The Mob Doctor Series Premiere Review: Already Flatlining

The Mob Doctor S01E01: “Pilot”

On Fox’s The Mob Doctor, Jordana Spiro plays Grace Devlin, a brilliant young doctor forced to work off her dumbass brother’s mafia debt due in exchange for the mob not killing her brother. The gig hasn't been anything Grace can't tolerate, with the occasional lunch break dedicated to removing an ice pick from some bumbling underling’s skull. That is, until mobster Paul Moretti demands that she straight-up murder a would-be witness for the FBI on the operating table. Naturally, she drew the line because she had principles. Or something.

The Mob Doctor tries very hard to make Dr. Grace into the sort of troubled protagonist that television seems to love these days, a complicated hero with a dark side and her own custom-built moral code, someone who always does the right thing in the end... even when it doesn’t look like it. That’s all well and good, except Grace Devlin habitually applies her moral code to everyone she interacts with and judges them quite harshly when they don’t meet her expectations. That’s the sort of character quirk that can get really old really fast. As in, end-of-the-pilot fast.

In an introductory voiceover, Grace explained that she saw her first dead body as a child and unlike most children, she wasn’t afraid of the body or grossed out, but fascinated by it. Supposedly, the big reveal in the conclusion, that the body was her alcoholic father’s and she was glad to know that he was dead—and therefore unable to hurt her family any more than he already had—was meant to startle us and make us fear the power that the mob doctor wields, as well as, to an extent, help us understand the complicated history that makes her tick. Unfortunately, once we realized that Grace’s father wasn’t in the picture, the identity of the dead drunk became an obvious one and the idea that a child might not mourn the death of a monstrously abusive parent doesn’t speak to the darkness in Grace’s psyche that I think we’re meant to peek at here.

If anything, the revelation that mobster Constantine Alexander may have had a hand in her father’s murder and, when armed with that knowledge and given the opportunity to walk away from her mafia obligations, Grace stayed anyway, might say more about her complicated morality than her childhood fascination with dead things. And for as complicated as her morals are supposed to be, it’s her inability to understand how complicated the morals of others can be that makes her truly irritating to behold.

When her boyfriend, played by Friday Night LightsZach Gilford, ended up treating a teenage friend of the family who, despite never actually having penetrative sex, found herself pregnant due to an abnormality in her hymen, Grace encouraged him to lie about the nature of the teen’s medical treatment to save her from losing a scholarship at a private high school. Was it the right decision? Yes and no. It would have been unfortunate for the girl to lose her scholarship due to the unplanned pregnancy, and yes, her father would have been irate, but there’s something unsettling in the idea of a doctor lying to a parent about his child’s medical care, not to mention the problem of medical liability. Grace was incapable of understanding where Dr. Brett was coming from, failed to see the gray area in his own little moral struggle, and could only entertain the idea of her side being the “right” side.

Grace faced a similar problem with fellow doctor Olivia Wilcox (Jaime Lee Kirchner), who was reluctant to report their attending physician for overriding her treatment of an 8-year-old gunshot victim, a decision that led to the boy’s death. Olivia’s stance was harder to justify since the attending’s ego trip was truly motivated by exactly that and resulted in tragedy for an undeserving family, but she had her reasons to keep quiet and they were understandable. The daughter of a hospital board member, she carried the unjust reputation as a rat and a suck-up who didn’t really deserve her position, from the very beginning of her time at the hospital. It’s a flimsy excuse, considering a human being died due to her willingness to look the other way, but if you put yourself in her place, it’s not completely out of left field. Grace condemned her, then went around her to report the attending physician herself.

Grace, of course, faced her own conflict with the same sort of moral tunnel-vision that she expects of everyone around her (including her mobster peers, as illustrated by her voicing a sort of childlike disbelief when the supposedly reformed Constantine gleefully revealed his plans to return to the head of the Chicago outfit) and refused to kill the FBI witness laid out on her table. When Moretti took Grace's mother hostage in retaliation for her insubordination, Grace retaliated and the sort of car chase you don’t usually see on a medical drama ensued. Grace led Moretti all the way to Constantine’s doorstep, where he promptly wasted his snotty successor and reclaimed his rightful place as King of the Mob.

