Exploding Egg

Checking Out Miami Medical

As a newly minted fan of Jeremy Northam, I’ve been looking forward this week to checking out the premiere of Miami Medical, which aired tonight on CBS.

Jeremy Northam

I got interested in Northam a few weeks ago, when Netflix thrust The Tudors into my living room as a suggested distraction from my now eight-month banishment from the flames of the news apocalypse (I was laid off after a 14-year career as a print journalist for the second time in two years last August).

Northam’s portrayal of Sir Thomas More, a guy I probably wouldn’t like all that much in real life — even though I dig the whole stick-to-your-principals thing — just fascinated me.

More’s book Utopia, which I studied in college, has always struck me as the perfect setting to run away from. A society that denies rights for atheists and subjects them to constant prodding by the religious lot until they relent, or die of boredom, is not a society for me.

Not that I’m exactly an atheist, but as a pseudo-Taoist I’m not exactly conventional either. Then again, if I lived in the 1500s I probably wouldn’t have lasted long.

I realize the show’s not an accurate portrayal of history by any means, but Northam brought a depth to More that changed him from a stuffy guy I’d want to strangle into a interesting and imperfect human being that I wanted to know more about.

Northam’s certainly an actor that can carry a scene, and The Tudors seemed to lose a lot of sparkle after the king gave More the axe in the second season.

So, after finishing that story, I’ve been renting and instant viewing away at whatever other Northam films I can find to keep my distraction and newfound fascination alive.

I’m really not a fan of the whole period piece, romantic comedy, men in black tights thing — and Northam has done a lot of those. Forcing myself to watch a few of them, like The Winslow Boy and Possession, I admit Northam does a good job of bringing something different to all his characters, but films like that really don’t do much for me.

Mimic, unlike the frilly 1800s-type stories, I liked right out of the gate (and saw when it came out in 1997), even though I wish Northam would have kept his smooth British accent over the weird fake American one. I’m just a sucker for CDC, giant bug science fiction films.

And Cypher, which I just watched today, is plain superb — well acted with a very interesting plot, and a cool twist at the end.

I also just saw Northam’s portrayal of Dean Martin in Martin and Lewis from 2002, to which he really brings a lot of flair. And he also, in the process, proves that he can pull off a believable American accent.

Anyway, my little Northam media feast appears to have been timely, because dessert arrived tonight in the form of the launch of his new TV series.

I guess Miami Medical has been relegated to the scrappy and somewhat unfriendly time slot of 10 p.m. (or 9 p.m. Albuquerque time) on Friday nights. Because of that, most of the critics out there seem to think it’s destined to fail.

But I’m not so sure.

I did think some of the plot in the pilot episode was cliche: The pregnant woman in a car accident headed for the trauma unit, the whole glitsy “rock stars of medicine” thing and the swishy high-fiving by doctors.

But on the upside the show has a nice pace and the potential for some character study of people under high stress. It was certainly interesting to start with the head trauma surgeon flipping out, stripping all his clothes off and walking out of the ward.

Northam’s character, Dr. Proctor, doesn’t appear for the first third of the pilot, but once he shows up — working on a guy’s hand while wearing a T-shirt and jeans — and once the major characters start to interact and conflict with each other and him, you can see the show’s potential.

Northam as Proctor

Proctor is a bit of a mystery man, with complex motives and a background that has yet to be revealed, and Northam’s a guy who can pull that off and pique your interest.

As a pilot, well, it was a pilot… I don’t think any pilot for any show, even my favorites’ NCIS and Criminal Minds, really blow you away as effectively as later episodes in a series do, once characters have been sketched out and actors get comfortable working with one another.

And so far as the Miami Medical pilot went, I’m certainly interested enough in Northam’s character to keep watching and see how the show develops.

I hope CBS didn’t put Miami Medical in that spot to kill it, but to watch it scrap its way to a better time slot. If nothing else it will be fun to see what Northam does with his role in the show.

So here’s to next Friday…


Update: Looks like CBS has the full episode online now. Here it is.


April 2, 2010 - Posted by | Miami Medical, Reviews | ,


  1. Hi SueVo!
    Saw you just registered over at our Jeremy Northam fan forum, it’ll be good to get to know you.
    Great blog piece about the wonderful Jeremy, looking forward to reading more. I also have a blog about Jeremy at jeremynorthamfanblog.wordpress.com, if you get time, I’d be gald to hear your thoughts.
    Hope to chat with you later.

    Best wishes

    Gill, aka henrysmummy2003

    Comment by henrysmummy2003 | April 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. I really enjoyed this blog entry SueVo, and completely agree with you about the talents of Mr. Northam. I am so glad you joined us at Jeremy Northam Info, it’s a great group and I know you will enjoy it.

