For The Mob Doctor, that moment came 10 minutes in. The Mob Doctor, Grace, has just been briefed on her new heart patient, who is in the witness protection program. She then receives flowers from a “boyfriend,” with a card that reads – in GIANT BLOCK SHARPY LETTERS – “KILL HIM”.
Look, you can tell me a lot of lies about how gangsters send their messages, but I’m pretty sure greeting cards with “KILL HIM” are a liiiiittle hard to believe.
This was quickly followed by minute 12, where Gangster Michael Rappaport (and hey, who doesn’t love Michael Rappaport) refers to the heart patient as “that trash pail informant,” reminding me that oh right, on a Fox program mob bosses can’t curse. That trash pail informant sure is a dirty poop bucket. A FILTHY BUCKET OF POOP.
Minute 13 informs me that this show is based on “Il Dottore: The Double Life of a Mafia Doctor,” by Ron Felber, and I’ll bet you that’d be an interesting book to read, that bares little to any resemblance to this show (see also: Anthony Bordain’s “Kitchen Confidential” and the ill-fated Fox comedy that used it for source material).
Then there’s Minute 20, where gangster William Forsythe starts the quote, “Power corrupts, and absolute power…” and Mob Doctor Grace finishes, “…corrupts absolutely.” And the show treats this like no one has EVER HEARD THIS PHRASE BEFORE.
Minute 26: Mob Doctor Grace has blown the whistle on an attending whose shitty recommendations led to the death of one of Grace’s patients. His response to her confrontation? “This isn’t over…” right into her ear.
Now, I don’t know every SINGLE person on Earth? But I still feel comfortable saying that nobody has ever told anybody that something wasn’t over, who wasn’t also a 15-year-old Mean Girl. He could have said “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen” and it would’ve carried the same dramatic weight.
Hi there, Minute 29, where Gangster Michael Rappaport informs Mob Doctor Grace that they’ve provided a poison needle for her to inject into the witness protection guy during tomorrow’s surgery. The fact that they can sneak mislabeled meds into an O.R. begs this obvious question: how the hell’s this dude alive at all? Involving a doctor actually seems like the mob might be making things too hard on itself.
Oh boy, Minute 32, where dialogue becomes exposition with the breeze of a frenemy’s breath: “Grace, I realize you’re a plucky Southside girl who became a big city doctor, but you are no better than anybody else here, and at the end of the day, we all want to work with colleagues who have our backs. Nobody wants to work with a rat.”
Boyfriend follow-up: “I’m glad you exposed Flannigan, but I don’t agree with your approach.”
But…but how do they REALLY feel?
So yes, The Mob Doctor: A show as stupid and lazy and obvious and dull as its title would suggest.
What’s sad? There’s actually an interesting show to make with the premise of a doctor who’s in deep enough with the mob to be doing them increasingly compromising favors. It’s just not this one, which feels like a somewhat diverting B-story from “ER” got spun off into its own series.