Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pilot Script Review - Maggie Hill

Written By: Ian Biederman
Draft Date: January 13, 2009
Pages: 65
Network: FOX
Category: Jury's Out

Maggie Hill is a brilliantly gifted cardiothoracic surgeon. So brilliant that in the opening moments of the pilot, she is being streamed out to med schools and hospitals around the world, performing a surgery named after her (some medical jargon about aortic bypasses using the patient's own pericardium that will lead to less wealthy people being able to have bypass surgery). This is the first time it's being done. And in the middle of the surgery, Maggie starts hearing things, then seeing people in the OR who are not there, and finally proceeds to strip and run out of the OR. Maggie, it turns out, is schizophrenic. A few months later, she wants back in the game and wants her old job back (and not just in a teaching capacity, she wants to be able to actually practice). But, as there's always the risk that she'll freak out again in the middle of surgery, there are several hurdles to jump through. Eventually, she does get reinstated... but Maggie is not taking her meds. She hears and sees things that aren't there and even screams at her patient as she performs open heart surgery... but she gets the job done.

Other characters include...
- Caroline, the lawyer sister Maggie has been at odds with for some time (each jealous of something the other has / can do that they can't).
- Dr. Virginia Lerner, the chief of C-T surgery at the hospital
- Dr. Elliot Springer, Maggie's arrogant rival in the C-T department who becomes at odds with her over treatment options in a case when Maggie returns to service
- Dr. Milo Marcus, Maggie's schizophernia doctor
- Dr. Ben Emerson, Maggie's boyfriend and a surgeon (though I couldn't pick out his specialty,but he does weigh in on a case Maggie and Elliot are at odds over, so he might be a C-T surgeon, too)
- Terrence James, Maggie's fling

On the subject of Terrence... in shades-of-Grey's Anatomy, Maggie is sleeping with him, but it turns out only she can see him. He's a figment of her fractured mind (this is definitely one of the reasons I couldn't put Maggie Hill in the Thumbs Up category...) Ultimately she chooses to continue not taking her meds and to have a romantic tryst with this man who she now knows doesn't exist. Yeah...

One other problem I have with Maggie Hill is that it is entirely focused on heart surgery. Unlike a show like House or ER or Grey's Anatomy where doctors have varying specialties... the medical cases on this series are going to be all heart surgery, all the time.

Finally, there's a rather intrusive element in the script in the form of the character Anna Peck, who runs a "pilot program" for NIH that is your typical television/film high-tech/future-medicine stuff. She invites Maggie into the fold with the promise that they may, one day, be able to cure Maggie of her schizophrenia. Maggie eventually accepts, except she's keeping her day job. Not sure how that's going to play out.

Maggie Hill is an interesting combination of things. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. I'm not sure I love it... but I'm sure I don't hate it. Thus... Jury's Out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw that it did not make FOX's fall line-up. Any word on if it will be a mid-season replacement?