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Fall TV Preview: Does The Mob Doctor Have an Identity Crisis?

The Mob Doctor Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

It's rough out there in TV land. In this day and age a show can't be just a mob show or a hospital show or a cop drama, sometimes you have to combine genres in order to get ahead of the competition. 

Fox's unfortunately titled, The Mob Doctor, centers around Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro), a well-respected surgeon who has a side job: She is working off a debt to a South Chicago mob. Her double lives collide when she is pressured to take out an FBI informant and patient. Wrap your head around that. 

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The Mob Doctor (Fox)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 17, 9:00 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: The X Factor (Fox), 2 Broke Girls (CBS), Mike & Molly (CBS), Gossip Girl (CW), The Voice (NBC), Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Cast: Jordana Spiro, William Forsythe, Floriana Lima, Zach Gilford, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Zeljko Ivanek, James Carpinello, Jesse Lee Soffer, Wendy Makkena
Status: We've seen the pilot episode. 

What should a doctor do when a pesky conscience and Hippocratic Oath are there to put a damper on one's side job? The coolest thing about The Mob Doctor's departure from tradition is that it allows our hero to have a lot of swagger. We're not doctors and we don't play them on TV, but we sure watch enough TV to know how doctors act. Grace is not like other TV docs.

She's more self-assured than Grey's Anatomy doctors, she dresses like a CSI: NY detective and she can drive a getaway vehicle. What's not to like? Most interesting is the creators haven't shied away from her very dark gray area of morality. And we like all of the above. 

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To be perfectly honest we are a lot more interested in the seedy underbelly portion of this show. There are plenty of hospital dramas on TV—and some very good ones—but there aren't as many Chicago mafia shows. Grace's relationship with the aging mobster, Alexander Constantine (Forsythe) she's known since her childhood is the most fascinating to us. And we are interested to see where that goes moving forward.

Less interesting is the hospital drama. Grace's tiffs with other surgeons and the residents seem petty in comparison to the crime world. Sure she has to make life-or-death decisions in the O.R., but it just seems to lack the same stakes. Her rival surgeons never make her have a high-speed chase through the Chicago streets. We hope. 

Grace's relationship with fellow doctor, Brett Robinson (Gilford), is...peculiar. We love Zach Gilford, so even if he were sitting on a stool in the corner, we'd still be happy. But Grace's moral code puts her doctor boyfriend in a very tight spot. In fact it makes us dislike her in that instance. 

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We think The Mob Doctor could go one of two ways. The bosses might pick a stronger side and lean towards it. (Please choose that option.) Or they might continue to straddle this line between hospital and mafia. (More likely given the show's title.) What's that saying about being a Jack of all trades?

Our Review in GIF Form:

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Verdict: Watch. Come for Matt Saracen, stay for the moral ambiguity.

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