Young docs on the front line
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.