Calgary Herald

High-minded hospital drama

- AlEx StrAchAn

Based on tonight’s initial evidence, Combat Hospital, the new, Canadian-made fictional drama about the men and women who serve at the only military hospital equipped for advanced surgery in southern Afghanista­n, is a game and dogged effort. The cast ensemble is believable and compelling by turns, and the stories are more urgent and rooted in the here and now than those in the typical prime-time medical drama.

Combat Hospital is set in the year 2006, but it could be happening today. It is about “the quiet heroes,” the medics, doctors and nurses who battle the elements and fight to save lives, often in harrowing conditions. Elias Koteas strikes an almost professori­al, incontrol pose as Col. Xavier Marks, the Canadian Forces officer in charge of the Multinatio­nal Medical Unit hospital based at Kandahar Air Field (KAH), southern Afghanista­n, and he’s a key presence in tonight’s opening episode.

The hour belongs primarily, though, to Michelle Borth as Maj. Rebecca Gordon, a skilled but overconfid­ent trauma surgeon back in the world, who’s assigned to KAH alongside a wet-behindthe-ears newbie, played with a credible, hesitant uncertaint­y by Terry Chen.

Combat Hospital isn’t perfect. The setting is claustroph­obic, and there are times when it could use a little community outreach in the towns and mountain passes beyond the walls of the clinic. Combat Hospital deserves a chance, though. It’s not Grey’s Anatomy Goes to Afghanista­n, thankfully. It’s more high-minded than that. (Global – 10 p.m., ABC – 11 p.m.)

 ??  ?? Borth: overconfid­ent
Borth: overconfid­ent

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