TNT's "Monday Mornings" marks a return by Emmy-winning producer David E. Kelley to the medical genre he explored in "Chicago Hope."
"Hope" showed the pressures on doctors and nurses; "Monday Mornings" takes a sharper look at how doctors judge each other. The centerpiece of the drama is a gathering by doctors and head administrators to evaluate and criticize the life-and-death decisions facing physicians in stressful situations.
"It felt a little familiar," Kelley said at the winter gathering of the Television Critics Assn. to promote the show. But he concluded that the premise "was completely different. It felt like fertile storytelling ground."
The show was inspired by a novel written by CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who is also an executive producer of the series.
"These meetings do exist," said Gupta. "They can be raw and candid. This is about doctors holding each other accountable. We're going to a place which few people know about, which people rarely see."
Alfred Molina stars as the head of surgery that heads up the weekly morbidity and mortality meetings, often making harsh judgments of physicians' actions. Molina, who often uses an American accent in his film and TV roles, used his natural British accent for the series.
"It creates a story of distance," he said. "He's concerned about the hospital, but he is running a big hospital and he can't be everyone's friend."
He quipped, "It also means he can be sexually ambivilent. He can be gay, straight or British."