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Proof - Pilot - Review

The concept of Proof is relatively simple. A strong willed female doctor in a big city is faced with the question: Is there life after death? She trusts her medical background and cannot fathom such an idea until after her son dies, and a wealthy, but terminally ill man comes to her pleading to divulge the truth about what really happens to people when they die.

It should be mentioned that Proof is Executive Produced by Kyra Sedgwick. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of this as she starred in and produced one of my favourite shows, the TNT drama The Closer. That got me excited to give this show a try.

The first few minutes of the series premiere of Proof was fast paced. The camera spun around the operating room as we saw the main character Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Cat) played by the lovely Jennifer Beals perform miracles on her dying patient whom she brought back from the dead. All the while she was giving her new intern Dr. Zedan “Zed” Badawi (Edi Gathegi) a hard time about listening. During the opening sequence there were multiple flashes of what appeared to be “the afterlife”. This leads into a flashback of Carolyn being pulled out of the water at the scene of a horrific accident.

Shortly after the opening credits we’re introduced to more main cast members and significant characters to Carolyn, including her ex-husband Dr. Len Bayliss played by Canadian born actor David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls). Within moments of those two interacting it was obvious that there is still baggage between them. Adding to the drama is their teenage daughter Sophie, that is having trouble at school with mean girls.

Another surprise in the casting was seeing Scandals star Joe Morton playing hospital boss Dr. Oliver Stanton. Carolyn’s been pulled into his office in what she feared was discipline for performing an un-orthodox procedure in the O.R. Instead he simply explains to her that the wealthy Ivan Turning (Matthew Modine) has requested a meeting with her. Though she was reluctant to meet with Turning, Stanton uses his power of persuasion (threatening Cat’s Medics International Trip) to get her to agree. Their dynamic should be interesting to watch over the series, as they disagree on what is important and how to get things done in the hospital.

There were several times during the show that I wondered what city they are supposed to be in. At one point a shot of an architectural building had me wondering if this was in the future. I’m usually pretty good at picking out historical buildings or monuments that give it away. Not this time, so I had to google it. I still don’t know! It is filmed in Vancouver though I’m pretty confident that isn’t the city they are trying to simulate. It’s a beautiful city wherever it is. I’m sure that I'll find out down the road but it would have been nice of them to have mentioned it.

It doesn’t take long to get down to business when we meet Turning. He’s dying and wants Cat’s help discovering if there is an afterlife. He is willing to give her all of his estate in return for her help. It’s clear that Dr. Tyler doesn’t believe in life after death, or so she says. When she asks why Ivan chose her he reveals that he knows she had a life after death experience. Cat plays it off, giving a medical explanation for what happened to her. It’s obvious that he is desperate to get Cat’s help. He pleads with her and continues to be persistent by sending her old case files. I do have to admit it’s really far fetched that anyone, even a doctor, would turn down an offer of ten billion dollars just to do some research. That being said, it did make it clear to the audience that this concept really scared Cat, most likely due to the fact that she had lost her son a year ago in an automobile accident.

The scenes with Cat’s intern Zed provided some comic relief in this drama based show. With constant remarks about his poor eating habits and him making snappy remarks about Cat’s bypass surgery skills, their dynamic is solid. It appears Zed will be her sidekick as she goes through cases for Ivan, and that should be great to watch.

Cat and Zed’s first case is a little girl named Lily, who claimed that when she died she was able to see her family as if she was floating above them. She knew things that she couldn’t have possibly have known, such as the identity of her mother’s real father. This was only known to Lily’s Grandmother. She said that she had learned this while she had her experience.

It’s not until nearing the end of the first episode that we meet the man that has been mentioned numerous times, Peter Van Owen. He is a famous medium and author played by Callum Blue (Dead Like Me, Royal Pains). From the first encounter it’s clear that Dr. Tyler and Peter won’t get along as Cat’s medical background makes it very difficult for her to understand him. Also, Peter brought up Cat’s dead son as a way to prove that he does have a special ability to connect with the dead, which was a very bad idea on his part. Although they don’t like each other much now, I can see where their relationship might develop into one of begrudging respect, followed by eventual friendship.

At the end of the episode Cat agrees to help Ivan on his quest but only if he funds her Medics International cause, which he agrees to. What made her change her mind? It might have something to do with her conversation with Lily. When Cat asked about the other side Lily disclosed to her that she wasn’t able to talk to Cat anymore, because “they” told her not to. This left Cat wanting to know who “they” were.

Overall, this was a great premiere episode. My initial worries about another doctor based drama were quickly washed away by the great acting/writing and the overall concept that makes it stand out from your typical drama. Cat is a strong female lead that I enjoy watching and the mix between her professional and personal life was just right. Proof definitely has something for everyone and I’ll be tuning in next week! What about you, will you be setting up your DVR to record Proof? "

About the Author - Alexandra
Alexandra (Ali) is an avid TV, film, and music fan from Canada. She attended film school and was a camera operator for a local sports show. Growing up she watched shows like Due South, Pretender, X-files, Early Edition, and Frasier. Her favourite shows are Bates Motel, The Mentalist, and The Closer. Alexandra will be reviewing Proof and Masters of Sex.

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