The mob show/medical drama fusion idea probably looked great on paper and in truth, could have been (and still can be) good in practice. I understand that it’s essential for Grace to have a high moral code in the face of her decision to keep working with the mob, and that the juxtaposition of conflicting cultures, medicine vs. mafia, has a lot of exploration potential. But Grace comes off as a rather unlikeable hypocrite, while the characters surrounding her fall somewhere between incompetent and dull. William Forsythe as mob boss Constantine is a delightful badass, but I don’t think that’s what I’m supposed to be tuning in for.


Did you catch the premiere of The Mob Doctor? What did you think? Will you keep watching?



Comments (40)
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I think the show is very good, do not agree with flat lining as the critic put it.
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I think that the quality of actor's involved in the show proves that it's too early to give up on it yet! Keep going! I'm keen to see more.....
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After watching 3 episodes my prognosis: DOA
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Just watched the pilot... and it was okay. I expected it to be worse, so maybe my low expectations for it made it seem better than it really was (it's one of my Dead Pool shows).



It had just enough action and quite a bit of drama to make it fairly fun to watch. One of the problems I had was with the drama among the hospital staff... I could care less about the over-bearing and often-wrong boss, or the girl with a stick up her ass because of daddy issues, or the boyfriend that went from angry and disappointed with Devlin to "hardy-har, you'll make it up to me" rather quickly, etc. It's certainly not a good sign when I dislike the hospital portion of a show that features "Doctor" in its name.



Although I didn't hate the pilot, it kinda made it seem like a show that wont improve, necessarily. It feels like most of the episodes will be, at best, much like this pilot... most will have probably less action... so my outlook on it is rather bleak.
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i was in pain just for watching it. deserves a big no no.
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Ironically enough, I tuned in to this show, unlike Sleasman, especially because of Forsythe's presence. And now that he stopped being **SPOILER**a presence in "Boardwalk Empire"**END OF SPOILER**, I'll probably keep tuning in.



Overall, it wasn't bad. You have to agree with what MaryAnn said about Grace - she's just not a likeable character thus far. But Spiro is an engaging actress, so maybe she will figure out how to make us care about Dr. Devlin's double life. Also... was it just me or the way she walked was very distracting? Loads of shots of her walking toward the camera, and, every time she did, it was like watching a girl trying to walk as if she was on a runaway, especially at the very end of the episode... so weird.

Anyway, I may give this show a couple more episodes, but I got a feeling it will turn out to be this year's "Unforgettable" in my roster - kinda interesting in the beginning, but stop bothering checking it by January.
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has possibilities, give it a chance to develop and see after 4 episodes!
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It was not as good as I thought it would be. All of the characters need to be fleshed out much more as they were not explained very well in the Pilot. Also, this episode left me with a lot of questions such as...What is this trouble Grace's brother got into that made his non-mob-involved sister have to save his butt with her medical talents? Did Constantine have a plan this whole time to take out his successor and how many people knew about it? Obviously not Grace, she seemed shocked by the whole thing. There were also some glaring storyline mishaps. However, I will give this a few more episodes.
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Give it time. Everything can't be explained in the first episode.
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I thought it was pretty good, but not great. has a lot of potential. As long as they keep a few twists and turns in the show it shouldn't get boring or predictable. I will give it a few more episodes..
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The pilot was ok but they need to flesh out the other characters in the hospital. Grey's and House surrounded their leads with interesting characters at work and right now I'm not feeling that with Mob Doctor. At least they got rid of Michael Rapaport right away, he was terrible.
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I actually like Michael Rapaport, but even I can get annoyed by him rather quickly. I'm glad this was a one-episode thing for him.
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I liked it and I'll keep watching.
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Jordana Spiro , or what i will start calling her Miss Cancellot .. because she has a bad luck with tv shows ..

every show she has been in , is cancelled ..



when i saw Michael Rapaport in the show , i was interested .. but to kill him on the first episode ! WTF !!!



