'Monday Mornings' Interview: Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan on the Show's Realistic Look at Medicine
'Monday Mornings' Interview: Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan on the Show's Realistic Look at Medicine
Carla Day
Carla Day
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Monday Mornings is the new medical drama premiering tonight on TNT from Executive Producers David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope) and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whose book the show is based upon. Unlike other medical dramas, this show revolves around morbidity and mortality meetings where doctors confront what went wrong to cause patient to die.

Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galatica) and Jennifer Finnigan (Better with You) both play neurosurgeons at the show's Chelsea General Hospital in Portland, Oregon. They spoke with reporters recently on a conference call about the realism of the Monday Mornings world.

One big difference they mentioned versus other medical shows past and present is the emphasis on the medicine and presenting it in a realistic manner. While there will be some romance, the primary focus is not on the doctors' personal lives, but instead on the medical happenings.

Here are 5 areas that Monday Mornings has focused on to provide a realistic look at the medical profession from Bamber and Finnigan:

Operating rooms almost surgery ready 

Bamber: ... everything in those rooms is real. Sanjay [Gupta] has told me and others that were anybody to have an aneurysm on the set he could do everything in that room to get in there and solve the problem. They're not sterile that's the only difference.

Real OR nurses in scenes

Bamber: We also have real OR nurses working with us so when an instrument is handed to Jen [Finnigan] or I it is done by someone who has been operating the day before in exactly that situation and that's very empowering and you can't look bad really. They sort of prop you up.

Precise movements

Finnigan: I think it's sort of fascinating to learn the way to hold the instrument and we obviously try to do it with as much authority as possible.  I remember in one shot where they were going down from my hands where I was suturing the patients head and then up to my eyes. I had to say my suturing was pretty impressive and I've never felt better! ... it was really just a couple of sutures but I was so proud of myself.

... all of the instruments and the procedures which are heavily choreographed by the way, because prior to doing these scenes we rehearse them over and over again, we get our movements right, our positioning right, everything has to be just so because on Monday Mornings they're really big on very close shots whether it's of our eye, whether its of our hand, you know, everything is very measured.  

Fresh Look at Medicine

Bamber: And secretly I knew that this [medical drama] was a little different. It had enough difference in it all based around these set pieces that nobody seems to really know about, I didn't know about before doing them, and they're everywhere.  They're in every single hospital across the country and truly what fuels the show is this added element of scrutiny that the audience applies to the show. Just watching the patients live or die, you're watching the surgeons careers live or die week in, week out.

Monday Mornings

Bamber: It's about an aspect of medicine that nobody really knows about the morbidity and mortality meetings. At times it even has a legal aspect to it, I mean, there's a lot of legalities in these hospitals, a lot of administrative business which can be fascinating and I think these meetings are fascinating so I think it's going to be really interesting for audiences to see that side.

David [E. Kelley] has really made a point of it, adhering to really interesting medical cases and what makes these hospitals tick and doing justice to Sanjay's novel and, of course, the shining star of each episode are these morbidity and mortality meetings.

Check out a five-minute preview of the Monday Mornings premiere. Then, meet the cast and characters in the below photo slideshow.

Monday Mornings airs on Mondays at 10 pm ET on TNT.

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(Image and video courtesy of TNT.)

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