr Proctor

Miami Medical really seems to have found its stride now that we are at episode 5, and I am completely chuffed to see that the viewing audience for this episode was up by 30%. This is wonderful news! But don’t think I’m going to let you rest on your laurels…next week, let’s make sure even MORE people watch!

Excuse me, may I operate on your dinner?

But let’s face it, it’s not going to be a hard sell because The Golden Hour was, by far, the best yet. It flowed well and the speech by Dr Proctor with his “tease” which leads us through the episode was a very successful twist on the format. To date, Jeremy’s Dr Proctor has had the most interesting strands of each episode with the stories of his patients being the most affecting. I’m not quite sure if this has been intentional or is merely a by-product of Jeremy’s charismatic on screen presence. This week, everything felt rather more in balance, though I do have a “favourite patient” (Jackson, the homeless man), and the sub plot of Dr Zambrano’s Bad, Bad Day was cute and nicely played. For me, the resolution was a little too like Fortunato’s luck re-played, but that’s me being picky (note, not snobby!). It was good to see more of Omar Gooding’s Nurse Brody, there’s something disarmingly sincere about him. I’m hoping Mike Vogel is given a little more to do next time out, his is really the only character I don’t yet feel I quite “know”.

Dr Proctor extracts a dime or two

And so to Dr Proctor’s speech. I loved it, didn’t you? Jeremy Northam lifted this episode up and carried us all through it, and I enjoyed his discomfort, the dominoes, his eccentricity (the dissection of the chicken and potato was inspired and bravo to the man playing the potential donor with glasses!), his passion, and the emotional kick that was sprung on us at the end when we finally find out which patient dies (and why) was very powerful. So good to see Jeremy being allowed to play to his skill set and raise the drama above the “mediocre”. Here was no Sir Robert, forceful and commanding (see my previous article), but the speech was as powerful and passionate nonetheless. There was something very endearing about Proctor this week (vulnerability will get a girl each and every time), more so than usual, and his scenes with Mike Farrell (who gets my prize for being the only actor I’ve yet seen who is taller than Jeremy!) a treat. Please can we have Mr Farrell back again, that chemistry worked really well. It was a nice touch by the writers (take a bow, Messrs Lieber and Shapiro, you wrote up a storm!) to shake us up, as well as the potential donors, and show us the reality of trauma hospitals and why they need to exist (it’s no secret that Mr Lieber’s wife knows this only too well from personal experience). The patients and their stories became all the more real for that perspective, and this extra layer to the episode raised the show’s game.

Jeffrey Lieber told The Jer Blog that the template for each episode would be varied from now on in, and if this week’s episode is anything to go by, I think we can afford to feel a little frisson of excitement ahead of next week’s episode, Calle Cubana. More on that soon!

It’s not just me who watched and liked, check out SueVo’s review over at The Exploding Egg as well.

by henrysmummy2003

with many thanks to Joan aka HazelP for the images

%d bloggers like this: