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New TV Obsession: Body of Proof

Primetime on Demand is a wonderful thing. I meant to check out Body of Proof when it first came out. After all, forensic based criminal dramas with quirky characters are my niche. Yet, I’m a real spaz when it comes to turning on my TV at the appropriate time to catch shows as they broadcast. Call me DVR/On Demand/Watch Instantly dependent if you want, but I like to think of myself as busy with real life. Anyway, I managed to miss the premiere of Body of Proof, and forgot it even existed until I was searching my Primetime on Demand for something to watch this weekend.

Body of Proof is about a medical examiner named Megan Hunt. Dr. Hunt was a celebrated neurosurgeon before she got into a car accident (her car battled a semi-truck and lost). Years later, she still has numbness in her hands and is forced to accept the fact she will never again be a neurosurgeon. Since “you can’t kill someone who’s already dead,” Dr. Hunt becomes a medical examiner, one who apparently desires to be an investigator as well. She’s more interested in why someone died than her job requires her to be. She is charged with figuring out what killed someone and how they died–suicide, homicide, etc.–but she has a curious fascination with the whys and wherefores of the cases she is assigned to.

Aside from her job, Megan has an ex-husband and an estranged daughter in the picture as well. Her ex-husband was awarded full custody, because, as she tells her “partner” (more on that later), “a woman who works eighteen hour days is a bad mother; a man who works eighteen hour days is a good provider.”

Dr. Hunt’s “partner” is a medical investigator (a position I’m almost certain someone made up), a sort of liasion between Hunt and the police detectives she works with. Hunt’s bosses at the medical examiner’s office include Philadelphia’s first female Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kate Murphy, and Dr. Curtis Brumfield, the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner.

As a pilot episode, this one wasn’t as strong as the pilot for Fairly Legal. While Dr. Hunt’s sarcasm, intellectual superiority and inner turmoil are engaging to watch, some of the other characters are played too aggressively to type for my tastes. For example, the ex-husband’s harshness seems overboard and unnecessary for the history that has thus far been revealed. Also, Detective Morris, the male half of the detective duo on this episode, is a little too hard nosed, averse to science, and deliberately dense. I’m hoping the reasons for playing these characters this way will come to light and make sense in later episodes. The medical investigator, Dunlap, seems way too philosophical and introspective at present. He seems custom made to deliver the moral of the story to Dr. Hunt, and connect the case they are working on to her everyday life. It felt a little heavy handed to me.

Despite some typical pilot episode hiccups, I enjoyed Body of Proof and plan to keep watching. Dr. Hunt’s character is complex enough to hold my interest while the rest of the cast is fleshed out and the cases become more interesting and complex. My hope is that the other characters actually do become fleshed out and the cases get more complex. Here’s to hope.