TV On My Terms: Dana Delany Has A "Body" Worth Examining
Procedurals don't typically do it for me. In general, the casts are pretty much interchangeable (carbon copies of the once-fresh CSI proves that) and stories so repetitious that on more than one occasion I've fallen asleep during a viewing.
But once in a while, a procedural comes along with just enough personality to keep things interesting. Case in point: ABC's new drama, Body of Proof. Much like its network counterpart, Castle, its lead stands out in such a way that the series feels fresh.
As Megan Hunt - neurosurgeon turned medical examiner, following a career-ending car accident - Dana Delany makes great strides in setting this series apart from your average, run of the mill procedural. While some might consider it House in heels, I found Body of Proof to be much more entertaining than that Fox hit.
In fact, within the first five minutes of the pilot, I was already in love with Megan. I cannot say the same for Dr. House.
Megan is brash, brutally direct, somewhat abrasive, and generally considered to be a pain in the ass by most everyone around her, but that's only on the outside. The vulnerability that comes through as she faces down the guilt, anger and emotional pain related to her accident, as well as the loss of her career, marriage and relationship with her daughter, can all be attributed to the talents of Ms. Delany. She also manages to infuse a certain amount of humor, which I found refreshing, considering the subject matter, particularly when she attempts to start interacting on a more personal level with those she encounters on a daily basis.
It's not that Megan is socially retarded. She's not. Certainly the years spent becoming a renowned neurosurgeon required years of dedication, focus and drive, leaving very little time for much of a social life (although Megan did manage to somehow fit in getting married and having a child). It's not surprising that Megan has little mastery over interpersonal skills. It is a luxury for which she never had the time nor, likely, the patience.
Cap that with all the ramifications of her accident, and well, there you go.
The supporting cast each holds his/her own alongside Delany, notably Nicholas Bishop as her partner Peter Dunlop (who looks eerily like The Mentalist's Simon Baker) and the always stunning and perfectly poised Jeri Ryan (Boston Public, Shark) as the Chief ME, Kate Murphy. I've only seen a couple of episodes so far, but I'm hoping there will be some delving into the lives and backgrounds of these characters as it can only enrich the storytelling.
If anyone but Delany were headlining this show, I would consider this a passable procedural but possibly not on my list for weekly consumption. Delany, though, makes it a whole new ball game. Her performance elevates the otherwise dry and technical details that come with the territory and, quite simply, knocks it out of the park.
Body of Proof premieres Tuesday, March 29 at 10/9c on ABC.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.