The Mob Doctor will air on a broadcast network, and it was created by the same people who brought us Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva, but don't worry, the producers liken the gritty drama to "The Sopranos-meets-ER."
Jordana Spiro stars as a young female thoracic surgeon with roots in Bridgeport, Conn., where she juggles her career and her lifelong debt to the South Chicago mob, which is headed up by William Forsythe's Constantine. If Drop Dead Diva is about two women living one life, this show is about one woman taking on two lives, executive producer Josh Berman told reporters at Fox's Television Critics Association fall TV previews Monday.
Spiro, previously known for her role in the TBS comedy My Boys, might seem like an odd fit for something as heavy as The Mob Doctor. "It's funny, I fell into comedy and I really love doing comedy, but I never sought out to be a comedic actress," she said. "This was just an extraordinary opportunity for me to be able to dive into drama."
The series is based on the nonfiction book Il Dottore, in which a doctor becomes complicit in organized crime. At this point, it's unclear how much Dr. Grace Devlin (Spiro) will succumb to the dark side. "Over the course of the series, we'd like to push that as far as we can," co-creator Rob Wright says. "She has a moral compass, but... the Mob can be seductive."
"This show doesn't have to be black and white," Berman adds. "There will be times when Grace will step over the line. The question is: How bad will that be? Will the repercussions be on her whole family? There are absolutely shades of gray that she will pass through."
Berman hopes that Grace will be broadcast TV's first female antihero, an archetype normally relegated to cable series like Damages and Sons of Anarchy. "All those shows start where your hero is already an antihero," Berman says. "We want to take our character and get her there. Let the viewers fall in love with her and see why she becomes the woman who she becomes."
The Mob Doctor premieres Monday, Sept. 17 at 9/8c on Fox.