Review of "Body of Proof: The Complete First Season" From The TV MegaSite
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DVD TV Show Reviews

Body of Proof DVD cover

 Body of Proof: The Complete First Season

 

  Review by Suzanne 9/17/11

I wasn't planning to watch "Body of Proof" last year because I make it a point to only watch one new show in the fall and one in the spring, but it was so good that I had to keep watching. I'm very glad to have the DVD set because I think I may have missed a few episodes.

Dana Delaney is always a joy to watch. She's been in so many shows that got quickly canceled (like "Pasadena", which was awesome), so it's great to see her in a successful starring role. The whole cast is very good. I like the cute guy that helps her solve crimes, and of course Jeri Ryan is fabulous. Delaney plays a medical examiner, but the show is not boring or depressing like some doctor or cop or forensics shows. It is way more upbeat than CSI.

I really enjoyed the features. They talk about the background of the show, and how they made the sets and things like that. They showed a lot about how they make the dead body parts, etc. with the cast talking about it all; and they discussed the real-life doctors that they use to make the show authentic. I find that part fascinating. The blooper reel was also fun. I hope a future DVD set tells us about the casting of the show because I think that would be interesting, too.

You should definitely watch this show and buy the DVD because it is really good. Also, I think it would be great if they had a crossover episode between Castle and Body of Proof. They both take place on the east coast, so it would make sense that they might cross paths. Also, Castle's star Nathan Fillion once played opposite Delaney on "Desperate Housewives", so that would be cool. Make it happen, ABC!

More Info:

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On behalf of Walt Disney Studio's Home Entertainment, we wanted to share with you all-new DVD extras from Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season, and Private Practice: The Complete Fourth Season, which are available on DVD TODAY September 13th! You can order copies at the ABC Store  

* Curiosity Killed The Cat: How Well Do You Know BODY OF PROOF?
Preview: Body of Proof Widget

We have all-new Body of Proof Season One interviews we'd like to share with you and your readers, on behalf of Walt Disney Studio's Home Entertainment! Attached are three never-been-seen interviews with Body of Proof's Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan and Windell D. Middlebrooks! Body of Proof: The Complete First Season is now available on DVD.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DANA DELANY FOR SEASON ONE OF BODY OF PROOF

What was your biggest challenge in taking on the role of a medical examiner in Body Of Proof?
My biggest challenge was the words, the medical terminology. You have to say these lines really fast and you have to act like you know what youíre talking about. Itís tough, but thank God for the internet. It has changed an actor's life completely. Iíve played doctors before where we used Taberís medical encyclopedia to look up different words all the time. Now, you can just put the word into your smart phone or tablet and the information comes up immediately with pictures, descriptions and the right pronunciation. Itís much easier to be better prepared now.

What makes Body Of Proof different to other forensic shows?
My character is very different because she doesnít disconnect from the bodies in every episode. She probably over-connects to the bodies, which is something a normal medical examiner wouldnít do. I think the show has a different pace because of that. It's very interesting, we have one episode where there is a child missing thatís still alive Ė and it changed the nature of the show because we were in pursuit of the child and it made our show much quicker. Thatís not our show; it didn't feel right to me. What I like about the show is the way that the bodies are already dead, so we can take the time to think about everything and take a moment with the body.

How do you see your character on the show: Dr. Megan Hunt?
I see Megan as a psychopomp, which in Greek mythology was the character Charon; who transported souls of the dead across the River Styx. The job of a psychopomp is to not judge, but to provide safe passage Ė and I think thatís exactly what she does with these dead people. She feels that if she can cross them over to the other side, then thatís her job done Ė but sheís not going to finish until she does that in a safe way. And that's why, at the end of almost every episode, we have her saying goodbye to them. Those people are not covered up until she knows exactly what happened to them.

