Sunday, April 24, 2011

Body of Proof 1.05: "Dead Man Walking"

Sarah is joining us once again to recap the most recent episode of "Body of Proof"


“You solved a crime and you saved a life. Not just George White’s.”
- Kate

Overall I thought “Dead Man Walking” was a decent episode. It was a bit whacky and broke form a little bit because we had two cases going at once. And it had Whedon alums, Christina Hendricks (Saffron from “Firefly”) and Marc Blucas (Riley on “Buffy”) beefing it up. We begin with a man walking down the street looking a bit freaked. He stumbles near a staircase and we see an imposing figure following him. The first man (who we later learn is Ted Harbinson) begs for help, and then the screen goes black. Cut to Megan and Peter arriving on scene. The scene is only a few blocks from Northeast General (Megan’s previous place of employment). Sam’s working this case alone again. Megan thinks it was a mugging gone wrong, but she says the cuts to his body weren’t enough to kill him. One of the other officers on scene recovers the duffle bag the guy had, and Megan quickly deduces they are looking for someone who either works at or was recently a patron of a cheesesteak place. So Sam and another officer go hoofing it to all the cheese steak places around, and just as Sam is getting fed up, they catch the guy.

Back at the lab, Ethan and Curtis have their own case to deal with. A seemingly healthy woman in here thirties, Jessica Archer, was found dead in her hotel room. She died from a giant blood clot (looks like a big leech) blocking her arteries. So now they have to figure out what caused it, and the case only gets freakier from there. In interrogation, Sam finds out that the guy took Ted’s duffle because it was on the ground, and he didn’t see a body fall into the bushes. Meanwhile, Megan and Peter are doing the autopsy on Ted. The other stuff in his bag was kind of odd (accounting magazine and pilot logs). He also had a post-op drug and Megan finds surgical incisions in his stomach. She cuts him open and there’s lots of blood. Definitely not a good thing. Megan’s first instinct is that Ted’s surgeon, Mark Chandler (played by Marc Blucas) is responsible. Megan and Peter talk to Ted’s wife, and she’s pretty upset about what happened. He told her to go to work and that he’d be fine. They also clear up why he had pilot logs in his bag. He got his license to conquer his fear of flying. And he had the surgery to remove his gallbladder because he’d had problems before. Ethan and Curtis think they have found something on Jessica. She was on the pill, and given the location of where she died, they think she just got off a long flight.

Megan and Peter are on their way to Northeast General to talk to Ted’s surgeon, and it is admittedly kind of an emotional moment for Megan. She hadn’t been back since she closed her practice and Gwen took over (had a myriad of jobs before becoming a hospital administrator). They walk in to find Gwen pruning a bonsai tree. Apparently, it has become an obsession. Thinking it will get her attention, Megan says they’re there to discuss Ted Harbinson and the fact that he died from what appear to be surgery related injuries. Megan and Gwen have a little bonding moment where we learn that Gwen was all distant when Megan had her accident because she (Gwen) lost her son around the same time. He OD’d at a frat party. The discussion with Dr. Chandler doesn’t go well. He insists that the surgery went perfectly and that he checked everything he was supposed to. He tells Megan to check the videotape of the surgery for proof. But it’s going to be hard to get it since Gwen is now stonewalling them. Adding to the theory that Chandler did it, one of the surgical nurses says that Chandler is reckless and has been known to leave surgical equipment in patients and then blame it on nurses. Megan’s not happy to hear that.

Back at the lab, Megan is examining Ted’s artery and finds that there were clips on the artery, but they’re gone now and she finds them in the blood. She brings Kate and Sam in on it and puts out her theory that it was either malpractice or murder made to look like malpractice. So Sam goes off to try and figure out if Chandler and Ted had any other connection, and Megan tells Kate (yes tells, demands even) to go get the tape from Gwen as well as the staple guns used in the surgery.

Back to our other plot of the episode, Ethan gets back to lab and has someone waiting for him, Jessica’s twin sister Karen (played by Christina Hendricks. Yep, she’s the third Whedon alumna to play twins, including Charisma Carpenter and Sarah Michelle Gellar). Ethan’s got quite the crush already. Karen says that she and her sister were close growing up but they’d grown apart as adults. Ethan explains what he believes killed her sister (the blot clot due to deep vein thrombosis), but Karen says that her sister hadn’t been flying. She was staying at the hotel while her apartment was being painted. After some arm-twisting and slight equivocating on Ethan’s part, he agrees to help Karen pack up her sister’s things.

