Photo Credit: Courtesy of TNT/ Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Did you watch ER? Then you probably remember that famously harrowing episode, when a healthy pregnant woman entered the emergency room for a minor issue -- and was dead by episode's end. The likable Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) had made a small but devastating oversight in her treatment, and the personal and professional ramifications haunted him for several months to come.
TNT's new medical drama, Monday Mornings (premiering Feb. 4 at 10 p.m. ET) focuses entirely on what happens to doctors when it all goes wrong. On Monday mornings in room 311, the surgeons of Chelsea General hospital are gathered together for a Morbidity and Mortality meeting, in which they review the mistakes of one of their peers. Though it's fictional, there are real-life aspects of the show, which is based on a novel by CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and produced by David E. Kelley, who has brought us everything from L.A. Law to Doogie Howser, M.D.
"These meetings do exist," Gupta said during the Television Critics Association's recent press tour. "They can be raw and candid. This is about doctors holding each other accountable. We're going to a place which few people know about, which people rarely see."
As we learned from Grey's Anatomy, TV surgeons can be an arrogant lot (some might say it's a necessary trait for slicing people open for a living!), and this show is no exception."You got that Monday morning look in your eye," snarls Dr. Sydney Napur (NCIS: Los Angeles' Sarayu Rao) in one gripping promo. "What did I do?" She sure doesn't sound ready to apologize for anything. And when the chief of staff (Alfred Molina) is dressing down one of the superstar surgeons, he asks the doc why some people call him 007. The surgeon admits, "It has something to do with license to kill." That's just chilling.
Speaking of Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Napur sounds suspiciously similar to that show's cocksure Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh). The show's neurosurgeon, Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber), has an uncanny resemblance to Grey's own, wavy-haired neurosurgeon, Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). There's even a doppelganger for Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in an angsty blond named Dr. Tina Ridgeway (Jennifer Finnegan). Is Monday Mornings just Grey's Anatomy, Version 2.0, as one critic has suggested?
There will be similarities, of course. "Are we reinventing the wheel? Probably not," Kelley told reporters at TCA. "But is our wheel different from others that have been out there before? I think so."
True enough. They're certainly not going to cast a TV drama without pretty people in the main roles. But the meat of the show -- docs learning from fatal mistakes -- is a new kind of TV medicine.