RE: Mary Kills People – Episode 1

Rob Gaudette

Girth Radio Presents…

I consider myself a TV, Movie, Video Game, Comic Book and just overall pop-culture junkie. I am of the generation that grew up watching TV programs evolve and change into the great spectacles that they are now.

The last 15 years has seen a shift away from conventional television broadcast companies (NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS) and towards the creative freedom afforded to shows by Netflix, HBO, Showtime and FX. This has resulted in some seriously great television. Mary Kills People is hoping to join that crowd of amazing TV shows that we all tweet about during and after each episode.

Mary Kills People is a six-episode series created by Tara Armstrong (Private Eyes) and stars Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Mary Harris who works at a nice looking hospital that I presume is located on the sunny cost of California. By day, this single mom of two saves people while working in the ER. But in her off-hours, she and her partner Desmond “Des” Bennett (played by Richard Short) work together to kill people. Well, sorry…let me rephrase. They help the terminally ill take their own lives.

Premiering January 25th on Global TV and on April 23rd on Lifetime in the US, I’ve had the opportunity to review the first two episodes of the series and here’s what you need to know: Mary Kills People is ok. It’s not horrible but it’s just…ok. However, pretty soon it’s evident that this show starts to follow some really familiar tropes.

Mary gets the names of patients who would qualify for her special set of skills from Nurse Annie. Annie finds those who are suffering and want to end their life and she passes that info onto Mary and because this is a business – oh, Mary doesn’t do this out of the goodness of her heart, she gets some decent money for this enterprise – Nurse Annie gets a referral fee. Because why not, right?

To assist the patients – or are they clients? – Mary and Des use a drug that they mix into a glass of champagne and it’s up to the patient to drink it. I guess they can’t procure this drug from the hospital because that would be too obvious and so Des has to get it from a drug dealer who lives in a palatial mansion. It’s a high-roller drug dealer. I can accept this.

To recap thus far: neighbourhood mom (who happens to be a doctor) leads a separate life on the side that involves drugs and the need of a drug dealer. Hmmm…this is starting to sound awfully familiar.

To further complicate Mary’s life, her teenage daughter and a friend find the drugs that Mary has hidden away and Oh no! This likely will set up something bad that’s gonna happen. But wait! The friend who took the drugs, well she and Mary were kinda sorta making out but then it’s revealed that the friend isn’t just a friend but its turns out her mom and Mary’s ex-husband are dating so that means…whaaat?

Ugh. It’s too much to think about so let’s move on.

To round out the premiere episode, Mary meets a new patient who is looking to Mary for help but lo-and-behold, this man may not be who he says he is and I’ll leave out that mystery for the 2nd episode rundown.

The first ten minutes of the show were by far my favourite of the entire two episodes that I watched. In fact, you would be forgiven if, based on those ten minutes, you expected this show to have dark comedy elements.

If you have seen the excellent Nip/Tuck, you would understand how a show can walk the line of good drama with laughably dark humour. Unfortunately, this is not that show and now all I want to do is watch Nip/Tuck.

Let me know you’re thoughts on the premier episode and what you think of the subject matter. I would be interested to see if ‘assisted-killing-with-dignity’ angle is a good idea or one that causes you to cringe.

Until next time, I remain @robgaudette on Twitter…

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