The Mob Doctor (FOX)
Premiered September 17 at 9pm
The concept for this show at once sounds intriguing and absolutely ridiculous. To frame an entire series around someone who has to do favors for the mob or risk the livelihood of those she loves demands that her actions, occurring on an episodic basis, would raise suspicion due to their sheer frequency. It would also seem that the mob has enough people on its payroll to position Grace to use her doctorly presence to get things done for them that they don’t even really need her. The pilot serves as a cheat of sorts, since she manages not to do the bidding of one gangster, only to find him infuriated and then killed by a gangster who happens to like her. I was surprised, both because of his resume and because of the trailer that revealed more than just the pilot’s content, to see William Forsythe as an apparently reformed gangster, and I must admit that he’s much more threatening with a European accent on “Boardwalk Empire.” That said, he’s a far better actor than Michael Rapaport, who is fortunately dead after a sufficiently irritating stint as Moretti. I’ve never been a huge fan of Jordana Spiro, who was on “My Boys” and was supposed to star in “Love Bites” before that project quickly flickered out of existence. Here, she’s far from likeable, and it’s difficult to sympathize with her even if her actions do help to save those around her. I wish that both Zach Gilford and Zeljko Ivanek had better roles, since a show like this might be worthy of their talents, but not playing doctors inexplicably loyal to eternal troublemaker Dr. Grace Devlin. There’s nothing about this show that ranks as outstanding, and despite what intends to be a creative premise, the show is extremely dull.
How will it work as a series? Since she cheated and didn’t do the bidding of the mob in episode one, the second installment, which I don’t plan on watching at this point, will provide a better sense of how the show will be formatted. Presumably, there will be an evil deed to be done each episode, and Grace will have to reason how to hurt as few people as possible without making herself known or How long will it last? The ratings for the first episode weren’t strong, and FOX has too many hits on the air right now to invest in a show like this if people aren’t watching. They had no qualms about cancelling most of their freshman slate last year, so I suspect that the quick demise of “Lone Star” in this same slot two years ago doesn’t suggest a long life of more than a few episodes for this series.
Pilot grade: D