A Gifted Man: TV Review

Heather Wines/CBS
Ghostly drama has its moments, but it needs more Margo Martindale.

Margo Martindale's presence in this paranormal drama is the key to keeping it above average.

Could it be that someone at CBS has been spoken to by a dead person? They do love those kinds of shows at CBS. Which is why A Gifted Man (Sept. 23, 8 p.m.) is on the air (on Fridays). There is a recipe at work here that tastes pretty good every time CBS cooks it up. This time, a super skilled, emotionally cold, super focused surgeon named Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson) has made a lot of money being a Type A guy. CBS kind of paints his life -– which seems super efficient, filled with a nice car and a cool place to live, as some sort of bad thing. One day out running -– Dr. Holt is in very good condition -- Michael hears a car crash and sees a kids ball rolling by him. Only problem? No crash. Later he meets a woman who we find out, kind of unbelievably, to be his ex-wife Anna (Jennifer Ehle). She smiles a lot and seems very happy (which will become kind of annoying soon enough). Anna also seems older than Michael and there’s almost no chemistry.

This could be because she’s dead.

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He gives himself an MRI just to make sure he’s not insane. It’s clean. Anna tells Michael not to freak out, that he’s not hallucinating. She’s just a sweet memory of a dead person who wants to mop up some unfinished business. Namely -- taking care of the non-profit she was working at. (He was always a capitalist, she was always a do-gooder). Now, if you can’t predict what happens next, you’re not watching enough TV.

A Gifted Man has its moments. Wilson’s icy perfection is well done. He’s the best -- so the rich come to him. Getting him to have a heart and help the disadvantaged seems not something he’s interested in, hence the smiling nudges from dead Anna (who, by the end of the pilot, is appearing and talking all too frequently, which hurts the appeal of the show).

STORY: Q&A With Margo Martindale

Do you know who’s not appearing or talking enough? Emmy winner Margo Martindale, whose small role here better be tripled in size in quite a hurry. She’s holding an Emmy, playing an assistant. She’s way better than that. How about less ghost, more Margo? That might help A Gifted Man become better than very average.