TV preview: Hank Stuever on CBS's 'Miami Medical'

The medical drama follows a team of surgeons/adrenaline junkies -- from a workaholic to a playboy -- as they try to survive life working at one the country's top trauma facilities. Series premieres April 2 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
By Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 2, 2010

There were assurances that this hospital drama would be somehow different from all others that have failed to grab viewers lately, but CBS's "Miami Medical" is just one more frenetic mess of doctors, panic and swooshing-whooshing-slicey-dicey stuff -- from aerial shots to scalpels to bleating EKG monitors. Attractive doctors provide urgent trauma care to really, really injured tan people in sunny, sunny Florida.

"Miami Medical," debuting Friday night, is all about the "golden hour" -- those precious 60 minutes after a horrifying incident (car crash, explosion, gunshot or worse) that make the difference between life and death. The doctors at Miami Medical really lay it on thick as their patients arrive via the rooftop helipad: Don't worry! You're at Miami Medical! We're the best. This is your golden hour!

The mangled are whisked into a TV hospital that is impossibly clean and stylish, with floors so white that the place looks like an ice rink. Here they administer Biscayne relief.

Ugh, doctors. I can only diagnose these shows with medical metaphors. It's a chronic condition. (Doc, I have this thing. I keep getting these, these hospital dramas all over me.) After "ER" signed its DNR release last season, the hospital is simply not the place you want to go, unless you have the ambulance take you to see "Nurse Jackie" on Showtime. (Now there's some health-care reform.)

As for NBC's "Mercy" and "Trauma" -- if you've seen either of those, it's because your nurse wouldn't change the channel for you. And I don't know what to tell you about all those people still watching "Grey's Anatomy"; the CAT scans show that the viewers have brain activity, so it's a mystery.

"Miami Medical" is every bit as pained as "Three Rivers," the organ-donor series that CBS tried to launch in the fall. To save that show, the producers cracked it open, replaced some cast members with transplants, and then sewed it back up and called a priest.

"Miami Medical" should be better than "Three Rivers." It was transferred from Bruckheimer Permanente, which delivers ratings juggernauts -- such as the "CSI" triplets and "Cold Case." Bruckheimer and company like shows that open with victims who are about to meet some manner of grisly unpleasantness, up to and including bleeding to death.

In Friday's "Miami Medical," a young couple on vacation are driving around South Beach in a convertible. She's seven or eight months pregnant. He's so in love with her. She's so pretty. She wants yogurt. Cover your eyes. Don't look.

Once the yogurt shop has blown up and the couple's car has been creamed by a truck, it's time to meet our heroic doctor cast. You'll swear you've met them before. One's Latina, one's a hunky dude, there are some others (I remember a young blond woman), and then there are two black dudes-- but one of them, the boss, loses his mind, strips naked and walks out of the hospital.

So it's time for a new boss, then. I'm sad to report that he turns out to be the otherwise gifted British movie star Jeremy Northam, who has decided to donate his acting career to network science.

Over time, viewers are supposed to get to know the doctors better. But who has time? This is the golden hour -- the premiere episode! We only have seconds, dammit! Hope is ticking away for the new series, and we've got severed arteries here, plus a hand to reattach. Cover your eyes. Don't look. (I said, don't look!)

Miami Medical

(one hour) premieres at 10 p.m. Friday on CBS.

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