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‘Monday Mornings’ Recap: ‘Pilot’

Monday Mornings

Welcome to Portland’s Chelsea General Hospital. It’s buzzing with activity. Dr. Michelle Robideux (Emily Swallow) and Dr. Jorge Villanueva (Ving Rhames) examine a patient who’s just been brought into the ER. Dr. Sydney Napur (Sarayu Rao) deals with a difficult patient. Meanwhile, Dr. Tina Ridgeway assures a couple that their daughter is safe in the capable hands of brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber), who indeed safely removes her aneurysm.

Afterward, Dr. Buck Tierney (Bill Irwin) chews out Tina for kicking a sales rep out of her and Ty’s operating room during the procedure, drawing the ire of their chief of staff, Dr. Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina). On the surface, this seems like any other medical show.

Yet everything grinds to a halt when they’re all paged to Room 311 for a Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) meeting. Their colleague, Dr. David Martin, has killed another patient. Under Hooten’s direction, he’s hauled up in front of all his coworkers to recount how he treated a woman and missed her stage four bone cancer. She died three weeks after the cancer diagnosis.

Martin, who’s snidely nicknamed “007” because he has a “license to kill,” loses his medical privileges, is taken to task by an angry Villanueva, and disintegrates in public view. His collapse is uncomfortable to watch, but it’s also a painful truth. A life was lost, and there are consequences, regardless of how painful they may be.

This is not any other medical drama. This is Monday Mornings, from uber-producer David E. Kelley and based on the novel by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Villanueva reteams with Michelle to treat Quinn McDaniels, a young boy who’s had a head-to-head collision in a soccer game and has been complaining of headaches. Michelle pulls Villanueva aside to show him the giant tumor she found in Quinn’s temporal lobe. They bring in Ty for a consult, and he decides that surgery is required immediately. This is where Ty is at his best, calm and confident. He owns that room.

While Quinn is in surgery, Hooten does his best to reassure his mother, telling her that Ty is one of the best surgeons in the world, “committed and compassionate.” He offers to stay with her for awhile. It’s a complete 180 from the executioner who dispatched Martin earlier in the episode.

Yet that’s the duality of Hooten’s job description. He must demand the best from those under his authority, and also be there to support those who need him, whether it’s those same surgeons or the family of a patient. It’s easy to see how he rose to the top job at Chelsea General.

Sydney deals with the difficult patient’s attending (guest star Jonathan Silverman), who pages Tina to get Sydney off his case. Tina asks Sydney what her problem is, and Sydney lets slip that the previous night her boyfriend rescinded his marriage proposal when she got paged in the middle of it.

Elsewhere, Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim) consults a young woman who’s been suffering from inexplicable tremors, but claims they stop when she drinks wine. Park’s disinterested up until that last part. He bounces ideas off a team of clueless juniors not unlike an episode of House. He has no patience for anyone who can’t keep up. This is serious stuff and it deserves seriously committed people.

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