New medical drama debuts in Canada

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Dr. Sanjay Gupta, actresses Jennifer Finnigan and Sarayu...

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Dr. Sanjay Gupta, actresses Jennifer Finnigan and Sarayu Rao, President, Head of Programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies Michael Wright, and actor Jamie Bamber attend the screening of TNT's 'Monday Mornings' at BOA Steakhouse on January 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images/AFP

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:38 PM ET

It's one thing to get in trouble with your boss. You always can deflect it somehow.

You know, you can tell yourself that your boss is wrong, or your boss is prejudiced, or your boss is playing politics, or your boss is a stupid garbage-face. If you twist enough, there's usually a way to let yourself off the hook.

But it's quite another thing when your boss is telling you what you did wrong in front of your peers. Everyone is judging everyone. And on the occasions when it's clear you're at fault, your peers are even chiming in, making you feel worse than you already do.

Who would volunteer for this particular brand of torture?

High-achieving doctors, apparently.

At least that's the premise of the new medical drama Monday Mornings, which debuts Monday, Feb. 4 across Canada on Bravo.

Originating on U.S. cable network TNT, Monday Mornings comes from multiple Emmy Award-winning producer David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope) and practising neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whose novel of the same title is the inspiration for the TV series.

Set at Chelsea General Hospital in Portland, Ore., Monday Mornings follows the lives of good-looking doctors as they push the limits of their abilities and juggle their professional lives with their personal lives. There are a lot of shows like that, right?

The difference with Monday Mornings lies in the title, which refers to the hospital's weekly morbidity and mortality - or "M&M" - conferences. That's when doctors gather for a confidential and sometimes brutal review of complications and errors in patient care.

"I told David, I remember during one of our first conversations, that these meetings really do exist," Gupta said. "Very few people know about them.

"But for me when I was training, these were some of the most indelible experiences I think I've ever had in my life. And it is so raw. It is so human. It is so candid.

"You shut the doors. The administrators aren't invited. The lawyers aren't invited. This is about the doctors holding each other accountable."

Monday Mornings stars Alfred Molina, Jamie Bamber, Ving Rhames, Jennifer Finnigan, Keong Sim, Emily Swallow, Bill Irwin and Sarayu Rao. It's Molina's character who runs those fateful meetings.

"At the onset, I was wondering how viable the M&M meetings would be over the life of the series," Kelley admitted. "But we quickly discovered it is the staple of each and every episode.

"I think it's a testament to the acting, especially Alfred. So much of the tension in those scenes is played with Alfred sort of disguising what the scene is about."

The surgeons in Monday Mornings are under enough pressure with their basic jobs. Then on top of that, they have those excruciating "M&M" meetings to worry about.

"In a quest for becoming as good as you can be, this is what it takes," Gupta reasoned.

Sheesh. Maybe mediocrity isn't so bad.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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