Is that why Dr. Hunt becomes so dedicated to her work? Sheís not just the medical examiner; she almost takes over the police work as well.
Exactly. She had no regard for people when they were alive, but now she has double regard for them. She looks at her work and she thinks, ĎThese are not just bodies, they are human beings. They lived a life, and now they deserve the respect in death.í

Do you admire the actors who play the dead people on the show?
I've got to tell you, they do such a great job because itís not easy for them. They have to sit in hours of makeup, and then they have to pretend to not breathe for ages. Then, they also have to be really stiff. Thatís a difficult job when weíre poking them and prodding them.

When dealing with such a serious subject matter, do you find it difficult to switch off from work at the end of a long day on set?
Thereís a Zen practice of ĎPractice your death before you dieí. And itís very liberating. I think that we all need to really have a better relationship with death.

Are you less scared of death since starting work on this show?
I think I always had a good relationship with death for whatever strange reason. Iíve never been afraid of dying, but Iíve observed a number of autopsies now and I still feel fine about death. I really feel good about it. Itís like, ĎOkay. Thatís it. Thatís what happens.í I think itís a gift to be a medical examiner. One of the best things about being an actor is that you get to research your role and learn about different occupations. Iíve done a lot of research for this role, and to see what medical examiners do at work has been an honor. Itís been completely eye opening to me.

Were you worried the first time you witnessed an autopsy?
Everyone warns you to take precautions before you see an autopsy for the first time. They say, ďMake sure you have something to eat first and wear flat shoes. If you feel faint, donít be embarrassed, just sit down.Ē I had never seen a dead body before this role, but the medical examiners were extremely respectful and reverential towards these bodies. Everybody takes it very seriously.

What part of the autopsies did you find the most difficult?
The hardest part is the person staring at you. But then, when the medical examiner pulls the face back, it becomes a body. Itís a strange experience, but I found it fascinating. By my fourth autopsy, they were letting me assist. They let me do incisions and I was mesmerized by the whole process. The minute you open up the body and look in there, Iím amazed.

Did you ever feel faint watching these autopsies?
I just felt fascinated by everything about it. Itís been an honor to witness these autopsies because itís something that not everybody gets to experience Ė and I feel extremely grateful that we've been allowed to watch. Itís been mind-bending.

What else have you taken away with these experiences?
I have found it a very reverential experience because the minute you cut that person open, you see that our bodies are a miraculous gift that weíve all been given. The fact that our show gets it right is very gratifying because itís true when you consider the way that the body is the proof. When you look into a body and you see the cavity and all their organs, you can see exactly how that person lived Ė and you can see how they died. It makes you realize, ĎI've been given this gift, this machine that works perfectly Ė and itís my job to keep it running.Ē Itís changed my life.

In what way has it changed your life?
I really want to take care of my machine now. Itís my responsibility to make sure that it runs well Ė and Iím going to do everything I can to help that.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JERI RYAN FOR SEASON ONE OF BODY OF PROOF

How would you describe your character in Body Of Proof?
Dr. Kate Murphy is the first female chief medical examiner in Philadelphiaís history, so sheís very smart and a bit of a tough cookie in her own right. However, sheís also very human and sheís got a lot of empathy, not just for the victims and their families, but also for the people that work for her and with her. I love the fact that sheís not a stereotypical cold-as-ice, hard-as-nails female boss because thatís not terribly interesting to play. Kate is very different.

Did you base your character on anyone in particular?
A couple of our technical advisors on the show are women who were chief medical examiners in their own right. One of them was the first female chief medical examiner in the city where she worked and what really blew me away was the fact that you might assume someone in her position of power would be solely focused on work and nothing else. However, thatís not true. These women still live their lives to the full. They are the most fascinating, amazing women. They race cars, they skydive, and they climb mountains. They do everything and anything.

Why do you think they live life to the full?
Perhaps itís got something to do with working around death all the time? Working in this field makes you realize how fragile life is and how quickly it can go, so perhaps it entices you to take advantage of every minute you have. I certainly try to bring a little of that to Kate in the show.

How do these medical examiners still care about the victims after seeing so much death in their job?
That was one of the things I asked when I got to visit a medical examinerís office. ďHow do you do this? These are human beings. Itís someoneís loved one. How do you carry on all the time?Ē I discovered that thereís always a respect and sensitivity that itís a body, but you have to have a disconnect or you couldnít do what you have to do in an autopsy. You canít completely internalize it and emotionalize it.

