Every network TV season includes a best show you're not watching — last spring it was the sturdy but forgotten Prime Suspect, and this season it just might be The Mob Doctor, a Fox drama that's struggling and looks to soon be sleeping with the fishes. (No more mob jokes, I promise.) Well, OK, look, we're not talking about a great show here, but we are talking about a series that at least shows a spark of smarts and boasts solid acting and engaging storytelling. Which is a pretty rare find in this so-far incredibly lackluster new crop of shows. So it's probably worth rallying for, if only because we have to rally for some show every year, don't we?
The basic setup of The Mob Doctor is this: A talented young Chicago doctor (My Boys' Jordana Spiro) juggles work life (cute fellow doctor boyfriend played by Friday night Lights' Zach Gilford, stern and overbearing boss played by Željko Ivanek) with her home life. Seems pretty normal, except that her home life involves a mob family past that has her now working as the doctor for a crew to keep her debt-ridden brother alive. So there's a lot of has-to-be-two-places-at-once tension and colorful Chicago mafia characters, and while that may sound like an awkward mix — mysterious or touching medical case-of-the-week meets morally conflicted crime drama — the show actually strikes a pretty fine balance. Credit for that must of course go to show creators Josh Berman and Rob Wright, but also to Michael Dinner, the veteran TV producer/director who brings some of the same flair and flavor that he's brought to shows like Justified to this surprisingly textured series. The mob scenes, featuring Boardwalk Empire's great William Forsythe, actually seem pretty credible considering this is largely a Fox medical series from a guy who wrote on Bones, and it's safe to assume that Dinner had a big part in that.