TCA 2012: 'The Mob Doctor' a Mixture of 'ER,' 'Sopranos,' More

'The Mob Doctor'
Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

The Mob Doctor stars Jordana Spiro as a young female thoracic surgeon who becomes indebted to the South Chicago mafia and is forced to moonlight as a "mob doctor" while also working full-time at Chicago's most prominent hospital.

The Mob Doctor is a mixture of a lot of things, the cast and creators told reporters Monday during their panel at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

The Fox drama, starring Jordana Spiro (My Boys) as a dedicated Chicago doctor whose family drama finds her on the mob's payroll, has touches of series including ER, The Soporanos, The Untouchables and even traces of Drop Dead Diva.

Created by Josh Berman and Rob Wright, the duo behind Diva, the producers noted that they wanted to produce a show together and really enjoyed flipping the concept of the Lifetime series on its head.

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"On Drop Dead Diva, it's two women living one life and I thought it would be fun if we reversed it: one woman living two lives," Berman said.

With series credits including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones, Berman said he wasn't typically looking to do a medical drama -- despite having family members who work as nurses and doctors -- and that Mob Doctor instead is a mixture of other properties.

"It's Doctor Faustus and ER meets The Sopranos," Wright said of the series that now is partially based on the book El Doctor, which Sony bought the rights to after the series was already under way.

"Most mob doctors are motivated by greed, they get seduced by the mob world; it's not because of the reasons we have in our pilot -- we flipped that and hopefully we're a more idealized version of that," Berman said.

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Meanwhile, co-star William Forsythe noted that his mob leader Constantine Alexander reminded him of his time in Al Capone's shoes during his run on The Untouchables. "At the end of that, they put me in prison and in this [first] episode I'm getting out of prison; I feel like I'm continuing the story," he said.

Producers noted that Spiro's Dr. Grace Devlin will continue to see her morals challenged and live in that gray area in subsequent episodes as her family drama unfolds. While her brother, Nate (Jesse Lee Soffer) remains the reason she winds up mixed up with the mob, ultimately it's her mother Daniella (Wendy Makkena) who could end up keeping her there.

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"She's a cancer survivor, she lives in denial and wants things to be a certain way," said Berman, whose mother is a nurse and offered notes on the drama's medical elements. "There's a complicated dynamic with her daughter explored in next episode that leads up to an event in her personal life that changes the way she approaches her job as a mob doctor."

Ultimately though, Mob Doctor is a show about family dynamics and people trying to out-politic each other in the mob. "There's a great parallel there to explore," Wright said.

The Mob Doctor premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 on Fox.

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