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British 'Bodies' Depicts Doctors with Flaws

(Posted September 26, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( - Viewers who find NBC's "ER" a little too intense for their sensibilities may want to steer clear of "Bodies," a gripping and uncompromising warts-and-all hospital drama premiering Thursday, Sept. 29, on BBC America.

Created by former doctor Jed Mercurio, this often bleak series is set in the obstetrics and gynecology unit of a large British hospital, where handsome and fresh-faced resident Rob Lake (Max Beesley, A&E's "Tom Jones") is starting work as the series opens.

Stunned by the punishing workload and crushing pressure, Rob quickly picks up on a startling problem: His new boss, Roger Hurley (Patrick Baladi, "The Office"), may be as camera-friendly as any TV medic, but he simply isn't very good. Accidents happen, to be sure -- Rob himself is responsible for one patient's death -- but Hurley seems to have a lot of accidents, and he rarely is willing to accept responsibility.

After one particularly unhappy blunder by Hurley permanently disables a young mother and causes the death of her newborn, Rob is poised to blow the whistle, but a colleague, anesthetist Maria Orton (Susan Lynch, "Ivanhoe"), beats him to the punch and officially files a complaint. Rob watches in dismay, however, as the other doctors -- even those who realize Hurley poses a risk -- close ranks against Orton to protect this member of the staff.

As Rob begins to buckle under the double body blows of external pressures and internal politics, he seeks solace in secret meetings with married nursing supervisor Donna Rix (Neve McIntosh, "Gormenghast"), frenzied and furtive sessions that act as a physical release but only heighten Rob's sense of isolation.

Comparisons to current U.S. medical dramas such as "ER" and "House" may seem inevitable, although "Bodies" sidesteps the feel-good finales American hospital shows usually feel obligated to give viewers.

During its original run in the United Kingdom, "Bodies" drew across-the-board praise from critics but, perhaps more to the point, doctors and other medical workers also noted how accurately the series captured a side of their world that is rarely if ever seen on TV.

As is the case with many British dramas, the first season of "Bodies" consists of only six one-hour episodes, which unfold weekly through Thursday, Nov. 3. (A second season recently wrapped production in England).

Source: Zap2it

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