TV Review: Manipulative, Messy ‘Miami Medical’

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CHICAGO – Television drama is usually a formulaic proposition but rarely has a show been more blatantly derivative of other programs currently on the air than CBS’s new hospital drama, “Miami Medical,” a bizarre, ineffective hybrid of “CSI: Miami” and “Trauma”. Buried in the ratings nether regions of Friday nights, this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced show might just barely deliver for viewers exhausted after a long week of work, but they’ll have forgotten it by Saturday morning. Television Rating: 2.0/5.0
Television Rating: 2.0/5.0

Let’s see. “Three Rivers” failed on CBS. If “Trauma” was on any other network than the failing NBC, it would have been cancelled by now. So why should “Miami Medical” be the exception? Well, it is better than the narcoleptic “Three Rivers” and CBS certainly has a more golden touch than the peacock network, but fans of the now-gone “Numb3rs,” which this show replaces on Friday nights, should be angry at this mediocre alternative.

Tuck Brody (Mike Vogel) and Dr. Matthew Proctor (Jeremy Northam) treats a trauma patient on
Tuck Brody (Mike Vogel) and Dr. Matthew Proctor (Jeremy Northam) treats a trauma patient on “Miami Medical,” a new drama series premiering, Friday, April 2, (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network.
Photo credit: Adam Taylor/Warner Bros.

It’s not five minutes into the premiere of “Miami Medical” before the show commits the cardinal sin in this critic’s eyes - blatant emotional manipulation. Hey, look it’s a woman who’s nine months pregnant on a medical show! How do you think this is going to go? Of course, young daddy, mommy, and in utero baby are in a horrible car accident and become the focus of the first story at “Miami Medical”.

Dr. C (Mike Vogel) and Dr. Zambrano (Lana Parrilla, right) treat a trauma patient on
Dr. C (Mike Vogel) and Dr. Zambrano (Lana Parrilla, right) treat a trauma patient on “Miami Medical,” a new drama series premiering Spring 2010 on the CBS Television Network. The series, is about a team of expert surgeons who work at one of the premiere trauma facilities in the country, where only patients with life-threatening injuries are treated.
Photo credit: Monty Brinton/Warner Bros.

Of course, one manipulative plotline isn’t enough for a Friday night medical drama in 2010 and the writers cram in another story about a burn victim trying to stay alive long enough to say goodbye to his fiancee. Neither medical plotline works at ALL, both coming off as generic and cliched to anyone who has seen even a single season of a vastly superior medical drama like “ER” or even “Grey’s Anatomy”.

More successful is the young ensemble of doctors first led by the great Andre Braugher (who has a breakdown in the opening scene as he clearly needed to get back to the set of “Men of a Certain Age” on TNT) and later by the very charismatic Jeremy Northam as Dr. Matthew Proctor. Northam is a fascinating face to see on the small screen as he’s an actor who’s always had more than enough presence to carry the big one and he lends gravity to a piece seriously bereft of dramatic weight.

The young ensemble of doctors certainly aren’t bad and include Mike Vogel (“She’s Out of My League”), Lana Parrilla (“Swingtown”), Elisabeth Harnois (“Point Pleasant”), and Omar Gooding (“Barbershop”). The great Robin Weigert (“Deadwood”) pops up in a role far too small for her talent but maybe she didn’t want to be too closely associated with the show.

As with most inferior television, the problem with “Miami Medical” is the writing. When it’s not wallowing in cliches, it’s simply dull and there’s nothing worse than watching boring characters under the glare of Bruckheimer-vision. You know that sheen that the uber-producer has brought to the “CSI” franchise. It works for those shows but feels like a bad fit with the human drama of a trauma situation. On “CSI,” the flashy style amplifies the show’s setting and incredibly strong pace. On “Miami Medical,” it merely amplifies the show’s flaws.

“Three Rivers” was mercifully canceled and “Trauma” could be by the time you read this review. “Miami Medical” will hopefully follow the trend of the shows that it so blatantly copies.

