June 30, 2015


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By Brad Oswald

TV

Global series offers dose of Canadian drama relief

It's pretty good medicine, but there's nothing in the way of a miracle cure happening here.

Global TV's new homegrown drama Remedy, which premières Monday at 8 p.m., is a well-cast and generally likable series that -- at least, based on the two episodes that were made available for preview -- fully deserves the coveted spot it has been given in the regular-season prime-time lineup.

Colantoni leads Remedy's cast.

JAN THIJS

Colantoni leads Remedy's cast.

It's a solid but by no means groundbreaking effort that combines a familiar and reliable TV-series setting -- a big-city hospital -- with the always-fruitful framework of a multi-layered family drama.

Veteran Canuck actor Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint, Just Shoot Me) leads a sizable ensemble cast playing Dr. Allen Conner, acting chief of staff at a large downtown (Toronto) hospital. Also on call at the health-care facility are his two daughters -- Melissa (Sara Canning), a surgeon, and Sandy (Sarah Allen), a nurse. The family's hallway-medicine dynamic is completed early in the series première when prodigal son Griffin (Dillon Casey), once a promising medical student but now a dropped-out, burned-out, perhaps-in-recovery drug addict, turns up in the hospital's emergency room suffering from a machete wound to his back after a brawl in a local strip club.

Having not been seen by his relatives in more than two years, Griffin's arrival in the ER causes quite a stir. And when it soon becomes apparent that his wound is much less serious than the one suffered by the other combatant, and that Griffin's injury is far less threatening than the trouble he's facing with the police, it's time for the Conners to set aside their differences, close ranks and protect their own.

Luckily, Allen's estranged wife, Rebecca (Martha Burns), is a lawyer who, despite an apparent fondness for daytime drinking, might be able to conjure up enough legal loopholes to keep Griffin out of the slammer.

Just how this storyline plays out doesn't become apparent until Episode 2, but the series première does a pretty good job of establishing the Conners as a rather interesting clan.

And while they're sorting out their various problems and power struggles, there's a lot of other stuff happening at the hospital. Zoey Rivera (Genelle Williams), a member of the maintenance/medical cleanup staff, suffers getting pricked by a needle because someone -- most likely a doctor or nurse -- carelessly disposed of a hypodermic needle in a treatment room and finds herself facing the trouble, stress, tests and preventive treatments that follow such a mishap.

Meanwhile, outgoing hospital orderly Bruno Dias (Diego Fuentes) is teaching ER physician Brian Decker (Matt Ward) -- who also happens to be Sandy's fiancé -- a thing or two about bedside manner, and the facility's head of transport and housekeeping, Frank Kanaskie (Patrick McKenna), demonstrates that most of the really important decisions get made in the hospital's basement.

Remedy hits the ground running, and its first couple of episodes do a better-than-average job of creating dramatic momentum while at the same time establishing a bunch of characters worthy of viewers' investment of time and emotion.

There are a few notes that don't ring true in the early going, as one might expect when a storyline is contrived to get all the members of a family working under the same roof, but Remedy's earnest effort at storytelling makes them mostly easy to overlook.

It might not make you feel completely better about the state of Canadian TV programming, but Remedy is good enough to offer at least a pleasant level of temporary relief.

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @BradOswald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2014 G3

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