Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: The Mob Doctor, FOX, Mondays at 9/8c
The Pedigree: The show’s executive producers include Josh Berman (Bones, Drop Dead Diva), Carla Kettner (Vanished, Bones), Rob Wright (Las Vegas, Knight Rider, Drop Dead Diva), and Michael Dinner (Justified), who also directs.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The Mob Doctor stars Jordana Spiro of My Boys. Other regulars include Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), William Forsythe (Boardwalk Empire), Floriana Lima (Poor Paul), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Zeljko Ivanek (The Event, Damages), James Carpinello (The Good Wife), Jesse Lee Soffer (As the Word Turns), and Wendy Makkena (Sister Act).
The Premise: Young surgeon Grace Devlin is devoted to her career and helping people – but her family history also means she’s indebted to the Chicago mob, and they have plenty of demands for their pet doctor. So she struggles to balance these two sides of her life as well as her relationship with her boyfriend and the regular drama and politics that come along with life at TV hospitals.
What Works: Jordana Spiro is a strong lead, and the supporting cast is good as well. Some of the interpersonal dynamics are intriguing, and the pilot made me want to know more about the characters. I don’t want to spoil what I thought was actually a good twist, so I’ll just say that a few things happened toward the end of the pilot that shed new light on certain characters and made me much more interested in the show than I had been until that point. Let’s just say that I’d rather watch a show about moral ambiguities and difficult decisions than one about a blameless victim, and it looks like that’s where this is headed.
What Doesn’t: There’s a lot going on here – mob shenanigans, family drama, patients of the week, hospital politics, romantic entanglements. But pilots are like that, and it’s a little early to get a good sense of if and how this will even out. For now, none of these aspects were particularly outstanding. The medical cases were . . . not great. The writing was often clunky and heavy-handed. The positive aspects were enough to make me want to try a few more episodes, but this was definitely not one of the better-executed pilots I’ve seen. But I hope it has potential.
Our Favorite Line: “You know your Lord Acton, he had another saying. He said ‘Great men are almost always bad men.'” “You saying I’m a bad man?” “I’m saying we have a deal.”
Other Items of Note: Lord Acton said a surprising number of things you may have heard, actually – the other quoted in this episode is “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Want to learn more? Here you go.
You Might Like This If you like mob stories or medical dramas, of course, but also if you like shows about complex, morally ambiguous characters trying to figure out what choices to make. Or, you know, if you like to watch Zach Gilford’s pretty face.
If You’re Interested: FOX is rerunning the pilot on Friday at 9/8c. (You can also watch it on their site.) Then catch the next new episode in the show’s regular timeslot: Monday at 9/8c.
(Photo courtesy of FOX.)