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Series / Monday Mornings

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Monday Mornings is a Medical Drama airing on TNT. Created by David E. Kelley and based off a novel by Sanjay Gupta, it debuted Febuary 4, 2013.

The series follows the personal and professional lives of the doctors of the fictional Chelsea General Hospital in Portland, Oregon. The title refers to the Monday morning meetings where the Chief of Staff, Dr. Harding Hooten (played by Alfred Molina) tells the doctors exactly how they screwed up over the course of the week, so that they may do better in the future.

The first season had 10 episodes only, and struggled with ratings during its entire run. However it managed to intrigue Medical Drama enthusiasts and create a dedicated following. In May 2013, TNT announced that they would not renew the show for a second season.

This series features examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Dr. Harding Hooten. It inspired his nickname, too: Hardly Human.
  • Alliterative Title:
    • Monday Mornings
    • One episode is called "Wheels Within Wheels".
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ty to the unconscious Tina, as Dr. Park prepares to operate on her.
    "(tearfully) You wake up. You be strong and you wake up. I love you, Tina. I love you You. Wake. Up.."
  • Autocannibalism: Some women are allowed to take home their placentas after giving birth, and it's known that they get eaten. It's supposed to be helping them deal with the stress. One patient uses it as an argument when she wants to take her own kidney which was supposed to get transplanted to her sister. She wants to eat it. Um, that's how she deals with her grief and a loss of her sister, and it's also a ritual from one eastern culture. She's completely sane, but it caused some in-universe squick.
  • Billy Needs an Organ: Happens quite a lot with interesting twists. Dr. Tierney's transplant programme gets mentioned a lot.
    • When a young gangster dies, his organs are harvested and transplanted to various people. The drama here lies in Dr Tierney's insensitivity. He spoke about it in front of the dead kid's mother without knowing it was her. When he tries to apologize later, he unfortunately insults her even more by implying that his life was worthy because he enabled several people to live.
    • There is a scheduled operation for one transplantation. A young woman agreed to give up her kidney for her sister's benefit. The sister who was to receive it dies during the operation. Naturally, they assume someone else could get it, but the girl wants it back, um, because she wants to eat it.
    • A young man is badly hurt and everybody assumes he was a jumper. The three presiding surgeons (except Gato) are very reluctant to treat him, but they do - and loudly complain about it, as they feel that they are letting medicine, effort, and donated organs go to waste on someone who doesn't want to live - and after his innards were shredded, most definitely wouldn't want to continue living after that, either. The team's attitude changes when they find that he was shoved off, not suicidal. Hooten calls them on it later after the patient filed a complaint (he was half-conscious the entire time) and is extremely harsh on them because suicidal people are ill, not losers unwilling to live.
    • One woman who is brain-dead signed that she's a donor, but her son doesn't want her organs to be used. They want to legally stop the transplantations and argue that she didn't know what she gave consent to.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Catch characteristic, rather. Hooten's habit of pouring/drinking a glass of water during the sessions is quite commonplace. In one episode, the moment he starts doing it —while questioning Dr. Robideaux about her difficulty in performing a tracheotomy — everyone in the room winces and cringes, knowing that he's about to ream her out. Wilson later calls him on it in another episode when Hooten is trying to chastise him, telling him that he knows full well that he does it to unsettle people.
    • Dr. Park has "No do — dead" and variations.
  • The Chains of Commanding: This gets Dr. Delaney fired, despite the fact that the patient under his care died from a result of negligence from his circulating nurse, the anesthesiologist not noticing the mixup, and a resident delivering the lethal dose. And it takes a toll on Dr. Hooten, as well.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When "El Gato" goes to the first M&M meeting in the pilot, he brings a cup of coffee and a newspaper. It seems like he's going to read through the meeting, casually drinking his coffee, not paying too much attention to the meeting. But remember the newspaper! While Dr. Martin is getting fired for a misdiagnosis, "Gato" takes the newspaper and reads him an obituary of his patient, a lovely woman adored by her family. When "Gato" learns that Martin's fired from Chelsea General, but his medical license will stay, he angrily tosses the newspaper in Dr. Martin's general direction, and leaves in disgust.
  • Chiaroscuro: Nearly the show's default lighting. This trope is employed to a great effect during the M&M meetings. The only brightly lit scenes are when the doctors perform operations. It's visually stunning.
  • Death of a Child: A couple loses their child during minor surgery to remove some scar tissue behind the ear. What was supposed to be a simple operation went sour when the nurse accidentally mixed a lethal dose of adrenalin (it should have been far smaller) with the anesthetics, which went unnoticed by both the anesthesiologist and the surgeon.
  • Delicate and Sickly: All the terminally ill children who have brain tumors. Particularly scary was the case of Chloe, a little baby who was happy. Too happy. Hadn't it been for the coincidence that a doctor obsessed with her job met them, she wouldn't have got diagnosed at all or too late.
