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Series / Combat Hospital

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Combat Hospital is a Canadian series set in a military hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan during the middle of the conflict there in 2006. The series actually started in June, 2011. The first season ended in September, 2011 without any chances of being renewed since ABC opted not to continue working with Shaw, forcing them to end plans to continue producing the show.

The show focuses on the lives and work of a multinational International Security Assistance Force medical team as they struggle to cope with the challenges of working in such an environment. Major Rebecca Gordon (a Canadian trauma surgeon) and Captain Bobby Trang (US Army diagnostic specialist) join Colonel Xavier Marks and the rest of his team near the frontlines in the first episode and are thrown into the thick of the action. The other main characters include civilian neurosurgeon Dr. Simon Hill and Major Grace Pedersen (an Australian psychiatrist).


  • The Alcoholic: Simon. Too drunk to perform surgery? Tsk tsk. Subverted in that in this case he's actually not. He's more too stressed out to perform surgery, and for good reason.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. Simon thinks this about Rebecca but she is just a Single Woman Seeks Good Man.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Grace.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the episode "It's My Party," Bobby criticizes Simon for drinking, lying, mistreating women, and stealing cookies.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Played with by Bobby Trang, who is a quiet and inexperienced doctor with a lot of tattoos and large muscles. Ok, totally subverted, he was in prison.
  • Bald of Authority: Commander Will Royal, the chief of nursing.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Col. Marks feels them especially when he has to lock up Vans during an investigation into Taliban connections.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When they're wearing their fatigues, each character will have the flag of their nation on their arm. Handy way of keeping the Canadians, Australians, Americans etc separate (if you can't track the accents).
    • Also they each wear their own services' fatigues.
  • Combat Medic: Played with in that all the uniformed personnel tend to be armed at all times, and Rebecca and Grace have been conducting field clinics in full kit and armor. The nature of the war means that the distinction between combat zone and safety is quite blurred. Col. Marks is the closest to it, having shown his sharpshooting skills in the midst of surgery when he spotted a snake in the operating theatre.
  • Crisis of Faith: Explored pretty thoroughly through the character of an Army chaplain who undergoes one while serving on base. Contrasted with a couple of other crises that other characters suffer during the same episode.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hinted at with Bobby. Prison tattoos being the most compelling piece of evidence.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the main characters are seen to be struggling with major psychological issues ranging from Bobby's anger and rage to Simon's alcoholism. Possibly justified by where they are serving and the horrors they witness and deal with on a regular basis.
  • Ending Memorial Service: Season 1 ends with Suzy's memorial being interrupted by new wounded coming in for the medical staff.
  • Every Helicopter Is a Huey: Played straight. While the Canadian Forces still use updated Hueys, the pilots and pararescuemen are US service members, and should not be flying one.
  • Guns in Church: Of course, being set in a military hospital.
  • Hand Guns: Many of the hospital staff carry pistols, which isn't surprising since most of them are officers and thus are usually issued sidearms. A few bad guys have these too.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Suzy takes on an armed gunman, while unarmed since she didn’t have time to get to her holster, to prevent others being shot and giving Rebecca the time to come in and shoot him.
    • Doubles as a Stupid Sacrifice, as this is precisely the reason why every soldier on deployment carries at least his or her sidearm, and often a personal weapon, when leaving the wire.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Simon. Complete with suicidal little brother who he can't help.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Grace justifies herself traumatizing Afghan orphans into revealing their knowledge of Taliban activities in order to get better outcomes for them.
  • Insufferable Genius: Rebecca, to an extent. Her repeated reminders about her elite training and youth are a prime example. Subverted when Col. Marks threatens to send her back home if she does not pull her head in.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Graham interrupts Simon and Rebecca at the undressing-and-foreplay stage with some pretty serious news. Rebecca hides, then slips out the back.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Simon genuinely cares about his patients. Friends too, but that shows far more rarely.
  • Killed Off for Real: Suzy.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Simon, who stops seeing other women as he gets to know Rebecca and finds out things about her like the kinds of gifts she'd like and so forth. He also stops acting like a jerk and starts being nicer. Lampshaded at the start of the season 1 finale when Rebecca calls him out and wishes he would take advantage of her.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Subverted. The defibrillator is used correctly but the patient dies anyway.
  • Mildly Military: The hospital, though Col. Marks calls out Rebecca for not exercising her responsibilities with respect to her rank and uniform.
  • Multinational Team: The hospital staff, reflecting the nature of the whole force in Afghanistan under the ISAF. The main characters are from Canada, the UK, the USA and Australia with some local Afghan presence.
    • In "It's My Party", it's mostly a blink or miss moment unless you're familiar with the camo patterns seen on screen that shows other ISAF/non-ISAF partner nation soldiers (Which is entirely correct) including German (though German troops are sometimes seen in other episodes), Dutch, Romania and Singaporean.note  In "Reason to Believe", you'll see French and Romanian soldiers.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Several different kinds come through the doors of the hospital over the series, and some of the regulars themselves might be turning into ones.
  • Token Shipping: The only romantic interest so far for Bobby has been nurse Suzy Chao, also Asian.