“Miami Medical” premieres on CBS on Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 9pm CST. It stars Jeremy Northam, Mike Vogel, Lana Parrilla, Elisabeth Harnois, and Omar Gooding. It was executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

BrianTT's picture


It’s not an excuse and I should have caught it but you may be interested to know that the captions come straight from CBS’ press site and it didn’t dawn on me that they would be so uninterested in their own show as to get the names of their actors wrong. The caption has been corrected. Thanks for catching that. As has the fiancee/wife mix-up, for which I apologize for being human enough to make the mistake of not caring one way or the other about the manipulative subplots of this melodrama. Once again, it’s not an excuse, but it is a reason. Working on being more god-like with the help of my loyal readers… Brian

iyaaaa's picture

trying to hard

the only part i loved about the first episode was during the first 5 minutes. the rest was blah. i hate the fact that they’re trying too hard to fit in ‘heartfelt’ conversations in a situation that clearly doesn’t need one. come on! we all know that trauma doctors most of the time do not have the luxury of establishing a doctor-patient relationship.

Anonymous's picture

helicopter scene

Did anyone working on this fiasco realize that their obligatory helicopter-landing-on-the-hospital-roof scene was so obviously NOT filmed in Miami? a southwestern barrio on the hillside behind the hospital with mountains in the distance - in Miami!

That did it for me…

Well that and the typical cliched scenes of doctors discussing serious cases and/or writing case reports on clipboards as they WALK endlessly down corridors with lots of turns (if you watch carefully they often end up walking in a full circle.)

What a dog!

Anonymous's picture

Manipulative, Messy ‘Miami Medical’

Two years worth of congressional rancid sausage making with the resultant pseudo-health reform was reason enough for this Numb3rs fan to give Miami Medical the pooper scoop treatment. Why do we need yet another ‘heroic’ doctors show? How about a legal drama where the hospitals, doctors, nurses, drug co.s, insurers are all the villains combining to $crew patients. The third half of the show (Yeah,I stole that from Click and Clack) is the malpractice lawsuit where the only winners are the lawyers.

Anonymous's picture

Miami Medical is gr8 show -give it a chance

it think that Miami Medical is great show and it be given a chance to mature
what would be nice if we could get a crossover to CSI Miami and get Khandi Alexander character reprise her role as Alexx Woods in this show, Iwas waiting for a worthy sub for ER and found one in Miami Medical hmmmm
maybe even get characters from ER to join the cast…. now that would be intresting combination.hmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous's picture

I think this show is very

I think this show is very good! It is intense from the beginning till the end. All the actors are great. And so what that it is not medically accurate? None of the shows are realistic, because if they would, they’d just be very boring. I can’t wait for another episode of Miami Medical!

Paula's picture


I watced numbers every Friday night. When Miami Medical came on the first episode everyone in the house was hooked. It would be a shame for this tv series to be canceled. We hope there is more to come.

Anonymous's picture

Pretty bad

I watched the last episode, and both the writing and acting were terrible. I am surprised that it lasted this long. I saw the wiki , and it seems that every episode had a different writer - no wonder there was no continuity. I was especially disappointed in the acting of Elizabeth Hartnois. She was just awful. She is supposed to be a surgeon? She acted like an airhead candystripper with little or no knowledge of medicine. The only thing they seemed to have her do is ‘flip’ her hair and dance around like a HS teenager (a reprise of her ‘Kieth’ role ). RIP, Miami Heat.

Anonymous's picture

Small question from a smaller mind

I have to laugh at the poster of the ‘small question’ comment that is criticizing another poster rather than the Miami Medical show. Do you think this is a sports forum where you attack the opinions of other posters? If you have something worthwhile to comment about the show, do so. No one really cares about your writing failures or anal compulsive attention to show details. Get it? Comments here are about overall impressions of the show.

Tim's picture

what an awful show

Me and my family watched this show just to make fun of it. The writing is so stiff and awkward, the characters are so dull, and nothing about it is the least bit realistic. Lots of laughs, none of them intended. Hopefully it’s replaced with a drama that can maybe think of a concept other than, oh let’s see… cops or doctors. Anything. Please.

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