Nurse Colleen McMurphy of China Beach was one of the most memorable characters in the history of television. But since 1991, when that show ended, Dana Delany has done little of note. I do remember her guest appearance on THE L WORD fondly, and she is in a film called MULTIPLE SARCASMS, which I have yet to see, but in general, her performances in film and television have been a bit forgettable. Nonetheless, I make a point of watching whatever she does, in case the brilliance of McMurphy should return unexpectedly.
Having said all that, in BODY OF PROOF, which premiered on ABC last Tuesday, she is not bad. There are elements of Greg House in Dr. Megan Hunt. She is disabled in a life-changing way. And she is bright enough to mock the other doctors while solving their patients’ problems. Her marriage has fallen apart because of her brilliance. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
But there are enough similarities between the plotline of a RIZZOLI AND ISLES episode (Season 1 Episodes 3 & 4) and the pilot to make me wonder about the writers; and there are a great many similarities between Dr. Maura Isles and Dr. Megan Hunt. She’s wealthy, has a blue-collar (ex) cop for a partner, and has a sort of quirky intellect that finds unusual paths to a solution. The only thing missing is the lesbian subtext.
Dana Delany does do the character well, but if the show is to be successful, the doctors around her must be made to seem less silly. The show missed an opportunity when they failed to cast Marg Helgenberger as Delany’s boss. Now this is probably because she is under contract to another network, but they still should have tried. Instead they settled for Seven of Nine. (For those of you who are too young to remember, Helgenberger was the other unforgettable character in CHINA BEACH.)
I’m going to watch this one for a while. It may get better.