The final season of ABC’s Body of Proof begins on a sad note, with Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) just getting back to work after three months off, a break taken following the death of her professional partner, Peter (Nicholas Bishop). To make matter worse, her daughter, Lacey (Mary Mouser), is kidnapped, and a bomb is hidden in a dead body. So Megan’s return is not exactly something to celebrate.
It’s kind of nice, though, to start with a case that will match the current tone of the series. With both Bud (John Carroll Lynch) and Sam (Sonja Sohn) gone from the cast, too, there is a sense of loss and emptiness anyway. By going down such a dramatic, depressing path, it allows the show to match the sadness felt by fans, rather than just trying to pretend that nothing has happened and move on.
Unfortunately, the replacements for those missing characters seem a bit too contrived. I like Mark Valley (Harry’s Law, Boston Legal), but his character of Tommy Sullivan, the new police detective that works with the Medical Examiner’s office, has a past with Megan. Yes, he is more magnetic than Peter, but the two men are far too similar, making every feel like replaceable archetypes. Why must TV shows force past connections? Why not allow new relationships to bloom on their own? Why does Tommy so neatly fill the role that Peter did? There’s both a sense of continuity, and one of overreach, right from the start of the run.
There are some things this third season of Body of Proof does correctly. It allows Megan to delve deeper into her father’s suicide, uncovering a cover up, and find closure. In fact, her story overall ends on a very hopeful note. The ensemble is still intact, with delicious friction between Megan and Kate (Jeri Ryan), and comic relief provided by Ethan (Geoffrey Arend) and Curtis (Windell Middlebrooks). Each member of the cast gets some nice bits of their own this year.
The final thirteen episodes are teeming with fantastic guest and recurring stars. Among those featured in The Complete Third Series are Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Alan Dale (also Lost), Luke Perry, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Burgi (Desperate Housewives), Lorraine Toussaint (Saving Grace), Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), Annie Wersching (24), Christopher McDonald (Harry’s Law), and Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue).
Of course, bringing in that kind of roster, especially while struggling to stay on the air, does seem a bit gimmicky. And the biggest issue with the show, that it concentrates too much on the case of the week, rather than the soapy drama between the characters, which is the bread and butter of most ABC series, is not overcome. But as far as procedurals go, this one is better than many.
Now that it’s canceled, Body of Proof will be missed, most especially because Dana Delany deserves to be on screen. She is a wonderful actress who can draw an audience, a fact proven in the multiple shows she has starred in. At least we have The Complete Third Season on DVD to rewatch and enjoy, as these are pretty solid installments, especially the series finale. Hopefully, she’ll be back before you know it.
This three-disc set has five bonus features, including an amusing gag reel. Other offerings include featurettes on the look of the production, the importance of props, a set tour, and the visual effects that make Los Angeles look like Philadelphia. It’s an appropriate amount of extras for the size of the release, and while none are super memorable, they do fit with what is presented.
Body of Proof The Complete Third Season is available now.