Young docs on the front line

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Pulse,

Newly minted doc­tor Frankie Bell (Claire van der Boom) with a pa­tient in a scene from the ABC’s hos­pi­tal drama There is a rea­son why cop sta­tions, court­rooms and hos­pi­tals fea­ture end­lessly as set­tings for tele­vi­sion dra­mas: un­less you are an as­tro­naut or su­per­hero, they are the venues for the most dra­matic and stress­ful mo­ments in peo­ple’s lives.

Not only is Pulse lo­cated squarely in this peren­ni­ally pop­u­lar genre, but it has as­sem­bled quite the cast of Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional tal­ent to pull it off. Bri­tish ac­tor Owen Teale, who fea­tured most re­cently in Game of Thrones (which re­turns Mon­day on Show­case) and the ex­cel­lent se­ries River, stars as Pro­fes­sor Berger, the chief of the re­nal ward.

Claire van der Boom plays Frankie Bell, a newly minted doc­tor and Berger’s for­mer pa­tient. The cast also in­cludes An­drea Deme­tri­ades, Susie Porter and, in a won­der­ful link to pre­vi­ous era of great Aus­tralian hos­pi­tal drama, A Coun­try Prac­tice’s Penny Cook.

The show’s cen­tral con­ceit is that Bell is still Pulse re­cov­er­ing from her own brush with death, and Berger has the con­flicted role of be­ing her physi­cian as well as her new boss.

As he warns her, she is not phys­i­cally up to the job, but some­thing com­pels her to join the front lines of re­nal pa­tient care. Is it al­tru­ism or some­thing more? No doubt we will learn more.

But no rep­re­sen­ta­tion of hos­pi­tal life would be halfway re­al­is­tic with­out show­ing the hard­ships and ex­ploita­tion that young doc­tors rou­tinely face. In this episode, an­other newly minted doc­tor, Lou (Deme­tri­ades), meets her sur­gi­cal su­per­vi­sor Mag­gie (Porter) for the first time.

Nat­u­rally, she makes a state­ment about want­ing to suc­ceed. Mag­gie tells her to get some kneepads and pre­pare to of­fer sex­ual favours for ad­vance­ment.

It prom­ises to be an en­ter­tain­ing new se­ries. Thurs­day, 8.30pm, ABC.

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