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Series / Body of Proof

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Megan Hunt examining one of her "patients."

What if Dr. House was a female medical examiner?

Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) was a brilliant neurosurgeon until a car accident caused unknown neurological damage that makes her hands numb occasionally. After she accidentally killed a patient, she decided to switch jobs and become a medical examiner — because, after all, "I can't kill anybody if they're already dead."

Blunt and to the point, she has no problem in butting heads with not only the medical investigator Peter Dunlap (Nic Bishop) and the Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan), but also with the police detectives she helps. One consequence of her previous life as a workaholic, though, is her estrangement from her daughter and her striving to make up for the neglect she had in the past.

Not to be confused with the erotic thriller Body of Evidence.

Tropes found in Body of Proof:

  • Amateur Sleuth: Technically, Megan Hunt is only supposed to examine the bodies, not solve the crimes. But she doesn't care.
  • Amoral Attorney: The lawyer the victim was sleeping with in the first episode — and the victim herself before she had an accident falling down stairs which changed her.
  • Atonement Detective: Megan is still trying to make up for killing a patient on her table.
  • Double Standard: Mentioned by Megan when she describes how her husband got full custody of her daughter: She claims the court ruled against her because a man who works 18 hours a day is a "good provider," a woman who works 18 hours a day is an "absentee mother."
  • "Eureka!" Moment: As soon as Peter says he has a nut allergy, Megan gets a total House face. And that's just one of many moments.
  • Fanservice: Hello, Jeri Ryan in 3x06, walking around in Black Bra and Panties, after a hot hookup the previous night.
  • Fair Cop: Peter, who is an ex-cop and now a medical investigator. Megan is a Fair Medical Examiner.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Megan says she was just trying to be bad cop after accusing a suspect of killing the victim in the first episode.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: One episode kicks off by having Peter run into a burning house to rescue one of the inhabitants, underlining his bravery credentials.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the second season finale, Peter was stabbed while protecting Megan from a crazy serial killer and died in her arms.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    Ethan: I think I left something in a place that isn't here...
  • Know When to Fold Them: Megan quit being a neurosurgeon very quickly after accidentally killing a patient. She accepted fault and settled with the family out of court. She does not seem to know when to fold them while investigating a case.
  • Missing Mom: Megan was this to her daughter, since she worked 18 hour days. After a lot of effort on her part, they got far better, to the point that her daughter stays with her when her father, who had custody, left for a new job in California in season 3
  • The Missus and the Ex: For a while during seasons 1 and 2, Megan's boss Kate was dating Megan's ex-husband, Todd Fleming.
  • Never Suicide: Subverted, Megan has a ANA (antinuclear antibody) panel run on a suicide — not because she thinks it's murder, but because she just wants to know why they committed suicide.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Marcia Gay Harden plays a TV personality based on Nancy Grace in "Sympathy for the Devil." The character is given Hidden Depths, as she was a dedicated journalist before she got famous.
  • No Sympathy: Megan is the character trait variation, although she certainly has her moments of empathy. Her daughter and ex-husband appear to have a certain amount as well: The latter lying to their child to make Megan look heartless and badmouthing her when she's actually doing something nice, the former quick to shoot Megan down any time she makes an effort.
  • Old Flame: In the third season, the new police detective Tommy Sullivan turns out to be an old flame of Megan. He claims he returned to Philadelphia to get her back. She wasn't very interested.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Evidently, it's easy to go from being a neurosurgeon to being a pathologist / medical examiner! The two disciplines are about as far apart as you can go without completely falling out of the realm of medicine. The only unifying subject that both disciplines deal with, neurohistology / neuroanatomy, is interestingly the only subject that the show has yet to touch on.
    • Furthermore, it takes a regular doctor about 4 to 7 years to achieve board certification in forensic pathology.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: A sign over the lab door reads Hic Locus est Ubi Mors Gaudet Succurrere Vitae. Megan points it out to Ethan in "Sympathy for the Devil."
    Megan Hunt: What does that sign say?
    Ethan Gross: "This is where I get a lecture from Dr. Megan Hunt." The—Oh, I'm sorry. That's-It's-"This is where death rejoices to teach the living."
    Megan Hunt: It is never a place where the living disparage the dead, so keep your opinions to yourself and focus on the facts.
    Detective Bud Morris: Both translations seems to work.
  • Put on a Bus: Bud Morris, Samantha Baker and Peter Dunlop after the second season finale: Bud took a leave of absence to take care of his new son; Samantha went to the FBI and Peter was killed (see Heroic Sacrifice above)
    • Megan's ex-husband, Todd Fleming, also left to a new job in California.
  • Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: Megan asks a friend who performs vasectomies to reveal one of his patients. He can't break doctor-patient confidentiality, but he pointedly leaves his cellphone on the table in clear view and goes to the restroom.
  • The Stinger: In "Lost Souls," the "Demonic Possession" turns out to have a perfectly rational explanation, but something the "possessed" person said during the exorcism is still bothering Megan. She asks about it, and the victim says she doesn't really remember much of anything that happened while she was under the influence of the PCP she'd been poisoned with. Then she says, in a voice that isn't her own: "Now go learn something," which was the rest of the quote that she'd started to say the first time that she was "possessed."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Peter Dunlop (Nic Bishop) dies in the second season finale and is replaced by Tommy Sullivan (Mark Valley). Both men are handsome, square-jawed, have similar build, similar voices, and the characters have similar personalities. Peter was introduced in the pilot as having an ongoing working relationship with Megan; Tommy was given a built-in history as an Old Flame, so was able to drop into place without a hitch.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Curtis interviewing new drivers. The candidates are mostly unqualified and/or creepy (i.e., talking about how interested they are in dead bodies). There is one one experienced, normal sounding candidate, and it looks like the montage is over... And then she starts texting in the middle of the interview.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Kate gets (unfairly) demoted, Curtis takes over. Not only does he become an obnoxious martinet, he also makes rookie mistakes like entering a crime scene without gloves.
  • You, Get Me Coffee:
    • Megan does this to Detective Morris during the autopsy in the first episode.
    • In a later episode, Megan gets her comeuppance in this regard by an arson investigator and Spear Counterpart of herself.