Chicago ‘tough to beat’ as location for TV gangland drama ‘The Mob Doctor’
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticemail@example.com July 23, 2012 8:13PM
Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) plays a doctor moonlighting for the mob, with Zach Gilford as her unsuspecting boyfriend, on “The Mob Doctor,” premiering Sept. 17 on Fox.
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:10AM
LOS ANGELES — When it came to choosing a location for Fox’s new drama “The Mob Doctor,” it didn’t take long to settle on Chicago.
“It’s tough to beat Chicago for a mob town,” co-creator Rob Wright said told TV critics Monday.
“There’s really not a bad angle to shoot in Chicago,” Wright added. “It’s got an Old World feel to it, but it’s still very modern. It lets us take the legacy of Al Capone and bring it into the 21st century.”
Premiering Sept. 17, “The Mob Doctor” is one of several new fall shows built around female physicians. Others include Fox’s comedy “The Mindy Project” and the CW dramedy “Emily Owens, M.D.”
The lady docs in those shows are like Bridget Jones in scrubs, struggling with self-esteem issues and romance woes. The protagonist in the “Mob Doctor” has more pressing concerns.
Jordana Spiro (“My Boys,” “Harry’s Law”) plays tough-as-nails Dr. Grace Devlin, a cardiothoracic surgeon from Bridgeport who does double duty as a doctor for the mafia.
Devlin got roped into this Faustian bargain thanks to her screw-up brother, who landed on the mob’s rhymes-with-hit list.
To keep her sibling alive Devlin has to do the thugs’ bidding, which includes a variety of Hippocratic Oath-breaking tasks like removing incriminating bullets from dead bodies, patching up bad guys and attending to a racehorse with an uncontrollable erection (based on a true story, we’re assured).
“She has a moral compass but … the mob can be seductive,” said Wright (“Crossing Jordan”). “It’s going to be fun to see how far we can push her.”
Steppenwolf Theatre co-founder Terry Kinney (“NYC 22,” “Oz”) recently joined the cast as a bad guy. The show also features Evanston native Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights,” “Off the Map”) as Dr. Brett Robinson, Devlin’s love interest who’s in the dark about his girlfriend’s moonlighting gig with the mob. While she’s mixed up in the underworld, he’s embroiled in the equally cutthroat world of politics — especially in Chicago.
“As we move forward in the first season, we marked out some really interesting stories involving local politics and local politicians,” executive producer Carla Kettner said. “Chicago is such a rich tapestry of different forces coming together. As we know, even in state politics in Illinois, that’s not always rosy.”
Shooting begins Wednesday in Chicago, the setting for Spiro’s old TBS comedy “My Boys,” in which she played a sportswriter for the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Grace Devlin is more of a White Sox fan,” Spiro said. “I feel like I’ve covered the bases now in Chicago sports.”
The hospital portrayed in “Mob Doctor” is a mish-mash of three locations: McCormick Place, an old wing at Rush Medical Center and a set on the West Side built for the show.
“It’s a uniquely Chicago story,” said William Forsythe (“Boardwalk Empire”), who plays mob boss Constantine Alexander. In Chicago, he said, “it’s not all that usual that someone like Grace could grow up close to that [mob] world and yet be a legitimate person trying to make it.”
Forsythe knows a thing or two about portraying Chicago mobsters. He did a turn as Al Capone nearly 20 years ago in the TV show “The Untouchables.”
“I’m the king of Chicago again,” he said. “I get to bring the Outfit back to life.”