Did you witness an autopsy at first hand?
I witnessed two autopsies during my research for this role. I am a huge science geek, so I was waiting six months for the opportunity to present itself where I could finally witness one. It was an amazing honor, and it was incredibly fascinating Ė but the emotional part of it was hard. I looked at the first guyís face and thought to myself, ĎWhoaÖ This is a human being.í I started thinking about his family who just lost their loved one and for a minute, I didnít know if I was actually going to be able to carry on. You realize how fragile life is and what a miracle our bodies are. Itís amazing.

What else did you learn from observing the autopsies?
There was one case that was incredibly difficult. The doctor performing the autopsy told me that it was one of the hardest cases sheíd ever had to do because it was an infant. She explained how you have to go home and hug your kids extra tight after doing something like that. Itís a hard job.

Did your observations affect your thoughts on life and death?
Absolutely. I donít necessarily want to climb mountains, but witnessing these autopsies has made me really appreciate life. The human body is such a miraculous machine and you really realize the fragility of life when you see them opened up in front of you. We are all told to eat right and work out Ė but when you literally see first hand what happens when you ignore these things, it really does make you think.

How close is your portrayal of medical procedures to the real thing?
Itís as real and authentic as you can be on a network television show. Thereís only so much that you can really show, but we always have our technical advisers on a set and we try our best to make everything as realistic as possible. If youíre doing a medical show and the science is not there, you've lost all credibility, so we try to keep it as authentic and as legitimately correct as we can.

Is it a challenge to develop your character when you are unsure where the show is going?
Thatís the challenge of episodic television. You don't know where itís going until that script is in front you. You try to drag everything you can out of the writers to give you some sort of information to go on. You get any scrap of back story that you can because I canít tell you how many times Iíve played something one way, and then a script comes in, and you discover a completely out-of-the-blue back story that you never saw coming.

Your character is a very strong-willed woman. Was that part of the appeal of the show?
Very much so. I donít have any interest in playing a ditz, especially on a series that could potentially run for seven years. I donít want to play somebody whoís stupid. I donít have that interest. I want somebody who is strong and smart; somebody that I can be proud of my daughter watching and using as a role model. My character is very intelligent, strong and smart Ė and I loved the way she was written. Thatís what peaked my interest.

Do you enjoy the fact that there is a strong female cast in Body Of Proof?
Itís fantastic that weíve got a female-driven drama. There are three really strong, smart women on the show and I love it. No offense to the guys, but I love that there are so many great roles for women now, and so many great roles for women 40 and over. A new industry has emerged in the last five or 10 years. Itís wonderful.

Did you know your Body Of Proof co-star Dana Delany before you started work on the show?
I had heard wonderful things about Dana, but weíd never met. Dana is universally loved by everyone sheís ever worked with. She's amazing and a wonderful actress as well. Itís been a pleasure to work with her Ė and I very much look forward to working with her some more in Season Two.

AN INTERVIEW WITH WINDELL D. MIDDLEBROOKS
FOR SEASON ONE OF BODY OF PROOF

How would you describe your character, Curtis Brumfield, in Body Of Proof?
Curtis has just been promoted to Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, so he is under pressure to deliver. This is his chance. However, heís constantly challenged by the women around him. Firstly, thereís Dr. Kate Murphy, who is the Chief Medical Examiner who thinks sheís brilliant. Then thereís Dana Delanyís character, Dr. Megan Hunt, who challenges Curtis to prove himself to her and prove that he deserves this promotion. He fights them both all day long.

It sounds like thereís plenty to get your teeth into, character wiseÖ
Itís wonderful because these characters are very human Ė and thatís what I love about the show. You get to see the layers, the complexity, and why the relationships work and why they donít work. You get to see why one case moves Curtis more than another, or why a case affects Kate or Megan more than anyone else. Itís fascinating, but there is a wonderful conflict underneath everything.

