Series / Providence

Providence was an American NBC drama series that ran five seasons from 1999-2002. It centered on Dr. Sydney Hanson, a plastic surgeon who leaves her glamorous practice in Beverly Hills to return to her hometown for her sister's wedding and decides to stay and be closer to her family. It starred Melina Kanakaredes, later of CSI: NY fame, and former M*A*S*H actor Mike Farrell as Syd's father. Syd's brother and sister are also present, and Syd frequently gets visits from her late mother's ghost. NBC fully intended to continue the series in 2002 when it ended for a 'winter finale', but there was no choice but to end it permanently when Kanakaredes decided to leave the series.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Janie, after her miscarriage and breaking up with her fiance.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Syd's family.
  • Black Best Friend: Sydney's fellow doctor at the clinic
  • Bookends: The series begins and ends with a wedding—Janie's aborted one in the first instance, and Sydney's completed one in the finale.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Janie's second pregnancy. It's unplanned, her father disapproves as this is now the second time she's been pregnant out of wedlock, and despite bringing her and her fiance together, is generally not looked at as a good thing by anyone. But the word "abortion" is never mentioned by anyone, and she loses the baby just as everyone is starting to adjust to the idea.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Syd is visited by her mother, who died in the first episode, quite frequently.
  • Dream Intro: Every episode starts this way, with protagonist Syd having a dream featuring her mother who is in limbo. At one point, she has a conversation with her mother while in her car and is horrified to realize that she's fallen asleep while driving. Luckily, nothing bad happens.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: As cited above. Janie never even considers the idea, despite the circumstances.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Melina Kanakaredes became pregnant at some point in the show's tenure. True to form, she was hidden behind big coats, and then finally became very ill and confined to bed.
  • Hospital Paradiso: Sydney was a renowned plastic surgeon in LA, but she was clearly unfulfilled—one clip shows her outright rolling her eyes at a patient. She returns home to work in a humble family practice clinic with her best friend from college and medical school.
  • Hustler: Syd's little brother.
  • Kindly Vet: Syd's dad.
  • Medical Drama: What it centered on.
  • Parental Favoritism: Syd's siblings think her parents favor her and don't like it.
  • Posthumous Character: Sydney's mother
  • Real Song Theme Tune: A cover of "In My Life" by The Beatles.
  • Ship Sinking: Many of the show's relationships:
    • Robbie falls in love with his father's veterinary assistant Heather, even interrupting her wedding to whisk her away. However, Reality Ensues—he can't change the irresponsible behavior that led her to rebuf his advances in the first place​, leading them to break up.
    • Also, Janie and her second fiance. She becomes an alcoholic after her miscarriage and pushes him away. By the time she gets her act together, he's moved on.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Syd and her siblings fight a lot.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Sydney, although that's the common spelling for the female version of the name, with Sidney only being used for males.
  • Surgeons Can Do Autopsies If They Want: Sydney is a plastic surgeon, but begins work as a family practitioner despite her friend's misgivings, which are precisely because she doesn't have the necessary training in this specialty.
  • Wedding Day: Several—how the series begins, Robbie and his girlfriend, and how the series ends.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Sydney walks in on her boyfriend having a Shower of Love—with another man—spurring their breakup and her return home. Later in the series, after becoming engaged to a lawyer, she becomes very attracted to another doctor, but breaks it off after one kiss.
  • You're Drinking Breast Milk: Janie accidentally uses her breast milk to make clam chowder, striking gold when everyone raves about how delicious it is and even suggests that she try to market it.