With House, Lie to Me, and now Mental, the Fox network is in serious danger of OD’ing on British actors playing rule-breaking wise-guy doctors. In this latest variation, Prison Break’s Chris Vance plays Dr. Jack Gallagher, newly appointed psychiatric director for an L.A. hospital. We know he’s a rebel because in the first scene, he deals with a naked, agitated, threatening patient by stripping naked himself to win the fellow over. His ploy works — though Dr. Jack is considerably raising the stakes on his new employees for casual-dress Fridays.
Sure enough, the hospital’s hotsy redheaded psychiatrist (Jacqueline McKenzie) threatens to resign, though she says it’s because she didn’t get Gallagher’s job. Annabella Sciorra, as Gallagher’s boss, has already seen our hero’s privates: They used to be lovers. But she says she hired him because he’s a good doctor, not because of his privates. Paging Kate Walsh, stat!
Mental’s plots are trite and secondary to establishing Gallagher as a policy-defying Brit who says ”Bang on!” to express enthusiasm. He spends so much time on Naked Guy’s case — at one point breaking into the house where the man once lived, only to be arrested (”I was making a house call”: har-har) — that you think, this guy is the most inefficient hospital administrator imaginable.
Mental’s creators, Deborah Joy LeVine and Dan Levine (both once of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), probably didn’t intend for me to side with Hotsy Redheaded Psychiatrist in feeling Sciorra’s administrator has made a terrible mistake hiring this genial lout. But I do. C