Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany, ABC’s ‘Body of Proof‘) appears to be vying for the “Smartest TV Doctor” title. In fact she seems to be vying for the “Smartypants TV Doctor” title, if the pilot of her new series is any indication of her character’s journey throughout the first season. This woman prides herself on knowing everything, being hardened to her surroundings, and not feeling the very human desire to be liked. Needless to say, she is a very specific personality, hard to deal with, and that latter trait is beneficial for her because no one seems to like her much– not her family, not her co-workers, and not the audience.
Before we go any further in this review, let us point out that it is not Delany herself we do not like but the character of Megan Hunt. There is nothing wrong with being driven, but Megan’s snooty, holier-than-thou attitude toward those around her actually comes off quite condescending, unprofessional, and as justification for the female-in-a-powerful-position b-word stereotype.
We get it: things haven’t been so easy for Megan. After a car accident left her partially paralyzed, she had to give up her profitable and infamous career as a neurosurgeon due to the fact that a shaky hand is a liability on the living. So she joins the ranks of medical examiners, free to slice and dice an already dead person any which way she must. While most would be humbled by such an accident, forced to realize his or her own mortality and make adjustments to spend more time with loved ones, treat fellow man a bit nicer, what have you, Megan…well, Megan seems to take the position that she was so special she just absolutely had to be saved.
And in doing that, she exhibits no desire to actually adapt to her new surroundings but instead continues to do everything exactly how she wants to, with no regard to the rules or the jurisdiction or protocol. So much so that it’s actually a wonder why the pilot episode doesn’t conclude with the Chief M.E. (Jeri Ryan) tossing her out on her butt as a way to teach her a lesson. But apparently she has a super brain. Or fits the quota to be considered a disability hire. And so she is allowed to carry on abrasively, annoying and angering everyone with whom she comes into contact.
Delany tries her best to bring a bit of humanity and empathy to Megan, most notably in a scene in which she (breaks jurisdiction, we must point out and) visits the parents of a victim. The girl was smart, driven, focused on her career, too, and as her father recounts the fact that she didn’t have many friends and didn’t even have much time for her family, there is a little glint of sadness in Delany’s eye. She is seeing what befalls the lonely, the alone. Unfortunately, it is not enough to snap her out of whatever, potentially post-traumatic stress induced, personality shortcomings from which she currently suffers.
The show itself is shot original C.S.I. style, but instead of utilizing computer graphics and fast-zooming technologies to look inside the victim’s mouth or eye, the camera (at least in the pilot) just goes in for an extreme close-up. The cold blue color palette indicates both the early 2000s lab look as well as the impersonal approach Dr. Hunt takes to her work. The one contradiction, though, is that she seems to want to know the whys of the causes of death that she pronounces. Perhaps it shows a glimmer of hope that there is a real person trapped under the robotic faÁade she puts up, but honestly, unfortunately so far it just appears to be an all-too-convenient plot device. So much so in fact that another character calls her out on it and asks point-blank if her interest is for real. He never would have had to do that if she didn’t wear brash as often as she wears her M.E. coat.
LA TV Insider Examiner has always advocated tough women in the workplace– ones who don’t let their emotions cloud their judgment in cases, and ones who don’t look like they’re about to cry at the drop of a hat. But honestly we found ourselves hoping she actually would start to tear up when the somewhat smirky Peter Dunlop (Nicholas Bishop), actually has the balls to tell her off. It would have at least been a step toward making her seem like a rounded-out human being instead of an emotionless robot. Because we just know the series, should it do well enough to continue past its premiere next week at 10pm, is going to try to shove those two polar opposites together. And it will be impossible to root for them as a couple when we can’t even justify rooting for her alone.
‘Body of Proof’ airs on ABC every Tuesday night at 10pm.
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