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Dana Delany deserves better than ‘Body of Proof’


9:01 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays on WLS-Channel 7 (an additional episode airs at 9:01 p.m. this Sunday)

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Dana Delany deserves a lifetime achievement award for capturing our hearts on “China Beach,” coming off fairly well in “Exit to Eden,” goosing “Desperate Housewives” and not once complaining about being confused with Kim Delaney.

Her prize: this starring vehicle, in which Delany plays a former neurosurgeon trying to redeem herself as a medical examiner.

The procedural is maddeningly by the numbers. Dr. Megan Hunt has a colorful trench coat that embraces her femininity (see: “The Closer”) and an uncanny ability to tell people’s life stories just by looking at them (see: “The Mentalist”). Lesser doctors clamor after her for medical advice (see: “House”), but no proof is really needed when Dr. Hunt simply accuses the killer to his or her face and extracts a confession (see: “Perry Mason”).

Visually, you couldn’t ask for much more in a series. Everything Delany does seems calculated to convey sex, whether it’s striding stairs in a leather skirt and boots or slapping on some rubber gloves. She’s 55, and she’s spectacular. For backup, the luscious Jeri Ryan has been cast as Hunt’s boss.

Delany is as likable as possible in an extremely unlikable role. But the writing is a bit too tidy, and Delany’s smarty-pants approach gets old in the first 10 minutes. I’m sure Dr. Hunt’s road to redemption will be touching, but I doubt anyone is going to stick around to see it.

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