  • Doctor Jerk: Subverted with Dr. Buck Tierney. He knows others saw him as an asshole, but he's actually a good man deep inside. He's willing to fight for his patients and is committed to a transplant program at the hospital. Others sometimes view him as a vulture or predator, but he feels it as unjust.
  • Dressed to Heal: Most doctors wear either blue or dark-green scrubs, occasionally supplemented with white coats. Clip boards and examination thingies like little flash-lights appear from time to time as well.
  • Face Palm: Viewers get to see characters facepalming all the time, both for their failures and because others failed spectacularly. You wouldn't expect otherwise for a show dealing with professional screw-ups, would you? They are seen especially during M&M meetings held in room 311, but there are several during legal meetings or after surgeries. Some Face Palms were related to shame and personal relationships.
  • Flipping the Bird: One patient who was unresponsive and appeared dead reacted when Dr. Robideaux asked him to grab her hand. Dr. Tierney thought that was a reflex and asked him to hold up a finger. He did, and showed a sense of humour as well by holding up the middle finder to the amusement of the whole hospital.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It's raining when a couple whose 2-month-old daughter has a brain tumour await information about her and try to decide about her treatment. They're lean on each other and stare out of a window, looking extremely sad.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tina and Sydney are best friends and very close.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Dr. Hooten plays the piano and Beethoven is his favourite composer.
    • Dr. Sung Park has a perfect pitch and can play the violin really well, and music obviously touches him very deeply. He also recognises when a patient is right to refuse a treatment as was the case with a gifted writer who suffered from hyper-graphia.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: ER cases often get this trope played straight, sometimes overly dramatic (e.g. Dr. Napur stimulates a patient's heart while sitting on top of her), but at times it's toned down. Most patients on this show were not emergencies.
  • Hospital Hottie: Nearly everyone. Drs. Wilson and Ridgeway in particular, and there are several acknowledgement in-universe.
    • Dr. Tyler Wilson. One of his patients — a marine — said he was a baby face. Quite a strange thing to say to a doctor in his forties, but then again, he's played by Jamie Bamber. In blue scrubs, which brings out his blue eyes.
    • Dr. Tina Ridgeway is obviously the female hottie of Chelsie General. She's called hot by a marine soldier, which makes her blush, laugh and admit that "yeah, ok, I'm hot". It's quite adorable.
    • Young resident Dr. Michelle Robidaux gets hit on by patients and is referred to as "the pretty brunette".
  • Hospital Paradiso: Inverted because Chelsea General in Oregon is a Hospital Paradiso — a very fancy hospital, frequently referred to as one of the top in the world. All the doctors are absolutely stellar with deservedly developed God complex. However, their boss is not understanding when they mess up, and they are often called out on their screw-ups, even if they are but relatively minor mistakes. Two doctors get sacked in season 1. One is apparently incompetent, while the other is as awesome as the rest, but his team let him down and he killed a patient during a routine procedure.
  • In-Series Nickname: The show has some fun with the characters' nicknames. Some of them are affectionate or tongue-in-cheek, some of them are... rather harsh.
    • Dr. Martin who gets sacked in the very first episode is called "Double Oh Seven" by his colleagues. He supposes it has something to do with a license to kill.
    • Dr. Harding Hooten is called Hardly Human.
    • Dr. Jorge Villanueva has two — El Gato and Big Cat.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: Young Dr. Michelle Robidaux performed one particularly difficult tracheotomy in the series finale. Her patient was practically dead and everybody gave up on him, but she managed to save him at the last moment. Her not asking for help earned her the spot of shame at M&M meeting.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Dr. Hooten may be extremely harsh on the doctors at the hospital but he does it because they are doctors and they need to be kept in line. The problem is whether it's effective to work in such a tense environment.
  • Lobotomy: A rare positive portrayal where tampering with brain matter is treated extremely seriously. Dr. Ridgeway sees no other way than a radical treatment for one of her patients — removing several brain cells. It's risky and her colleagues point out both to Ridgeway and the patient's family that it's still brain matter removal, albeit delicate and precise. They actually use the word "lobotomy", and it gets mentioned than one patient who underwent similar procedure in Europe turned into a violent criminal.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient:
    • Quinn is an extremely cute boy who is a Cheerful Child and a future soccer star, but unfortunately, he has a huge tumour in his brain that appears to be malignant. He dies on Dr Wilson's table which kicks off the series.
    • One thirteen-year-old girl is a talented pianist and determined not to get a treatment because she wants to live her life to the fullest and not to deal with the pain of brain surgery and chemotherapy. The doctors are able to persuade her that she should not consider only mathematical statistics and chances of survival, but medical miracles as well.
    • Exaggerated with Chloe, who is a two-month-old baby and has a tumour growing in vital part of her brain.
  • Office Romance: Medical issues are combined with legal matters. Chelsea General saw some budding relationships among the doctors, and one is potentially very dangerous for the hospital.
    • Dr. Sydney Napur starts dating Dr. Silverman in the very first episode. They are from different departments, so there should be no conflict. It causes some tension between them because they see each other all the time, and Dr. Napur never stops working or thinking about medicine, and she meddles in Dr Silverman's cases.