not gonna waist time with this show ..
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To be fair her series My Boys lasted four seasons. Granted that was on TBS and the seasons were shorter, but still.
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I don't care what the critics say. I kinda loved the pilot. It was very entertaining and I love Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford. I'm so disappointed last night's episode didn't do better in the ratings. I will keep watching until the end though.
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I usually don't judge new shows by their pilots, but its safe to say that I don't see this one improving. The show is all over the place, it's trying to be too many things and none of them work. It`s confusing at times and even though so much happened in the pilot, it just wasn't interesting or exciting...frankly I was just bored. Boring, predictable and it also doesn't help that it's a bit too Lifetime movie of the week and that it's unintentionally funny. Don't even get me started on Zeljko Ivanek. He's great actor (just watch S1 of Damages and you'll see), he even won an Emmy. So why the hell is he doing this crap? He certainly deserves better. The same can be said of Zach, a good actor that is wasted in this nonsense.
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Greg :'( p.s.: nice to meet you, Doctor Devlin.
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Usually I give a new series 2 or 3 episodes but I don't think I can do another episode of this one. By half way through we had devised a drinking game so that we could drink every time she left the hospital or went back to the hospital. Dead Pool.
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The biggest problem I had with the premiere was that it was very scattered. She was at the hospital and then out somewhere else and then back at the hospital. The back and forth was confusing. I think they tried to cram too many things into the first episode and there were a few things that left you saying "come on" because they were so far fetched.



The acting was so-so and the writing is crap. I think I'll find something else to do on Monday night which sucks because I like Jordana and was hoping this would be a decent series for her.
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I think it says a lot about a show, when Deuce Bigalo: Male Gigolo has the better plot and premise.
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Like the premiere of ( Mob Doctor ). A lot of action enjoyed that. I do belive next weeks episode is going to be very interesting.
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First episodes are usually quite confusing. New place, new names to remember... Mob Doctor wasn't so bad. I think I will watch few more episodes.



For everyone who says it was the worst thing they've ever seen - have you watched Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior premiere? Now, THAT was awful.
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I enjoyed maybe the first five minutes, I was like "ooh this could be better than I thought" then it just got really annoying.
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This is actually the second or third worst show I've seen this season already...1. New Normal, 2. Revolution, 3. Mob Doctor. The season is off to a great start. Today I watch the premiere of The Last Resort online. Keeping my fingers crossed. So far the only worthwhile show is Go On and its marginal.
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Hey, MaryAnn: blase much?
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The problem I see with this show is that they are going to the procedural route and I don't think it will work at all. Too much driving from one world (doctor) to the other (the mob). It seems every episode she will balance the medical drama and the mob stuff. I don't like it.

Dead Pool!
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This show has nothing to make it exciting. I had to watch the pilot to see what it was about, but I could only watch five minutes at a time before I got bored. Will the show be one of the five first to end up with its head in the guillotine? I don't know, but it sure is already dead to me.
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My first dead pool pick!



It must fail so Zach can do something better. Off The Map and now t-h-i-s? Seriously???
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I love Zach, but see nothing wrong with this show. It's really enjoyable.
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Actually, Off the Map, with Zach and Mamie Gummer, wasn't half bad. Zach and Mamie were both highly entertaining.
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The episode was MEH, but the funny thing I found was William Forsythe. In Canada Mob Doctor premiered on Sunday night on CTV. SO I DVRed it and Boardwalk Empire. SPOILER ALERT. I watched Boardwalk today first, Forsythe (mob dude) died. Then I watch Mob Doctor, and bam he's back and mobbed up 89 years later. I thought it was funny anyway.
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It's worth the four episode test.
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I like Zach Gilford :)
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I like the idea of the show. I see the whole problem with her judgement of other characters and not taking the time to see things their way. Also, she was in and out of the hospital so many times in just one episode that felt a little bit much but I like it so far, so I'll keep watching.
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It wasn't really bad or anything, but it also wasn't very interesting. I don't think I'll keep watching.
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I would rather learn from my neighbor's boyfriend's aunt's cousin's dog how to make $4million online than watch this show.



Thanks for saving me an hour, MaryAnn!
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Dead Pool.
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You give her cane and a limp and she's House. Except she doesn't have an addiction to pain meds, doesn't have a God complex or not indebted to the Mob. I still say they should change the name to "Mob Doc". I'll stay tuned to see were the show goes from here.
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If they can retool fast enough they can make her a bit player in a Forsythe drama which might have some teeth. His tiny part in the pilot was vastly more interesting than all the other crap combined.



Also a bit convenient that essentially an intern just performed this cutting edge surgery on a key witness. Guess they couldn't be bothered to fly in the guy who actually has experience performing the surgery even though they had time and means.
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