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Excellent Fall Shows That Deserve your Attention Right Now: The Mob Doctor

By on October 11, 2012
Jordana Spiro in The Mob Doctor. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Nathaniel Bell/FOX

Jordana Spiro in The Mob Doctor. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Nathaniel Bell/FOX

I don’t know about you, but Fall TV tends to bring out the anxiety in me. There are so many new shows to check out, not to mention returning favorites, and so very little time to make those all important decisions – watch live, DVR or drop. We make the hard decisions, set our TV watching schedule and settle down to commit ourselves, but with the niggling worry that we may have made a mistake. Did we ditch a show too early? Are we losing out by not getting on board now? Should we be watching that other show on that other network instead? And if other people are making the same mistake, will we realize it before the season ends, or worse, before the show is prematurely cancelled?

Over the coming weeks we will be rounding up a collection of shows (both new and returning) which we feel truly deserve your attention this Fall. The candidates are diverse – ranging from Scifi to Medical Dramas, but they each have one thing in common – defining elements that make each unique and well worth a second – or even third – pass.

We’re kicking things off with The Mob Doctor, which airs Mondays on FOX and stars Jordana Spiro as a South Chicago surgeon who struggles with a family debt to the Mob.

The Mob Doctor is a very clever show which has been criticized by some reviewers for being about two things. But honestly, since when has good drama ever not been about two things? (A Tale of One City, anyone?) Mob Doctor is all about the juxtaposition, which is what makes it a superior hour of TV. A struggling young doctor finds herself torn between a promising medical career and a life of indenture, between an old lover and a new, between family and obligation, between the past and the future. Reminiscent of The Sopranos, Mob Doctor shows two sides of the coin, as illustrated perfectly in a recent episode which dealt with the trauma of a family involved in a fatal car crash and the driver of the other car that caused the accident. So yes, this is a show about two things – and in this case two things really are better than one.

Grace (Jordana Spiro, L) and Brett (Zach Gilford, R). Co. CR: Nathan Bell/FOX

We have a habit of labeling shows, and The Mob Doctor seems to have been labeled to within an inch of its life, which I honestly feel has not done the show any favors. If you tune into an episode wondering if it’s Goodfellas meets Grey’s Anatomy, or more The Sopranos meets House then you will most likely be disappointed. Despite the caliber and/or success of these shows, and the good intentions of those who made the comparisons, Mob Doc is best enjoyed without any preconceptions. It has its own thing going on, and you need to clean the slate in order to make room to experience what exactly that is.

A large part of the appeal of this show is how generous the writers are with their reveals, twists and story developments. Events which any other show would hold in reserve for a mid-season or season finale, Mob Doctor serves up on a weekly basis. Threads don’t dangle for long. Plot twists don’t thwart the audience but rather serve to open up new pathways to explore. We are living in a post Lost era, where ambiguities and mysteries aren’t easily tolerated by audiences, and this show seems to know what not to do. If Mob Doctor were food it would be an all you can eat buffet.

If you’re looking for another reason to watch The Mob Doctor (apart from all that great nuance and a feeling you’re in safe story-telling hands) then the cast is surely it. It’s got people like William Forsythe and Michael Rapaport and Željko Ivanek who just eat up the screen with their presence. It’s a treat to see smart drama acted out on screen by really great actors.

Is it too late to catch up now? It’s not actually. The show has aired four episodes, which you can watch right now and is set to return on November 5th with more, so there’s still time to get acquainted with this over-labelled and misunderstood gem.

Miss out on The Mob Doctor? Fuggedaboutit!


One Comment

  1. Jamie Krakover

    October 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I really wanted to like this show but I couldn’t get into it. And with so many other new and returning shows I couldn’t keep up with something I wasn’t into. 🙁