    • Two brilliant and cocky neurosurgeons, Drs. Tina Ridgeway and Tyler Wilson, have a connection and lots of UST. She's married, though not very happily. Their supervisor often asks them about their personal lives, especially Dr. Ridgeway. He's worried that her almost-romance and marriage problems will affect her professional performance. She breaks up with her husband and the doctors later sleep together, though dialogue heavily implies that they were doing so all along. The cuckolded Mr. Ridgeway sues Dr. Wilson for breaking up his marriage. During their legal meeting, Dr. Wilson says that many doctors have love affairs and close relationships. The lawyer pricks up his ears and wants to hear more. Dr. Wilson's lawyer who also represents Chelsea General quickly ends up the meeting because he realizes that this could mean a major law suit and could harm the hospital.
  • One of Our Own:
    • One episode has Dr. Villanueva's estranged son being brought to the ER all stabbed with a kitchen knife. He wanted to operate on him, but Dr. Napur stopped him.
    • The season finale featured Tina being attacked by a disgruntled patient, requiring Dr. Park to operate on her, after he, Dr. Villanueva, and Dr. Hooten made it abundantly clear to Dr. Wilson that he would not be doing so.
  • Patient of the Week: Some of the cases feel like this trope, but there are usually several patients for each episode. Most people are actually treated as whole people, and most cases aren't mysterious at all. Some patients come back in later episodes with additional issues, which brings nice continuity rarely seen in patient characters.
    • The pilot episode has a Sassy Black Woman who is suspected to be a hypochondriac, but she's seriously ill, and it was found out after several tests because of one obsessed doctor.
    • Lampshaded in one episode when they couldn't diagnose a patient right away which is unusual for them. They are clearly missing something, and Dr. Robidaux asks whether they should call Dr. House.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Dr. Sung Park has terrible bedside manners in general. He let a widow decide whether to pull a plug, then after Hooten's intervention realized that he was inconsiderate. He went to her to apologize and cried. In the rain.
  • Sassy Black Woman: A patient from the pilot episode is an obese black woman, and very outspoken, sometimes downright rude. It seems she's a hypochondriac and a chronic complainer, but Dr. Napur, who is a surgeon and doesn't really have to deal with this case, pushes doctors into other tests or looking for possibilities. The sassy patient was indeed seriously ill. She thanked Dr. Napur for saving her life before the surgery, but was as outspoken and rude-ish as ever.
  • Say My Name: Dr. Wilson to Dr. Ridgeway when she's seriously hurt and is about to undergo surgery.
  • Shout-Out:
    • James Bond and his license to kill got a few mentions.
    • The team try very hard — and fail — to diagnose a patient. Clearly they are missing something. Michelle asks whether they should call House.
  • Shower of Angst: Implied in the pilot episode. When Quinn dies on Dr. Ty Wilson's table, he's all bloody, and also shattered and miserable. He wants to go to talk to Quinn's mother, but Dr. Ridgeway tells him to get a shower first and change his scrubs, which he does and returns clean. Still shattered, though.
  • Shower of Love: Tina and Ty have a shower together in "One Fine Day". Lots of skin, lots of legs, some manly chest, and two hot wet bodies. Fanservice up to eleven, and very probably a case of Shower of Love.
  • Single Tear: Dr. Tina Ridgeway sheds one perfect tear when she and Dr. Wilson talk about her break up with her husband. He hugs her and tells her he wants to be there for her. Cue the show's favorite close-up shot of both doctors' gorgeous eyes, and one tear flowing down her face.
  • Squick: In-universe when a patient deals rather strangely with her grief and wants to consume her own organ.
  • Suicide Is Shameful: One patient of the week is brought badly hurt, and everybody assumes he was a jumper because a witness reported he had seen him fall from a roof. The team are reluctant to treat him, feeling he just sucks money from the system; they might cure him, but he would soon try to kill himself again. He might end up an organ donor but they actually need organs for him. The team's attitude changed when they find that he in fact did not try to commit a suicide, but was pushed. Dr. Hooten, their boss, is extremely harsh on them, because suicidal people are and should be considered ill, not losers unwilling to live.
  • True Companions: There are diverse relationships among the doctors, and they argue and bicker a lot, but they support each other in a crisis. Their resemblance to a family dynamic is shown especially in the season one finale, which is even called "Family Ties" just in case some might miss it.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Tina and Tyler. Lots of hand holding and longing looks, calling each other honey and sweetie and being there for each other.
    • Michelle had — well, not quite a thing, but almost a thing — with Dr. Stewart Delany. Their good-bye with gentle hand touching is very sad.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Tina and Tyler. She's married, but not very happily, and they are close. They do. She also ambiguously admits she might love him a little at the beginning of the series which suggests an emotional affair at the very least, if not a full-fledged physical one, well before the series even started. Her husband sues Tyler for breaking up their marriage.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The main point of the show is Dr. Hooten calling the surgeons out on their screw ups and insensitive behavior.