Is it possible to move on after a major tragedy without having a nervous breakdown because of it? That's part of the premise behind the long awaited third season of ABC's "Body of Proof," which showed some potential but it's too early to tell whether the changes would help or harm the show.
"Body of Proof" followed Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) who returned back to work as a Medical Examiner three months after the death of a friend/colleague last season. She was put on a forced 90 day leave of absence after it happened, which she didn't want to do in the first place. When she returned to work, Megan was confronted with several new changes at work that included reconnecting with an old flame who broke her heart decades ago. She was shocked to cross paths with Philadelphia cops Tommy Sullivan (Mark Valley) and his new partner Adam Lucas (Elyes Gabel), but she seemed to take their presence in reasonable stride. The only thing that she couldn't seem to handle was when her boss Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan) tried to find an unsuitable replacement for her fallen colleague. Kate also seemed to be angling for a new political career and made decisions based on her newfound career ambitions, which Megan disagreed with. Luckily, she had the support her colleagues Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend) and Curtis Brumfield (Windell D. Middlebrooks) when Kate's ambition got to be too much for her. Will Megan's return to work impact her relationship with her daughter Lacey (Mary Mouser) for better or worse?
In terms of questions, it's too early to tell whether Megan's personal life will be truly affected by her dangerous work. The end of the season premiere seemed to foreshadow that when it showed Mouser's Lacey being kidnapped by a dangerous serial killer as bait to lure Megan into a dangerous trap. It was quite a cliffhanger that will be concluded in next week's episode, but the promos showed how Delany's Megan wasn't entirely as tough as she seemed to be. On the surface, Delany's Megan was an abrasive female version of Hugh Laurie's House, but this time around she was allowed to show of her complex layers in ways that the previous two seasons avoided. Delany has the acting chops to prove it based on her previous acting awards and long established television history. Let's hope that the show will continue to give Delany more opportunities to humanize Megan to avoid making her a potentially one note character depending on the storylines. The show would be wise to explore Megan's life outside of work in an effort to balance the routine case work to keep it from turning into another procedural show, which there were too much of as is.
Besides Delany, the show's breakout stars included Ryan and Valley because they enjoyed going toe to toe with Delany's powerhouse character. Valley's newcomer status on the show didn't appear to be a factor, because he had very strong chemistry with Delany's Megan. They had a rapport that was the right mix of drama and comedy. Valley's Tommy was presented as a wise guy who wasn't afraid to challenge Delany's character at any given moment, which was a breath of fresh air from when previous supporting players cowered in fear from her. The show would be wise not to explore a possible romance between Tommy and Megan just yet. Viewers need to get to know his character before deciding whether their characters should be more than friends. Ryan, on the other hand, made Kate to be more of a friendly foe this season as her interests started to truly conflict with Megan's need to find the complete truth. At times, Ryan's character didn't get much of an opportunity to do more than undermine Delany's Megan. This season might give her the chance to truly shine in her own storyline, but only time will tell if the story will take off or not.
"Body of Proof" premiered on February 19th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on ABC.
Verdict: Delany is back with a vengeance, but not all of the changes were entirely up to par just yet.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)