This story has been posted on the Internet for a while, but not in its complete form. Enjoy!

Miami_Medical_Jeremy_Northam.jpgIt’s late
January on the Warner Bros. studio lot in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, and Jeremy
Northam is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

He’s close to
wrapping filming for the first season of his first American TV series, the CBS
drama Miami
Medical,” premiering Friday, April 2. Like his character, trauma surgeon Dr.
Matthew Proctor, he’s a transplanted Brit coping with a high-pressure job in a
palm-tree-lined corner of the United
States
.

Although
he’s wearing scrubs and sitting on a gurney in what looks to be a high-tech
hospital, Northam doesn’t have to save any lives, but that doesn’t mean he’s
not feeling the stress.

“It’s very
frightening,” he says, “coming into something like this. I’ve never done
anything like this. If it’s in at the deep end, it feels like a very slow dive
into it.”

Northam
still keeps his home base in the U.K.,
but Proctor has made a commitment to his new job heading up the Alpha Team at
one of the premier dedicated Level I trauma facilities in the world (based on
the real-life Ryder Trauma Center
in Miami).

Proctor
spent some time working in a military medical unit during the Gulf War, and now
he’s returning to the front lines of trauma after several years in a lucrative
private practice.

His arrival
derails the plans of Dr. Eva Zambrano (Lana Parrilla), who had expectations of
being promoted to Proctor’s job. Also adjusting to the new boss are cocky
surgeon Dr. Chris “C” Deleo (Mike Vogel) and recent med-school graduate Dr.
Serena Warren (Elisabeth Harnois).

Unfazed by
it all is head nurse Tuck Brody (Omar Gooding), who manages to keep the team
running smoothly.

“Miami
Medical” is the creation of Jeffrey Lieber, who was inspired by an experience
his wife had before he met her, a sudden medical crisis in which her life hung
in the balance. He became intrigued with the idea of the “golden hour,” the
brief window of opportunity to save a patient, provided that patient can get to
the right kind of help in time.

According
to Lieber, Ryder Medical came about because drug-fueled violence in the 1980s
was overwhelming Miami
emergency rooms and operating theaters.

Founded in
1992, Ryder reports on its Web site that about 30 percent of its patients (who
are treated regardless of their ability to pay) are injured by gunshot wounds,
stabbings and falls, and another 70 percent from blunt trauma, vehicular
accidents and other causes. It treats both adults and children.

Parrilla
got a firsthand look when she visited the hospital.

Taking a
break to talk before suiting up for work, she says the visit was “traumatic.
Very. I did three shifts, two on my first trip and one on my second trip.
Mind-blowing experience. I was afraid to get behind a wheel after that, and
everybody has to wear seat belts.

“This show,
we deal with a lot of automobile accidents, but what I saw there was a lot of
drug-related crimes, a lot of knives and guns, and people getting hit by cars.

“I feel
like I saw more than I needed to see, but it was very good for my research in
playing this part.”

But the
show isn’t all blood and guts (despite the fact that, as Parrilla talks,
Northam, as Proctor, is operating on somebody across the set, and it isn’t
going well).

Perched on
a gurney outside of earshot of the filming, Lieber says, “I was really
interested in, ‘What’s it like, when all your decisions are life-and-death
decisions? How do you just go out and live your life then?’

“You see
car accidents all day; how do you go get in your car?”

“One of the
things we’re trying to explore here,” Northam says, “is the juxtaposition of
the pressure and professionalism at work and how people return to a sort of
normality out of this life.”

Northam
also emphasizes that he’s not playing a superman.

“I’m not
interested particularly,” he says, “in playing a character in this situation
who always has all the answers, although he is very skilled, very good at what
he does.”

Of course,
the inside of a hospital in Miami
looks pretty much like the inside of a hospital anywhere, except possibly with
more victims in flip-flops and fewer in parkas (like in the chilly Chicago of
NBC’s “ER”).

Lieber
hopes to find ways to incorporate local color (like beach shots in the opening
credits), but he doesn’t plan to follow the lead of CBS’ “CSI: Miami,” which has its fair share of dead
girls wearing bikinis and other skimpy attire.

“We will
not have dead bodies in bikinis,” Lieber says. “I promise you that we will not
veer too much into the world of bikinis – but we will have some.”