    I have not watched the premiere of MM yet, but will be doing so this AM. The early reviews aren’t so great, but I am really hopeful it will find a foothold in the coming weeks, and the depth of characters will be developed to make it a success.

    Comment by gaylec | April 3, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thanks guys. I really have enjoyed learning more about Northam in the past couple weeks. Great actor. Good service you guys have done in providing information about him out there in Web land, since he seems to be a bit Web shy as a personna.
    I’m looking forward to watching him develop the Proctor character in coming weeks.
    Nice to meet you both. Take care!

    Comment by SueVo | April 3, 2010 | Reply

  4. Welcome everyone who praises the acting performance by Jeremy Northam. They love the costume films not, see you the movie Enigma .. ( if they know not already) my favourite movie, because a particularly magnificent performance by JN.

    Comment by Mary | April 5, 2010 | Reply

  5. Thanks Mary, I’ll see if I can get my hands on a copy of it and check it out 🙂
    So far I think Cypher is my favorite of his. I’m a horror, sci-fi kinda gal, though.

    Comment by SueVo | April 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. Welcome to the Northam fan club! He is one of the best actors of his generation, in my humble opinion. I have to admit to not being much of a horror movie fan, and I couldn’t get past the first twenty minutes of Mimic (those giant cockroaches really creeped me out!), but he is wonderful in the bit I’ve seen.

    Enigma, as recommended by Mary, is in fact one of his more interesting and strange roles, but if you really want to see him doing some interesting stuff, check out the film version of the Singing Detective. He’s not the star, but he’s sort of the villain. Also, if you can stand the outdated computer stuff, his early film the Net with Sandra Bullock is his other great villain role.

    I totally agree with your comments on both his portrayal of More and of the new show. I’m reserving judgment on whether this one will survive. I really hope it does, because I want to be able to get a dose of his amazing talent every week.

    Oh, and by the way, if you’re interested in More, I recommend finding the contemporary biography written by his son in law, Richard Roper. Also recommend reading “A Daughter’s Love” by John Guy, about More and his relationship with his daughter, the very intelligent Margaret (who I believe appears in the Tudors). I myself shunned the Tudors series because I couldn’t stand the bad history, but I do know that JN’s performance was masterful, because I saw an early episode with him (just enough to make me never want to see the rest of the series!)

    Comment by Sphinx | April 8, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s a shame you couldn’t stomach Tudors, Sphinx (though I totally understand your reasons, I didn’t watch season 1 when it first aired for the same reasons!) because Jeremy’s performance as Thomas More is amongst his very finest, I would say. I blog too, here are my thoughts on Sir Thomas: http://wp.me/pNnl7-v

      Isn’t there a Peter Ackroyd biography of More? Have you tried that one?

      Comment by henrysmummy2003 | April 8, 2010 | Reply

  7. I’ve written a lot about JN on my blog, which is mostly dedicated to classic film, with occasional forays into contemporary obsessions. I noticed JN first in Emma, about 8 years ago. I’ve managed to track down most of what he’s done. Here, for what it’s worth is my JN desert island collection:

    Emma 1995–Jeremy really captures the character of Mr. Knightley perfectly. He is the picture of English gentleman. He manages to keep the character from being over-bearing (which is a trap some actors have fallen into) and given him a nice layer of vulnerability. He and Paltrow are pretty good together as well. My favorite scene in this or any JN movie is when he appears framed in the window to ask, “Who cried most” at Mrs. Taylors wedding. And with those immortal words I was a goner.

    Possession: Bring boxes of hankies and get ready to cry buckets at this romantic melodrama. Jane Austen fans be will be happy to see JN paired with Pride and Prejudice’s Jennifer Ehle. JN’s acting here is amazing, especially given how little screen time he really has. He completely entrances.

    The Winslow Boy: JN again takes a character that could be obnoxious and over-bearing and makes him human and appealing. And he has a nice, understated romance with Rebecca Pidgeon.

    Happy Texas: Comedy entirely stolen by Steve Zahn, but Northam fans will love seeing him in the romantic scenes with both the leading lady and gentlemen.

    Cypher: JN does it all here and looks so great doing it. His acting is multi-layered and wonderful. A great, underrated film.

    Comment by Jennythenipper | April 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. Thanks for the list Jenny.
    I’ve seen more of his films now, but I have to say Cypher is still my favorite of the bunch. Great film.
    Then again I’m really not much of a period piece kinda gal.

    Comment by SueVo | April 19, 2010 | Reply

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