Despite the title Miami Medical, creator and executive producer Jeffrey Lieber never had ambitions to create a medical procedural. "We never intended to do a medical show; we never intended to do a show set in Miami," Lieber tells TVGuide.com. "It just sort of happened."
Lieber found his inspiration in his wife's near-death experience 10 years ago, when she was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai trauma unit in a coma with a 107 fever. He became interested in the doctors that saved her life.
"What really fascinates me is how, after seeing your fifth car crash that week, do you get in your car? How, after seeing your 10th gunshot victim, do you go out at night and take money out of an ATM?" he says. "How do you live a normal life when all you see is people coming in the door dying?"
Miami Medical, premiering Friday at 10/9c on CBS, asks just that. The series follows five doctors on the Alpha Team at one of the country's top trauma units as they work to cure patients during the "golden hour," the first 60 minutes after a patient is injured.
Lieber says the series' high intensity doesn't just come from the life-or-death cases of the week, but especially from the doctors who must cure their patients and deal with the pressure of the field simultaneously. The series begins just as one of the team's doctors abruptly exits the field for good.
"I thought that the series would be well served if, very early on, the stakes were made very plain up front ... that somebody could just walk out the door. It's such an overwhelming responsibility. It's such an overwhelming challenge," Lieber says. "The hope is to say, if you'll stay with us long enough, we will continue to try and juggle things as fast as we can."
This focus on the doctors behind the patients is what drew star Lana Parrilla. "Coming off of Swingtown, which was such a character-based show, I was skeptical at first," she says. "I told Jeff I was nervous about doing a procedural and he goes, 'It's not a procedural; it's a pseudo-procedural.'" The show also stars British actor Jeremy Northam.
Parrilla, like Lieber, researched the show at Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, one of only three trauma-only units in the country. "I liked her sass, I liked her competitive nature," she says of her character, Dr. Eva Zambrano. "We are the rock stars in medicine and they were smart about hiring this cast that is so extremely unique. We are all so different and yet we jell together so perfectly."
The even balance between patient and doctor is what Lieber hopes will set Miami Medical apart from other medical shows currently on the air. "We are going to try to be as character-rich as we possibly can, in a way that's different from the other stuff that's out there," Lieber says.
"Ultimately, the show was never really intended to be a medical show, other than the fact that it happens to be set in a hospital," he says. "You just try to find a balance whereby every case that comes in the door, as much as possible, can really trigger some emotional response, some character revelation as you go forward."