The Mob Doctor, Fox's struggling freshman drama, has shown signs of improvement — both in its overall quality and in ratings -- since returning last week from a month-long hiatus. But it's got a long way to go before getting a clean bill of health. Here are five things we think the show could do to make its prognosis a little more positive:
1. Grace needs to dump Brett. Sorry, but Jordana Spiro, who plays Dr. Grace Devlin, has more chemistry with some of Grace's body-bagged patients than she does with her on-screen boyfriend, Brett, played by Zach Gilford. But even setting their lack of sparks aside, how long are these two supposed to have been dating? Long enough for him to meet her mother apparently, and yet the couple seemingly spends every night apart and Brett accepts at face value Grace's flakiness and constant rushing off to mysterious other obligations with no more than "I have to go" as an explanation. Wake up, Brett! Not to mention, with Grace trying to juggle her family, her career and her Mobligations, we don't think she needs to throw a relationship into the mix — especially not one that's so seemingly lukewarm. After all, this isn't Grey's Anatomy. Which brings up our second point ...
2. Focus more on the Mob and less on the Doctor. Granted, the blending of these two situations is pretty essential to the show's central premise (not to mention its name), but it goes beyond the standard suspension of disbelief required by TV dramas for viewers to buy that Grace can be an on-call surgeon and do such frequent work for the Mafia at the same time. And the recurring dilemma of Dr. Devlin getting a phone call from her mob boss Constantine (William Forsythe) just as she's about to head into a major surgery/presentation/etc. is quickly becoming tiresome. The show needs to decide whether it wants to be a hospital drama or an action series, or at least find a better way to balance the two.
3. More Moretti, please! Since his surprise return in the third episode after appearing to be fatally shot by Constantine in the pilot, Michael Rapaport's Moretti has proved to be The Mob Doctor's most interesting (and terrifyingly ruthless) character. His "Skype suicide" scene in Episode 4 was one of the best, most suspenseful moments of any show this fall. And this week's episode promisingly indicates that Moretti will have a much larger role going forward — unless his archenemy Constantine gets to him first. But hey, that didn't work the first time ...
4. Use guest stars wisely. The series has tapped some pretty big names, including Michael Madsen and Jennifer Beals, to star in upcoming episodes, which should give added momentum to its already slightly increasing ratings. Beals' character, a former call girl who used to date Constantine and is now married to another mob boss, sounds particularly promising as a potential recurring role after she's introduced later this month.
5. Clear up the family loose ends. Grace's brother, Nate (Jesse Lee Soffer), is the reason she's involved with La Cosa Nostra in the first place, but the show has never done a good job of clearly explaining the details behind his gambling debt that she's working to pay off. Plus, now that Nate has decided to join Constantine's crew himself, wouldn't that mean Grace is off the hook? The family's ties to the mob go back further than Grace and Nate though. It would be nice if the show offered a few more teasers about who killed their father, a mystery that — along with Dad's still-ambiguous mafia ties — has been dropped in the most recent episodes.
What do you think? Are you sticking with The Mob Doctor, or should Fox pull the plug?
The Mob Doctor airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.