'Body of Proof': Dana Delany grabs spotlight in ABC procedural
Disclaimer: These posts are not reviews -- shows often make tweaks to their pilot episodes between filming in the spring and their fall debuts. Full reviews will come closer to the premiere date.
What it is: ABC wants a bigger slice of the procedural pie, and "Body of Proof" might help. Equal parts police and medical drama, the pilot introduces us to Dr. Megan Hunt (Delany), a neurologist who becomes a Philadelphia medical examiner after a crippling car accident leaves her incapable of operating on the living. Her curt demeanor makes professional and personal interactions a bit difficult as well.
Who's making it: Relative TV newcomer Christopher Murphey penned the pilot, and he'll be producing along with " Dirty Sexy Money" and " Day Break" alum Matt Gross.
What to look for: The biggest thing "Body" has going for it is a trio of familiar TV actresses. In addition to Delany, the series stars Sonja Sohn (" The Wire") as Detective Samantha Baker and Jeri Ryan (" Star Trek: Voyager" and " Boston Public") as chief medical examiner Dr. Kate Murphy. Nic Bishop (" Past Life") brings in the obligatory sexual tension as Megan's investigative partner, Peter Dunlap.
What pops: Sure, it's more forensics, but "Body of Proof" breaks some legitimately new ground with the oft unflattering portrait of its female protagonist. (TV's failed mothers are generally restricted to supporting roles and brief arcs.) "Body" anchors Megan's sleuthing with her completely dissolved personal life -- including a daughter and ex-husband who don't want much to do with her -- while never committing to fully blame either her own character flaws or the double standard dealt working moms.
What doesn't: Flashbacks, why do you hurt us so? Understanding Megan's self-imposed social isolation doesn't require the pilot's shrill reenactment of her accident. Delany, sharp writing and a surprising third act reveal take care of that just fine.
Reminiscent of: " House," " Bones" and " Castle"
Here's sneak peak of the pilot; the show will air at 9 p.m. ET Fridays in the fall.