Why does Curtis dislike Dr. Megan Hunt so much?
Megan messes up his budget. I visited a Medical Examinerís office to research the role and they explained the importance of coming in under a certain number. Thereís a huge pressure to do that. But on top of that, thereís also the side of being a doctor where you care about each case. You want to know why this happened and you want to solve it. However, Curtis has to put that on the back burner to manage the numbers. Thatís why thereís always this fight in him, which in turn becomes a fight in the office. We all want to do our job well, but there are rules and regulations that we all have to abide by. Megan doesnít care about the costs. She just wants to solve cases. Curtis wants to solve everything, but under his budget.

Do we see many arguments between Megan and Curtis in Season One?
You see a few arguments in the first season. If Megan was a man, we could step outside and go toe to toe Ė but Curtis has a lot of respect for her because sheís damn good at what she does. He knows that. As much as Curtis hates it, he knows that he has to run a certain test in order to solve a case Ė and he knows itís going to blow his budget, but at least they will get results. You get to see a lot of respect between these two characters, but you also get to see him fighting against her and wanting Megan to be wrong for his own sake.

Is it fair to say that Curtis provides the comic relief in the show?
Itís very fair to say that Curtis provides the comic relief in the show Ė and thatís also what I love about him. The show deals with murder and death, so itís nice to have Curtis and Geoffrey (played by Ethan Gross) run behind Megan like little puppy dogs. She stirs up an excitement in us to get back into the field and be hands-on Ė and itís this circumstance that causes the comedy. Itís not because Curtis and Geoffrey are dumb or donít know their jobs, but theyíre awkward at times and itís fun to add this lightness to the show. To me, itís very true to life. I donít know any office or any situation, even in the heavy world of medical examinations, where you canít find laughter.

Does this mean you think you can find comedy even when dealing with death?
I come from a family where there is always a place to laugh, whether dealing with death or drama. I remember being in college and I would meet people who had been to two funerals in their life. I said to them, ďI had been to eight funerals by the time I was eight years old!Ē When people died in my family, you just deal with it. Itís just a process, even at a young age, that wasnít hidden from me. This was the reality that my family gave me.

How do you deal with all the medical terminology on the show?
I work on it all the time. In rehearsal, Iíll nail it, syllable for syllable. Iím dead on. Then I get on the set and I canít get one syllable out. ďWhat is it? Acetylsalicylic acid? Why canít I just say aspirin?Ē I don't care how much you work on it, you will mess up Ė but itís a lot of fun. You basically have to study it and know it as second nature.

How much feedback did you get from the technical advisers on the show?
They have tons of feedback, but itís always fascinating. They comment on everything from the simplest of actions, like learning what to do with the gloves. On our first day on set, we shot a scene where we walked out of an autopsy and I pulled off my gloves the wrong way. One of the technical advisors told me, ďNo, fold them down. You donít want to contaminate.Ē These are the details that they pay close attention to.

What research did you do for the role?
I went to a real autopsy for research purposes and it was a fascinating experience. At first, I stayed behind the glass for a while Ė but then I inched forward as I became more comfortable with everything. The first one was just an inspection, not a full autopsy. It was a 20-year-old who had died in a motorcycle accident Ė and it was tough for me. Itís easier to understand death when itís an older person who has lived their life fully. It sits better with me when that happens. But itís hard to grasp when itís someone young. You see it as a body but then you see what they were wearing, and the note in the pocket that someone wrote to him. I made an emotional connection and it shook me up.

Was the second autopsy easier to watch?
The second autopsy was an older woman and it was easier because you knew she had led a full life. It became more about the science to me because I had more peace about it. However, I donít think I could have taken it if weíd done a full autopsy on the 20-year-old.

How do medical examiners deal with these tough situations?
The medical examiner that was handling that case had a son around the age of the 20-year-old, so he said, ďThis has to be a case number for me so that I don't connect personally with it.Ē So it definitely makes you appreciate life. You take everything more seriously and you evaluate a lot of the shallow stuff that we deal with. When youíre working on this show and youíre standing there watching the autopsy, it definitely changes your thinking.


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Updated 10/2/11  

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