ABC is not usually beholden to the procedural formula, preferring to specialize in soapy drama instead. However, there are exceptions. One such example is Body of Proof, a crime-of-the-week show following a medical examiner and her team. Body of Proof The Complete Second Season has recently been released on DVD.
The main issue I take with Body of Proof is that it is rote. Week after week, Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) and her co-workers manage to figure things out before the cops (John Carroll Lynch and Sonja Sohn) do. The whodunnit may not always be predictable, but it is nearly certain that Megan will finger the killer by the end, thus maintaining her glowing reputation.
The thing is, Megan isn’t even the boss. She is a former surgeon who now works on the dead instead of the living. She must take orders from her ex-husband’s girlfriend, Dr. Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan). It’s not an ideal situation.
Which is why Body of Proof manages to stay entertaining. Like it’s network sibling, Castle, too much time is devoted to the crime, but when the series dares to stray into the personal interactions of the team, it becomes quite entertaining. Body of Proof has a fantastic cast that is often wasted. When they are used, they really shine, with terrific chemistry, witty one-liners, and shifting relationships. This focus on the personal is slightly amped up in season two by the promotion of Megan’s daughter, Lacey (Mary Mouser) to series regular, and the scenes between Megan and Kate remain the best part of the show.
After a short first season, year two basically keeps the same set of circumstances, though a few things are allowed to evolve over the course of the sophomore run. Some memorable installments:
- “Love Thy Neighbor“: The cul de sac central to this episode is a play off of Delany’s former series, Desperate Housewives, making for some fun tongue-in-cheek moments. Kate tries to not-obviously bribe Megan.
- “Hunting Party”: Kate fires Megan from a case at the request of a wealthy guy who is not afraid to throw his money around, but Megan still manages to save the day.
- “Missing”: Bud (Lynch) is under investigation after an interrogation gone wrong, and Megan’s mother (Joanna Cassidy) offers to help her daughter, though her motives remain murky.
- “Point of Origin”: Megan clashes with firefighters.
- “Hard Knocks”: Megan’s ex (Jeffrey Nordling) decides to move away, making Lacey choose between her parents. Bud tells everyone that his wife is expecting.
- “Home Invasion”: Curtis (Windell Middlebrooks) gets Kate’s job, leading to lots of tension in the office.
- “Going Viral”: In this two parter, a deadly virus is plaguing the city, and it’s up to Megan and company to stop the body count on it’s sharp rise.
- “Mind Games”: A serial killer from Megan’s past returns, posing a serious danger that results in the death of one of the team.
There are also 12 other episodes on the four-disc set, so plenty to keep you busy for awhile!
One thing ABC does do right is bonus features. There are quite a few on these DVDs, including a goof reel and some webisodes. Featurettes examine the set design, how the crew makes the dead bodies so realistic, various stunts in the series, and special effects. There’s also a fashion bit, if you’re into that sort of thing, and many Delany fans probably are, given her good looks and sense of style, both in this role and in others from her earlier career.
All in all, it’s a decent series with some really interesting characters, and slightly better than average procedural cases. Were the focus to be even more about the people, it could be something really special. As it is, it’s still worth a watch if you like a crime mystery,
Body of Proof The Complete Second Season is available now on DVD.