The professional dilemmas of ‘The Mob Doctor’

By Lauren Paulsen, Contributor


The Mob Doctor, an American series that premiered last Sunday night on Fox, as the name implies, is about a surgeon who works for the mob—not by choice, mind you. Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro) is paying off a debt to the mob to prevent them from killing her brother, Nate (Jesse Lee Soffer), due to Nate’s own series of debts. Unfortunately for Grace, she lives on-call at a hospital for 24-hour shifts, providing her with a nice full plate of work.

Usually her “moonlight” jobs entail simple things, for example, pulling a screwdriver out of someone’s head. She basically performs on whatever the mob doesn’t want authorities finding out about. But when it comes time for Grace to eliminate a survivor who insists on going to the FBI, how far is she willing to go to keep her brother safe?

When I first heard about The Mob Doctor, all I could think was, “Really? Are they serious?” I found out later, however, that this show is actually based on a book, entitled Il Dottore: The Double Life of a Mafia Doctor (2005) by Ron Felber, a story based on an actual surgeon’s real-life dealings with the mob in the ‘70s and ‘80s. That bit of information certainly grabbed my attention, so I decided to give the show a shot.

Despite several clichés in storytelling, the basic plot has a nice backbone. It tests our sense of morals and shows us a grey, rather than black and white. This show has potential, as it is arguably a fresh idea, but we’ll just have to see if The Mob Doctor can survive on its own.