While directing Friday's episode of Miami Medical, former ER star Paul McCrane made sure of one thing.
"There are helicopters in Miami Medical," McCrane says with a laugh, "but fortunately I stayed far away."
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McCrane, of course, played ER's Dr. Robert Romano, who lost his arm when he backed into the tail rotor blade of a chopper. One season later, McCrane's character was killed off when another helicopter crashed in the ambulance bay, crushing him.
In Friday's episode (10/9c on CBS), several victims are brought into the hospital after a gunman starts shooting at a hotel pool. Among the victims is an asthmatic woman, whose asthma, the doctors learn, is caused by a tumor. The surprises continue from there.
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McCrane, who directed several episodes of ER, has also helmed several other Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series: Without a Trace, The Forgotten, and Eleventh Hour. He says he was pleased Bruckheimer's team called on him again for Miami Medical, particularly because it's such a new show.
"It's first and foremost about what [the writers] are trying to accomplish, and then I try to bring what I can to best enhance and support what they're trying to do," McCrane says. "It's kind of fun to come on this early in a project because, if they are game and if they like your suggestions, you do have a chance to make a contribution to what the show shapes up into."
McCrane says his history with ER made him a somewhat obvious choice for the gig, but he hopes viewers see the distinction between his former show and Miami Medical, which focuses solely on a group of trauma surgeons tasked with treating critical patients in the "golden hour" after they first arrive.
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"It's its own animal, from the look, to the doctors, to the way it's set up. I hope in terms of the urgency and the quality, the show approaches if not matches ER. But it's a variation on the theme," McCrane says. "I hope viewers get to have some of the excitement and sense of jeopardy that ER provided but in a much sunnier, sexier environment."