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Grace Under Fire: The Mob Doctor Pilot Review

By on August 9, 2012
© 2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo by Mathieu Young/FOX

© 2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo by Mathieu Young/FOX

With the demise of House, Monday nights on FOX have been that much emptier without a medical drama to cuddle up with, but could The Mob Doctor, premiering Monday September 17, be the next new thing?

It’s off to a good start, in a smartly orchestrated time 9 pm slot, following Bones at 8 pm. Executive-produced by Josh Berman (Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Drop Dead Diva) and Rob Wright (Crossing Jordan) It also boasts a solid cast including My Boys‘ Jordana Spiro, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jamie Lee Kirchner, Zach Gilford, James Carpinello and Wendy Makkena. The additional casting of Zeljko Ivanek, William Forsythe and guest star Michael Rappaport bring added gravitas to proceedings.

Show Creator Josh Berman Talks The Mob Doctor with Screen Spy

However, The Mob Doctor, as its title suggests, is more than just a straightforward latex snapper. At the center of the show is Grace Devlin, a gifted surgeon who is forced to moonlight for the South Chicago Mob in order to pay off her brother’s gambling debts. And it’s here that the show becomes a sometimes uneven hybrid of genres. There’s a lot to get across in the pilot’s 45 minutes, and at times the Mob suffers at the expense of the Medicine.

Spiro’s Devlin comes across as the most well-rounded character on the show, with the pilot delving into her past as well as her work ethics and core beliefs. However her family, concerned boyfriend and co-workers serve as little more than intriguing window dressing at this point – something we hope is addressed in episodes to come because there is a lot here to play with.

The pilot gallops along at breakneck speed (at times accompanied by a rocking soundtrack including Gin Wigmore’s Black Sheep) and we watch as Grace struggles to keep up appearances at the hospital, while dealing with an unprofessional boss (David Pasquesi), a jealous rival (Jamie Lee Kirchner) and Mob boss Paul Moretti (guest star Michael Rappaport) who requires appeasing, all at the same time.

William Forsythe is disarmingly charming as retired Mafioso Constantine Alexander. He has a history with Grace’s family, and a possible thing for her mother. How dangerous is Constantine likely to be in future episodes? With Rappaport’s Moretti stealing with show in the pilot, Constantine is going to have to break new horrible ground in order for the audience to truly fear him and believe that Grace’s mob debt is a real and palpable thing.

The pilot must be commended for its bravery in serving up not only a pretty big story that other shows might have tucked away for a season finale episode but also a surprise ‘reset’ style ending. Overall The Mob Doctor pilot delivers. There’s plenty here to keep audiences speculating about what’s coming down the line.

A good medical drama is only as interesting as the patient of the week. It therefore stands that The Mob Doctor, with its dual themes, must work twice as hard to present and balance two distinct threads without one overshadowing the other. However, if the medical cases continue to be as engaging as those in the pilot episode, and if we get to see and explore Grace’s Mob connections in more detail, Monday nights may just prove a winner for The Mob Doctor.

Catch the season premiere Monday September 17 at /8c on FOX.