Sam is talking with Ted’s wife and finds out that they didn’t have any connection to Chandler before the surgery. He was a referral from Ted’s wife’s OB/GYN. As Sam goes to throw a water bottle in the recycle bin, she notices wrappers from the same cheesesteak place where the guy who stole Ted’s duffle works. Meanwhile, Kate also gets stonewalled by Gwen. There apparently was no tape. The equipment wasn’t turned on. She phones the mayor (she’s on a first name basis with his secretary) to leverage the fact that the hospital needs the tax breaks from the city council, when the general counsel for the hospital says that there really is no tape of the surgery. But they’re handing over all employee files for personnel who had access to the equipment. And Kate wants access to their bio waste. Poor Curtis and Ethan. They look like giant bananas in their biohazard suits, and they got sucked in to sorting waste all because Ethan made a deal with Megan. He and Curtis help her with her case, and she helps them with theirs. By luck, Curtis knocks over a box of stuff and out pops the staple guns from Ted’s surgery.

Megan gives Peter a little lesson on what happens to physicians who kill patients on the table. It seems rather depressing honestly (independent commission evaluates, but it can take as long as it wants and meanwhile the doctor is still practicing). Megan is a little righteous in saying she could have hid behind malpractice lawyers, but she didn’t. Curtis and Ethan show up with the staple guns, and after Megan tells them to check for hereditary disorders that could have caused a blood clot, she tests the guns. Two are fine but one was tampered with. And since the equipment is supposed to be kept sterile, Curtis swabbed it and found spores of some kind. Sam is back at the cheesesteak place grilling the guy who took Ted’s bag. He swears he’s never seen her before, but the manager has. She was in the restaurant with a nurse (the surgical nurse that Megan and Peter spoke to). And the plot thickens. They’ve had more than two red herrings this week.

At Jessica’s apartment, Ethan is helping Karen move out the rest of her sister’s belongings, and things get kind of emotional and awkward. Megan and company are having a little status pow wow where they discover that Nancy (the surgical nurse) may have had motive to tamper with the equipment. Chandler had written her up multiple times. And Ted’s wife may have been in on it since his life insurance was gone. But it turns out that Nancy and Ted’s wife went to the cheesesteak place because Nancy was trying to dissuade them from going to Chandler. In fact, Ted wasn’t even supposed to be operated on the day he died.

Megan interrupts Sam’s interrogation of Nancy to share the info about Ted’s wife. Nancy also reveals that they only used one new gun from the pack instead of all 3. So instead of just one tampered gun, they’re looking for two. Chandler had another surgery at 10pm that day and that was likely the intended target. So with Kate being totally kickass, they shut down the hospital. In short order, they find out who the 10pm surgery was and Megan and Peter race off. An ambulance is supposed to meet them there. But there is no ambulance. They find the patient unconscious and lying on the floor. And Megan has to operate to save his life. She’s nervous (last time she performed surgery, the patient died) but Peter tells her that she can do it.

At the lab, Ethan is calling Karen because Curtis discovered that Jessica had a hereditary disorder that caused the clot and Karen (being her identical twin) likely has the same symptoms and risk factors. So Ethan races off to find Karen. He ends up at her sister’s apartment and gets her to go with him. He and Curtis explain what happened and that she needs to medication and to see a doctor. And there may still be hope for romance for her and Ethan. He’s like a little school boy with a crush.

Back at the hospital, Megan starts to figure things out when she talks to George (the guy she saved). He talks about his frat and things really start to click. It turns out Gwen was responsible for Ted’s death. She tampered with the gun because George was the president of the frat where her son died. She wanted revenge. And the bonsai spores gave her away. Later that day, Megan stops by to talk to Chandler as he arrives. She makes it clear that he better not have any of her patients in his care ever again. And if he does, his work better be perfect. I have to say, he is really a snarky cocky prick. Definitely reminds me of Riley during season 5. Kate and Megan have a little heart to heart where Megan learns that by saving George, they found the last staple gun and saved a little boy’s life. Guess things worked out mostly for the best in the end.

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