Prognosis positive for ‘Monday Mornings,’ but ‘Do No Harm’ DOA
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org January 30, 2013 1:42PM
Alfred Molina plays a judgmental doctor on "Monday Mornings" on TNT. Doug Hyan, TNT
‘DO NO HARM’ ★
9 to 10 p.m. Thursdays on WMAQ-Channel 5
‘MONDAY MORNINGS’ ★★½
9 to 10 p.m. Mondays on TNT
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:34AM
A couple of new doctor dramas are about to make their debut: “Do No Harm” on NBC and “Monday Mornings” on basic cable network TNT.
Both shows’ pilots happen to feature an operating-room scene set to a Rolling Stones song. That’s where the similarities end.
“Monday Mornings” is a solid-but-not-particularly-special medical drama based on a novel by the same name from CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“Do No Harm” is an unintentionally laughable spin on the classic tale of Jekyll and Hyde. Its outlandish conceit revolves around a surgeon (Steven Pasquale, “Rescue Me”) with a remarkably punctual split personality.
By day, Dr. Jason Cole is a boring do-gooder, a brilliant neurosurgeon. By night — make that 8:25 p.m. on the dot — he morphs into Ian Price, an amped-up version of Charlie Sheen circa his hedonistic “winning” phase.
As these dual personalities vie for dominance, Dr. Cole and his confused, clueless co-workers — including his boss, played by Phylicia Rashad of “The Cosby Show” — go about treating cases of the week in what amounts to a mundane procedural gussied up with a gimmicky twist.
The only thing hokier than the show’s preposterous premise is the writing.
“I’m going to filet you open like a fish, slowly, and let you bleed,” a man growls cartoonishly in the second episode to Dr. Cole, thinking he’s talking to Ian Price.
Here’s hoping “Do No Harm” gets toe-tagged sooner rather than later.
The more promising “Monday Mornings” comes from producer David E. Kelley (“Boston Legal,” “Chicago Hope”) and stars Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction”), Alfred Molina (“Law & Order: L.A.”), Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Jennifer Finnigan (“Better With You”).
The title of the show, set at a fictional hospital in Portland, Ore., refers to the staff’s weekly morbidity and mortality conference, or M&M.
In the real world, an M&M is a chance for doctors to kibitz with their peers for a confidential review of medical mistakes and complications that cropped up in patient care.
On “Monday Mornings,” the M&M is more often a public shaming of whichever doc is unlucky enough to get dressed down that week by the sharp-tongued chief of staff (Molina).
Unlike some medical dramas that fixate on diagnosing and treating bizarre medical maladies, “Monday Mornings” spends a fair bit of time probing controversial and ethically complex issues like organ donation, informed consent, health insurance and advance directives. But that, coupled with a cast of characters who don’t become all that compelling after three episodes, isn’t enough to elevate the series above the rest of the pack.
Bottom line: If you’re a fan of medical dramas, slot “Monday Mornings” into your rotation.
If you’re not, this won’t make you one.